To honor and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we have partnered with Hoopfull to offer you some tips on how to take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Here’s what they wanted our dear readers to know:
- Have a good old cry! Feelings and emotions come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they can feel plane overwhelming! We recommend having a good cry. Holding back tears and emotions when you are going through a stressful period only puts more pressure on your nervous system.
When you let the tears flow in a contained and safe environment and really allow yourself to have a proper cry, your body goes into a state of rest and relaxation afterward. We recommend set your timer for 15 minutes, you can play some sad music to help trigger your big emotions and then let the tears come, don’t hold back.
When time is up, dry your face, blow your nose, and get on with the rest of your day. Definitely don’t sit or stew in the same feelings for too long! Make sure to move your body afterwards, walk, take a shower, or drink a glass of water and sit with some plants in your garden.
- Journal! Grab a notebook and make it your emotional health journal. In there you can write anything from recent annoyances to your worst fears and even better things you wish for, like your bucket list, and most importantly things you are grateful for!
All aspects of you and your life deserve attention, so make room for it. Putting things in black and white helps because the act of writing and thinking helps you put your feelings and thoughts into words, rather than getting stuck in some elusive and unpleasant energy that just lingers. Scientists have same “name it to tame it.” When we name what is going on for us, the intensity of the experience goes down.
- Become a master in self-compassion! According to researcher Dr. Kristin Neff, there are three elements to self-compassion:
First is self-kindness (the opposite of self-judgment). Which means giving yourself the same kind of warmth and kindness you would give to someone you care about. This requires you to understand that being imperfect, failing and experiencing life difficulties, is inevitable and part of being human.
Second is common humanity (the opposite of isolation). When are in pain you might think to yourself “I am the only one who is suffering or struggling at this moment in time” which can be a very lonely and isolating experience. So, remembering that part of being human is to have the shared experience of suffering. You can even imagine that in this exact moment in time there are many others all around the world who are going through exactly what you’re going through.
Lastly, mindfulness (opposite of over-identification). To practice self-compassion, we have to be aware of our pain. Dr. Krisin Neff recommends that we take a balanced approach toward our negative emotions, so that we neither suppress nor exaggerate our feelings. This requires us to observe our negative thoughts and feelings with openness and nonjudgmentally.
4. Breathe! Your body and your nervous system have a natural ability to heal and restore balance and your breath is an essential component of this mechanism. Breathing properly and slowing down the breath will help activate your body’s relaxation response. Box breathing is one you can practice, whereby you breathe in while counting to 4 in your mind, hold while counting to 4, breathe out while counting to 4, and pause again to 4 before going to the next inhale.
Most of us don’t know how to breathe properly, due to chronic stress. We breathe very shallowly, or we hold our breath without even realizing we are doing it. Through various modalities such as yoga and breathwork such as holotropic breath work or conscious connected breathing, you can relearn how to breathe and continue being aware throughout the day to breathe slowly.
5. Seek professional help! Don’t give up on your mental health! If you are going through challenging experiences and you feel like you can talk to no one or you noticed that friends and family you speak to are unable to help you, please make sure to talk a licensed mental health professional.
This doesn’t mean you will be prescribed medication. Far from that, it requires you to just sit down with someone for an hour and discuss what is happening to you. It requires having an educated and competent therapist who is nonjudgmental and confidential.
Hoopfull was created to help you find the right therapist for you. Hoopfull gives you direct access to reviewing different therapist profiles by going on their directory and playing around with the various search criteria on the left side bar to help find the right therapist for you. To review and search is completely free for you.