Content Provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team
Some days can be more difficult than others, and sometimes those hard days turn to weeks or months of feeling down. When mental well-being is not at its best, it may be difficult to want to exercise, meditate, or find a way to feel happy. Finding the right coping mechanisms takes time and patience.
Here are six techniques to help clear the mind and offer peace on days when your mental well-being can use a boost.
- Belly Breathing Techniques. Belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is easy to do and very relaxing. Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Breathe in through the nose, expanding the belly and keeping the chest still. Then breathe out through the mouth, retracting the belly to the spine and keeping the chest still. Repeat 3 to 10 times, taking your time with each breath.
- Write in a Journal. Writing in a journal can be a great outlet to express your deepest thoughts, feelings, or desires. If stuck on what to write about, check out these prompts on ThoughtCatalog.com.
- Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This technique yields a variety of benefits, including lowering blood pressure, decreasing muscle tension, reducing fatigue and anxiety, and improving overall well-being. Check out this video to learn how it works.
- Eat Healthy Food. Eating can make you better or worse day by day. Keeping blood sugar steady and the digestive system running smoothly can help you feel good and more energetic.
- Engage in an Activity. Engaging in an activity that is challenging, but not frustrating, can help quiet inner thoughts and allow you to escape a noisy mind. Consider trying jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, word games, art, knitting, crafting, gardening, or cooking a healthy meal.
- Take a Walk Outside. Take a quick walk outside! Breathe in the air and feel the sun to help reframe the mind.
Some coping skills are unhealthy and could create bigger problems in your life, including:
- Drinking alcohol or using drugs. Becoming dependent on any substance to spark a better mood can lead to unhealthy substance abuse.
- Overeating. Relying on food to feel happier can lead to overindulging (stress eating), excessive weight gain, and an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Overspending. Shopping therapy is a common coping skill to gain a quick mood boost. Although this can bring happiness for a short amount of time, it can cause financial issues and more stress down the road.
It is important to find a method of coping that is specific to you. Stay open minded and create a toolkit of coping mechanisms that will help spark joy and peace.