The state of our mental health impacts the way we interact with the world around us. It informs our relationships, attitudes, desires, and outlooks. WHO describes health as “…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We can’t be truly healthy without tending to our mental health along with our physical and emotional well-being.
There are so many factors that affect our psychology and many of them are heightened by the crisis we find ourselves in. Economic pressure, social disruptions, significant lifestyle changes, and social trauma are just a few prevalent threats to our mental health. Fortunately, there are ways we can combat these stressors and take one step closer to peace.
It may be helpful to think about cultivating proper mental health in two ways: mental posture, and external relief.
- Create a daily mental hygiene habitJust like brushing your teeth, a daily mental health routine will help keep your mind healthy and free of debris. If we don’t take the time to clear our mind of tension and stress, those negative impressions accumulate and can affect cognitive function, sleep quality, productivity, and engagement. Long term, that built up tension can be a factor in chronic illness. Taking 15-20 minutes of your day to meditate or reflect can have huge impacts on your overall mental well-being.
A few practices you might consider using in your mental health routine:
- Creative projects
- Mindfulness and Meditation
- Learning something new
- Sprinklr offering – daily wellness breaks, headspace app, spinklr being community
- Practice breathwork:
In a recent Stanford study, researchers discovered a group of neurons in the brain that connect breathing with different states of mind. Because of this function in our brains, slow, steady breathing generates a calmer mental state. Here are a few breathing exercises you can try to encourage a peaceful mental state.
- Straw Breath- Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth as if you were breathing out of a straw, 10 rounds. This breath will bring your blood pressure down and calm your mind.
- Humming Bee Breath- Breathe in through the nose and as you breathe out through the nose make a humming sound. 5-10 rounds.
- 16 Second Breath- breathe in for 4 seconds- hold for 4 seconds- breathe out for 6 seconds and then hold out for 2 seconds. 10 rounds.
- Diet and Exercise
Your physical and mental health are deeply intertwined. Because of this, healthy eating and exercise can reduce stress and improve your mood! Exercise releases endorphins, and reduces the body’s stress hormones, so part of your mental health practice can be taking 30 minutes out of your day to get your heart rate up.
- Prioritize therapy
If you have a pre-existing condition, be proactive and set up meetings with your healthcare provider throughout this season. Therapy is a wonderful tool for everyone to utilize regardless of your mental health history.
- Strengthen your network
Technology allows us to interact in some miraculous ways. Take this time to connect with the people you enjoy! Authentic communication can free you from feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Communicate your needs
Talk to your manager, coworkers, family members, or roommates about what kinds of practices will impact your mental health in a positive way. If you need more time to complete a project, talk to your boss! If you need 20 minutes away from your family or roommate to do your breathwork or meditation, communicate that as a priority.
- Create a healthy living space: Our living space is often a direct reflection of our mental state, and vice versa, so try to keep your environment clean and comfortable. This promotes relaxation and limits external stress.
We’re all facing new challenges and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and worried. The good news is that there are ways to combat these growing pressures in our lives, so try to stay focused on those! It will be well worth your time to invest in your own mental posture, bringing you closer to holistic health and happiness.