Your mental health is similar to any muscle in your body in the sense that it can be exercised and strengthened. Setting aside some time every day can have a dramatic impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Here are several mental health exercises to get you started.
Mental Health Exercises
With how busy many of us are during the day, thinking about trying to carve out the time to tend to our own mental health needs can create even more stress. Thankfully, there are small things that we can do each day to improve our sense of wellbeing. These types of exercises can be done throughout a workday or can be indulged during a day off. Give some of them a try, and see whether your emotional and mental health responds positively to the attention.
Regulate Your Breathing
Breathing is something that is very easy to take for granted. While it is very fortunate that our bodies have been designed to do on its own, it is also an activity that we have a measure of control over. Taking in rapid breaths contributes to an increase in heart rate and blood flow. These increases are used to gear the body up for some form of strenuous exercise. Conversely, slowing the breath down signals to the body and brain that you want them to relax. The relaxation effect of focused breathing can be achieved in as little as two minutes.
Take Time to Stretch
Many of us spend a significant amount of our day sitting at the computer. Over time, the positions we stay in while working can result in a build-up of tension in our muscles and contribute to stiffness in our joints. We can counteract these effects by deciding to take a minute to stand up and stretch our bodies. When we stretch, we improve our blood flow, increase our energy, and calm our minds. Periodic stretching throughout the workday can improve our mental performance.
Make Space for Socialization
There has not ever been a better time to find ways to socialize. Even minimal amounts of socializing with someone we enjoy can provide a boost to our mental health. Socializing can take our minds off of our problems and remind us of who we are as a person. If the physical distance is a barrier to socializing, utilize the convenient access of video conferencing through apps on your phone or laptop.
Find Ways to Laugh
There is an old saying that laughter is the best medicine. Even in our modern times, we are finding that sentiment to be true. Engaging in laughter decreases the production of stress hormones, and increases the production of feel-good chemicals. Try peppering your workday with watching a few funny videos or scrolling through some light-hearted memes.
Contrary to what some may believe, self-care is not selfish. When we are mentally, emotionally, and physically refreshed, we have more to offer the world. While all of these exercises are included in a self-care regime, going the occasional extra mile to pamper yourself can also work to renew your sense of purpose. Choose an undertaking or activity that you most enjoy, and make sure to make a date with yourself to indulge.
Engage Your Creativity
Life as a responsible adult has a way of squeezing all of the fun out of things. Making effort to recapture the creativity that you enjoyed during your younger days can help to bring some of that passion for life back into the picture. Whether your creativity thrives in painting, sewing, singing, or scrapbooking, make a commitment to integrate some of it back into your downtime. If you are able to bring some of that creativity to your work-life, even better.
Art therapy is often included in treating certain mental health issues, as it encourages self-expression through creative mediums.
Get Some Exercise
We all know, by now, that we are supposed to engage in daily or weekly exercise. When it comes to scheduling it, many of us are reluctant. Being expected to exercise can frankly be a downer. Once we realize that the benefits extend beyond just decreasing our waistlines, however, we may find ourselves more on board with the idea of it. Engaging in exercise provides us with more energy, better self-esteem, and reduced stress levels. Often times, we are able to experience these benefits after even one, lone, venture into exercise territory. The instant gratification of just one run around the block or one trip to the gym can spur us onward toward making exercise a part of our regular routine.
Learn more about trauma-informed yoga.
Improve Your Environment
While it may not be practical to take a trip to another location, simply making some changes to the environment you are in every day can provide a pick-me-up. Whether your office is at home, or away, try integrating some natural lighting and plant life into space. Cleaning up and organizing any clutter is another way to usher in more positive energy. A cluttered space is said to be a sign of a cluttered mind, and sorting out one can contribute to our feeling peaceful in the other.
Indulge in a Daydream
Adulting can be less satisfying than we imagined while we were in elementary school. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Taking a break from the realities of life through indulging in some daydreaming not only provides an immediate distraction but can also result in coming back to the real world with a refreshed perspective. Pick your favorite place, activity, or future, and let your imagination take you there. If your excitement over imagining what you could be doing flows over into the idea that you can actually accomplish it, check out the next topic.
Create Realistic Goals
Sometimes, the negative mental health states that we experience are related to a lack of vision about our future. We may feel stuck in life or feel anxious due to not knowing what might be coming around the bend. Taking charge of your own future through setting and achieving goals can do wonders for improving your outlook on life. When taking time to outline some plans for your future, make sure to follow the tested practice of making those goals concrete, achievable, and timely. You can use the method of creating SMART goals to maximize your chances of successfully reaching the milestone. Success with reaching smaller goals will embolden you toward designing even larger ones.