This keeps coming back up for me in my meditation, and since it's Mental Health Awareness Month, and we're sharing stories all month long, I thought I'd put this out there, in case it can support you on your journey too.
Mantra of the Day
Don't overthink it. If it's heavy, put it down. And whatever it is, simplify.
I just had a birthday and one thing I've learned in my last 37 years is that I am an overthinker. Frankly an over-a-lot-of things-er... An over-worrier, over-achiever and over-planner, for instance. In many ways, that's served me very well, except when it comes to my mental health. It's why I so often go back to the concept of balance and rest when discussing how to manage my mental health. In the pendulum swing of my mental health management I am constantly correcting my instinct to overdo things, and reminding myself daily to return to a state of balance to maintain my well-being.
Disclaimer -- not everyone will benefit from simplifying their feelings, worries, fears, etc. and in no way am I suggesting to minimize something truly important, however, for me, much of my worry is unnecessary and often fleeting.
If this resonates, you may enjoy these five truly simple ways to elevate your mood and avoid ruminating (read: over-analyzing) on things unchangeable or not worth your worry!
Shake it out.
Really! There is scientific evidence to the effect of the stress relief benefits of giving your body a good shake. According to Times of India, shaking activates the parasympathetic nervous system and signals the brain to calm, relax and let go. It also activates the lymphatic system of our body, which helps our body rid itself of toxins, which includes toxic energy!
The idea is to loosen up and shake out all the built-up tension in your mind and body. While most meditation techniques require you to be still and be aware of your body, shaking meditation is the act of letting go.
If you've never tried this before, or feel silly doing it, Erin Ward offers a shamanic shake wakeup session on the app called "Breathe Your Way to Freedom" in which she guides you through. Try it
Break into dance
There's a growing body of evidence that suggests that dancing is good for our mental health, particularly as it relates to managing depression and boosting mood. Plus, anyone can do it and you can do it anywhere! Naturally, we're partial to the bedroom! Thanks to creative-minded Yoga Wake Up teacher Kate Lister, we even made a wakeup for it! Try it
Need some inspiration to get you started? Follow us on Spotify....
Take it outside
Nature is medicine and a simple walk outside without your devices has the power to shift things. Perhaps a walking meditation can bring some clarity to your worry, or if the goal is to clear your head, you can focus your thoughts on your senses such as the cool breeze or the sound of cars passing. According to Psychology Today, even just 15 minutes outside can bring you into an energized, engaged state of mind and induce feelings such as interest, alertness, joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. Try a walking meditation
Take a nap
This is what we recommend to our son when he is overwhelmed. It requires little explanation - we're human and we need rest for survival, but what's more, we need rest to see clearly, to restore and reboot. No need to wait for bedtime if a challenge is particularly stressful...take a nap and when you wake up you can evaluate its importance once again. Most worries matter less after a good nap. Can't turn off the monkey mind quickly enough to fall asleep midday? Try a sound bath for sleep.
Do what feels good
No joke, I asked Joaquin to help me with the last one. I asked him, "What's a simple thing you can do to improve your mood in just a few minutes?" His response, "Wine." So, I edited his response to reach more people, but seriously, he has a point. A perhaps too-simple way to shift your mood is to deflect, and do something that usually makes you feel good. Find what that is for you and do and act on it. It may be going for a swim, playing your favorite music, socializing or reading a good book. Whatever it is, find what feels good in the moment and do that! Changing course can be an effective way to shift your mindset and get out of your head. If for you, that's wine, go for it! Just be prepared to queue up Lindsey's Hangover wakeup after. Try it.