As most of you know, I have struggled with anxiety through most of my life. This was the case through my childhood, my teens and into my mid 30s. It was only then that I recognized that it was a major problem in my life and got the help that I needed. Anxiety triggers do still occur for me but I now have the tools I need to successfully deal with them. The quality of my life has improved dramatically, since I got the help I needed.
Over the last year, with the COVID pandemic shutting down the Country and seriously damaging the economy, many of us have struggled with unemployment, overdue bills and increased stress due to isolation from the people we love. This has taken its toll on so many people's mental health. Experts have made many recommendations on how to handle this added stress and I have, myself, been doing many of the things they suggest. Here is a list of some of the tools recommended. I hope you take the time to review and incorporate some of them into your life!
The popularity of meditation has skyrocketed in the Western World. Many scientific studies, showing the vast physical and mental benefits of meditation, have taken the practice outside of the spiritual realm and into a science based practice. I use meditation for both. If you’re new to it, you can find all kinds of help online and with easy to use mediation apps. They include both guided and non-guided sessions. You can track your progress and try many methods. I personally prefer mindfulness meditation, where you focus on your breath going in and out. I’m sure you can find what is best for you.
I know. This one always seems to be a challenge for many of us! For me, taking small steps can make a big difference. Adding a few fruits and vegetable to your diet goes a long way. Staying away from over-processed foods can improve your health dramatically. Cutting down on excess caffeine and alcohol is a good move to calm you down and improve your outlook. I have seriously decreased my alcohol intake, which has led to me losing 10 pounds over the last 2 months. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my red wine and Manhattans!! Now, I allow myself only one drink per evening, if that. You too can slowly reduce your consumption of both.
This one thing has literally transformed my life. I have made it a habit to acknowledge all that I am grateful for when I wake up when I go to bed and all throughout the day. Focusing on what you are grateful for makes your outlook on your life improve greatly!! I can’t recommend this enough!! Like meditation, many studies show that focusing on gratitude changes how your brain functions and decreases anxiety and depression. I even started a gratitude page on my website. If you want to share what you are grateful for, you can do so here. This is a private page for my supporters only, to share their gratitude. You will need to register and log in. Reach out to me if you need help. Whether or not your choose to share to my page, I highly recommend this practice!!
This is the most recent trend in mental health and yes, it works. Coloring in coloring books utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration. The more complex the item being colored and the more colors used increases the effectiveness on alleviating anxiety, depression, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), eating disorders and a host of other issues. Who would have thought a holdover from our childhoods could be so beneficial?!! I have started doing this and it has been so helpful I gathered a collection of Mandala files into a PDF booklet and made it available on ETSY! I print one page at a time and take a few nights to color the complex designs while I’m watching TV. If you would like to try it yourself, you can see my PDF booklet here. Each page has a mandala design and an inspirational quote to lift your spirits.
I hope that you are holding up well during these trying times and I hope you try at least one of the practices above to improve your mental health!! Know that I am rooting for you!!