Wellness Wednesday – 4/14/21
It’s safe to say that this past year has been difficult for everyone. However, thanks to the rise in vaccinations and beautiful weather these past few weeks, a sense of hope is on its way back to our homes and communities. In order to help you embrace these positive feelings, we’re focusing on spring cleaning of the mind. Let’s clean out the cobwebs of anxiety and stress by becoming aware of the importance of our mindset in leading a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Your mindset is the driving force of everything you do. Every project you start, every challenge you face, even every task you complete is determined by the way you approach it mentally. However, simply being positive all the time is much easier said than done, especially in times of high stress, like this ongoing pandemic. Moreover, sudden, uncontrollable changes — such as lockdowns and closures — take a hefty toll on our mental health. To begin working towards a positive mindset, read this advice from lifehack.org. Included practices are seeking fulfillment over happiness, cultivating diverse life areas and interests, and managing your expectations.
When experiencing extreme anxiety or stress, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed both physically and mentally. Interestingly, you can exercise your brain just like you do your body, just with different techniques. This article from Real Simple offers five ways to train your mind for “lifelong mental fitness” which include: trying a new hobby or a skill, physical exercise, and prioritizing sleep. The article also mentions that “your brain, as much as your body, is affected by what you eat and drink.” On that note, check out U.S News’ list of ten worst foods for anxiety. The list includes foods that are either processed or extremely high in added sugars, and suggests that adding “calming foods” such as those that are high in fiber help you avoid blood sugar spikes that serve to boost anxious feelings.
One of the best lessons I have learned was that you have to walk before you can run. This applies to everything in life, especially mental wellness. It is important to be aware of how you are feeling, that your feelings are valid, and that you always have a chance to grow and change if you allow yourself the opportunity. So start by simply being aware. Do you have reservations about going back into the world after months of social distancing and quarantining? You are not alone. Check out these personal stories from introverts who are dreading a return to normal life (whatever the new normal may be.) Do you often notice yourself feeling lost, empty or numb lately? Read this article from Psych Central about what it means to feel empty and what you can do about it.
The mindfulness movement has become significant within our culture as of late. So if you’ve heard the term before, but are still unsure about whether practicing mindfulness is good for you, read this article from Better Mental Health Magazine that describes mindfulness, the history of it, and offers a meditation practice. If you find yourself having trouble meditating, read Healthline’s tips for those who tend to overthink while meditating.
Sometimes, when you feel stuck, it helps to try something different and unusual to kickstart yourself out of neutral. Check out this article on how living a minimalist lifestyle can reduce stress. The article discusses the idea of “less is more” and that reducing our waste and physical clutter can also clear our mental clutter.
For those looking to diversify their skillset and exercise their brain power, consider learning a new language. A recent study published in Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience found that participants who learned Japanese initially boosted their brain activity when first learning, then reduced their brain activity as their language skills improved. This article on the study argues that this is “likely due to an improved ‘mind’s voice’ while hearing.”
If you are someone that retreats to nature when you are feeling down, spice things up by trying out the new trend known as “Cottagecore.” This article about the practice describes it as “less about being the new thing to do and more about going back in time, simplifying things, and revisiting your roots … [a] combination of forest bathing, the game Animal Crossing, and Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ album, plus a little Henry David Thoreau for good measure.”
GOOD READS & WATCHES
Body & Mind. Do you ever feel like your body and mind are simply out of touch? Check out this article on body awareness: what it is, the benefits, and how you can improve your own.
Spring in Your Step. Did this weekend’s warm weather encourage you to walk outside? Take your walk a step further with these five tips to putting a spring into your step during your daily walk.
Miracle Science. A woman in New York City received the world’s first trachea transplant. Read more about her new windpipe that came from this groundbreaking surgery here.