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5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Naturally.

Even if you didn’t catch the Oprah interview with Harry and
Meghan, we know you heard about it. Of all the topics that arose from that
controversial piece of clickbait was one we all need to spend more time
thinking about—the state of our mental health.

After this past uber stressful and incredibly lonely year, the
rates of mental health issues have skyrocketed. Conditions such as fear,
anxiety, and depression have increased dramatically, leaving many of us reeling
from their effects.

When we’re feeling down and anxious, it can seem easier to
ignore our emotions, pushing them aside in favor of appearing “fine” to
outsiders. Problem is, ignoring our issues will only make them worse. Feeling
“sad,” “scared,” or “anxious” is nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact, not
prioritizing your mental health can have a slew of damaging consequences to
both your emotional and physical health.

Luckily, there are small steps we can all take in our daily
lives to make big differences in our mood. From carving out more me time to
moving our bodies, the following tips can help you begin to improve your mental
health today. And if you practice them regularly while you’re feeling strong,
it’s easier to turn them to them when you’re in need.

Move More We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it
again; exercise is good for your body, mind, and soul. While sweating it out
may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, the benefits
associated with exercising far outweigh the mental effort it takes to get your
butt off the couch. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry
found that regularly exercising (3 times a week) at any level (a slow walk
counts) can reduce your risk of depression by 19 percent.

Slow Down While everyone was forced to slow down
during the initial lockdown phase, things have slowly ramped back up. That
means we’re back to shuttling kids around, juggling work, and a multitude of
other must-dos. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of life, which can
increase our stress levels, in turn boosting our risk of depression and
anxiety.

Take a minute (actually, take more than a minute) to slow
down, relax, and do something just for you. Anything from reading a book to
taking a walk to hiding in the corner eating a bag of chips can count.

Carving out me-time has numerous benefits including,
boosting our immune system, relieving pain, improving sleep, and encouraging
positive thinking.

Be Present It’s easy to get caught up in the worries
and anxieties posed by a COVID world. Actually, it’s easy to get caught up in
worries in any type of world. To decrease your stress and anxiety, try to home
in on the present.

You know how horses wear blinders to protect them from
external distractions? You need imaginary blinders to prevent you from looking
too far into the future or the past. Concentrate on the now—the sweet tang of
your dessert, the crisp air on your face, or the warm water of your bath. That
will help you to focus solely on your senses and let go of the things that are
weighing you down.

Stand up Tall The better your posture, the better
your mood and self-confidence, found multiple researchers.

According
to a study of 110 university students published in the journal Biofeedback
,
those who slouched while walking felt more depressed and tired than those who
stood tall. Non-slouchers noticed a more positive outlook and higher energy
levels.

Another
study by researchers from New Zealand
found that sitting with good posture
increased the level of alertness in people with mild to moderate depression.

The take-home: put those shoulders back, lift your head and
tighten that core. You’ll feel happier, more energized, and more confident. Still,
struggling to stand straight? Book a session with one of our Certified Stretch
Specialists to help relieve tension that may be hindering your posture.

Ask for Help No matter how you’re feeling, please
know that you are not alone. Also, while these tips are tried and true,
research-based methods to help boost mental health, it’s essential to seek help
from a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, are having
suicidal thoughts, or have noticed serious changes in your sleeping or eating
habits.

If you feel unable to cope – the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and
confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional
distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis
services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing
professional best practices, and building awareness. You can reach them
anytime at  800-273-8255 or via online chat at – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

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5 Easy Ways to be More Mindful

Wishing 2020 would take a hike? You’re not alone. This year has certainly presented us with a bunch of new challenges. From the coronavirus to social unrest to wildfires to a dramatic presidential race, there are plenty of things we wish would go away and never come back.

With so many struggles to face this year, it can be hard to find things to be thankful for. So much negativity can also make it tough to keep on top of healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. We’ve found the key to combatting all this pessimism—mindfulness.

According to www.mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

In other words, being mindful means paying attention to the “now” of the moment and shutting out the stressful static surrounding your life. Here are five easy ways to become more mindful today:

  1. Head to the Woods. Breathing fresh air can be enough to clear the proverbial cobwebs from your mind, especially if you wander through the woods. A Japanese study of 60 young women found that a brief walk in a forest helped them feel more relaxed, comfortable, and happy.

According to the researchers, this simple task resulted in massive benefits including, reduced tension and anxiety, increased energy, and lower feelings of depression and hostility. No forest around? Don’t sweat it! Head to your nearest park or tree-lined street. 

  1. Focus on Your Surroundings. Instead of worrying about things that are out of your control (we see you, COVID-19), focus on your immediate surroundings. When taking that walk through the woods, focus on the trees bursting with autumn’s most vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues instead of any stressors.
  2. Meditate. Clear your mind of worries by meditating. Sit quietly in a comfortable spot (preferably a place where the kids won’t find you). Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and relax your shoulders and arms. Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 3, and out for the same count. Even five minutes is long enough to help you feel more positive and refreshed.
  3. Be fully present. When’s the last time you slowed down and took a break by yourself? Stop the excuses and set aside a few minutes each day to be present in your environment. Become hyper-aware of your feelings (physical and emotional) and senses (what do you see, smell, taste, hear, or feel). If you’re eating ice cream, for instance, home in on each of your senses while you enjoy the treat. Let everything else take a backseat for a while.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to come down on ourselves, especially when we’re stressed. Instead of thinking of all the things we dislike about ourselves, focus on the parts you love. Maybe you’re super funny, a good cook, a loyal friend, or a talented musician?

No matter what your strengths are, celebrate them, and spend more time finding those many other attributes you don’t often recognize. Researchers at Princeton University found the higher your self-confidence, the bigger your motivation to succeed in life. 

5 Easy Ways to be More Mindful

Wishing 2020 would take a hike? You’re not alone. This year has certainly presented us with a bunch of new challenges. From the coronavirus to social unrest to wildfires to a dramatic presidential race, there are plenty of things we wish would go away and never come back.

With so many struggles to face this year, it can be hard to find things to be thankful for. So much negativity can also make it tough to keep on top of healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. We’ve found the key to combatting all this pessimism—mindfulness.

According to www.mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

In other words, being mindful means paying attention to the “now” of the moment and shutting out the stressful static surrounding your life. Here are five easy ways to become more mindful today:

  1. Head to the Woods. Breathing fresh air can be enough to clear the proverbial cobwebs from your mind, especially if you wander through the woods. A Japanese study of 60 young women found that a brief walk in a forest helped them feel more relaxed, comfortable, and happy.

According to the researchers, this simple task resulted in massive benefits including, reduced tension and anxiety, increased energy, and lower feelings of depression and hostility. No forest around? Don’t sweat it! Head to your nearest park or tree-lined street. 

  1. Focus on Your Surroundings. Instead of worrying about things that are out of your control (we see you, COVID-19), focus on your immediate surroundings. When taking that walk through the woods, focus on the trees bursting with autumn’s most vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues instead of any stressors.
  2. Meditate. Clear your mind of worries by meditating. Sit quietly in a comfortable spot (preferably a place where the kids won’t find you). Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and relax your shoulders and arms. Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 3, and out for the same count. Even five minutes is long enough to help you feel more positive and refreshed.
  3. Be fully present. When’s the last time you slowed down and took a break by yourself? Stop the excuses and set aside a few minutes each day to be present in your environment. Become hyper-aware of your feelings (physical and emotional) and senses (what do you see, smell, taste, hear, or feel). If you’re eating ice cream, for instance, home in on each of your senses while you enjoy the treat. Let everything else take a backseat for a while.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to come down on ourselves, especially when we’re stressed. Instead of thinking of all the things we dislike about ourselves, focus on the parts you love. Maybe you’re super funny, a good cook, a loyal friend, or a talented musician?

No matter what your strengths are, celebrate them, and spend more time finding those many other attributes you don’t often recognize. Researchers at Princeton University found the higher your self-confidence, the bigger your motivation to succeed in life.