Much like we are encouraged to eat well and get regular exercise for our physical health, our mental health should be treated and cared for just the same. Life is full of ups and downs, but the more we cultivate strong, healthy habits, the more we can nurture a sense of resilience and peace to carry with us through our journey. This Mental Health Awareness Month is an invitation to make empowering choices every day so you can feel your best. Incorporate some of these practices into your daily routine to nurture your mind and elevate your spirit.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll probably hear it again–a regular meditation practice can have profound effects on our physical and mental health. Studies show that people with a consistent mindfulness meditation practice are less likely to react with negative thoughts or unhelpful emotional reactions in times of stress.
Meditation doesn’t have to be long or complicated–as little as five minutes a day spent being present with your breath can make a huge difference in your mood and mental state. Start with small goals and work your way up as you feel more comfortable. Guided meditations can be a great way to stay present if you’re beginning your meditation journey or have difficulty focusing. The Chopra App has various excellent options for practitioners of all levels, making it easy to incorporate meditation into your day-to-day routine.
Our needs and emotions are ever-changing, and how often do we take the time to check in with ourselves? When we pause and allow ourselves to be present with what we are experiencing at any given moment, it enables us to put a name to our emotions and feel them fully. When we take the time to really feel our feelings instead of avoiding them, we allow them to move through us, and we can take the time to decide what we need to feel good moving forward.
Next time you find yourself experiencing deep emotion or unwanted thoughts, place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Take a moment to identify the emotion you are feeling and allow it to wash over you as you repeat, “it is okay for me to feel.” Once you feel this emotion has moved through you, identify something that would offer you a sense of comfort and relief. This could be as simple as drinking some water or eating a meal. It could also be having a difficult conversation, calling a loved one, or taking a bath. Make it a habit to check in with yourself throughout the day so you can move through difficult emotions and care for your needs the way a loving parent would.
The mind-body connection is powerful, and stagnation in the body can lead to stuck emotion and dullness in the mind. Regular daily movement helps us shift this stagnant energy and release endorphins to provide you with a boost of feel-good chemicals. Endorphins prompt the release of dopamine, which can positively impact your mood.
Daily movement doesn’t have to mean a strenuous workout. Find a style of movement that feels fun and fulfilling to you. This could mean doing yoga, going for a long walk, dancing in your bedroom, or pumping out a pilates practice. Find a style of movement that you look forward to and make it a goal to move your body as often as you can to boost your mood and create a sense of mental clarity.
Humans are hardwired for connection. We may live with our partners, see our friends often, or have an animal that we love, but how often are we taking the time to connect with them intentionally? Carving out space in our day to have a meaningful conversation, call a loved one, cuddle with our animals, and have uninterrupted time to connect with those around us can significantly impact our mental health. When we nurture our connections, it allows us to feel loved and supported in what we are going through. Make it a point to take time each day to connect with somebody you love in a meaningful way. Knowing that we have people behind us that we can lean on when life feels hard can make all of the difference.
Mental health should be taken seriously. These daily habits can serve as a great way to maintain positive mental well-being and boost our mood when feeling low. However, if you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues that feel beyond your control, it is always advised to seek professional help. Prioritizing healthy and nurturing daily habits can help you feel your best and provide yourself with the care and nourishment you deserve.
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