Journaling. This activity doesn’t require a lot of material and can be done almost anywhere quiet, at your convenience. Journaling is a healthy way of releasing energy. The actual motion of writing is found to be highly therapeutic. Sometimes people just don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings to anyone. This is when the advantages of journaling come into play – freedom to express yourself uncensored, releasing intense feelings, becoming more self-aware, and decreasing stress (all similar to therapy!). Plus, it’s pretty neat to review your journal to notice patterns, growth and/or progress. So grab a pen, journal, a private spot and let yourself go.
Exercise. I know a lot of people dread this word because it sounds like a task. However, the key is to find some form of exercise that you actually enjoy doing, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Take your pick – whether that’s swimming, dancing, taking a walk in the park, or Zumba. Or switch it up to keep things exciting. But do find something that pumps your blood and reminds you that you’re still alive! In addition to physical benefits of exercise, there are plenty of mental health benefits: boosted self-confidence, better sleep, increased relaxation, reduced stress, release of happy chemicals in your brain and more. If you’re in a funk, try exercising. It may be your ticket to a happier and healthier you.
Positive self-talk. All day long we talk to ourselves. We talk about what we want to wear, what we want to eat, how we want to spend our day, etc. Have you ever monitored your thoughts to see if they are positive, self-promoting thoughts or negative, self-defeating thoughts? The quote, “We can be our own worst critic,” is absolutely true, but it doesn’t have to be because we each have the power to choose how we talk to ourselves. Your self-talk is crucial to your mental health because it determines how you feel about yourself.
For example, let’s say I got fired from my job. This can be a stressful and upsetting situation. However, I have the power to decide how I will talk to myself after the fact. I can tell myself: “It’ll be okay; I can learn from my mistake; I will find another job.” Or, “I’m a horrible person; I’m such a screw up; nobody else will hire me again.” If you choose the former, you may still be upset about the situation BUT your positive self-talk and optimism will move you in a positive direction. With the latter, you’ll continue to beat yourself up and actually believe that you are a horrible person, leaving you drowning in a sea of negative feelings. I challenge you to start monitoring your self-talk. If you find them to be negative, this is a good time to begin reframing those self-defeating thoughts into kinder words.
Now that you know some of my favorite ways to managing mental health, I’d like you to think about yours and start putting them into practice.
From My Heart To Yours,
Asma – Houston therapist