We are all familiar with the practices which are typically recommended to maintain our health and wellness - a healthy diet, exercise, enough sleep, regular sunlight, reducing alcohol and other substances, connecting with family and friends, and having enough relaxing downtime. But there are other practices which you can add to your routine to boost and maintain your mental and emotional wellness.
Just as you set aside time to exercise, to relax, and to connect with family and friends, it is important to make time in your daily routine for some emotional and mental health habits. You don’t have to wait until you are stressed or in a crisis. In fact, doing any of these practices every day will help you tremendously when you do experience stress or a crisis. They help you to respond and to function better, and they make you more resilient.
Here are some suggestions to choose from. It is important to pick a practice that works for you, one that you can incorporate into your daily routine and also maintain.
Just focusing on your breathing is an easy way to help you regulate your nervous system, your stress hormones, your emotions, and your behavior. There are many different kinds of breathing exercises that you can choose from.
Here are some simple and popular ones to try out:
A breathing exercise to do for just 5 minutes first thing in the morning to start your day. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine very straight. Inhale to the count of 4 seconds, hold your breath to the count of 4 seconds, exhale to the count of 4 seconds, then hold again to the count of 4 seconds. Repeat this for at least 5 minutes.
When you do this exercise daily, you are conditioning your body to regulate your nervous system, your emotions, and your behavior. As a result, you stay calm and more focused under stress, and become more resilient, which means that you bounce back faster from stressful experiences.
A breathing exercise for managing anxiety or just for calming you in general. Lie on your back, either on your bed or on the floor. Elevate your legs on pillows or on cushions so that they are higher than your chest. Rest your hands on your abdomen so that you can feel it rising and falling as you breathe in and out. Then just breathe normally. You can add calming/soothing music, if you wish. Do this for at least 20 minutes.
A breathing exercise to wind down. If you want a simple breathing exercise to wind down at the end of the day and to help you fall asleep, Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a good one to use.
The benefits of daily meditation are well known and documented and there are many different kinds of meditation. It is important to find the one that works for you.
Here are just some meditations you can choose from:
Mindfulness Meditation. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and intentionally paying attention, without judgment or criticism, to what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, and thinking.
Mindfulness meditation increases self awareness and helps you to:
regulate your emotions so that you are better able to respond to what is happening around you instead of having a knee-jerk reaction
reduce negative thoughts about the past and worries about the future
reduce painful emotions
stay more positive and optimistic
regulate your behavior better
improve your concentration and memory.
Guided Meditation. This involves being guided by a teacher or a guide on your meditation journey. There are many guided meditation Apps available to help you with your particular issue. There are guided meditations for sleep issues, for stress, for anxiety, for depression, and just for calming your body and mind.
Walking Meditation. This is mindfulness meditation while you are walking. While strolling in a park, on a trail, or anywhere else, you focus intentionally on what you see, what you hear, what you feel against our skin, what you smell, the sound and feel of your feet hitting the ground, the movement of your body, the movement of your breath in and out of your body, or the pace at which you are walking.
Mantra Meditation. This involves repeating an affirmation, or a calming word or phrase, to help calm down racing and negative thoughts, to calm your body and mind, and to help improve your mood and your self-esteem.
Yoga Mediation. This involves a series of movements, postures, and breathing exercises to help calm your body, mind, and spirit, and to become more aware and more present.
Chakra balancing meditation: Chakras are seen as the energy centers of the body. The stressors, pains, and traumas of our lives can cause our energy centers to be out of balance and, as a result, affect our sense of wellbeing. Doing regular chakra balancing meditation will help to bring your energy centers back into balance and to improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
I work with clients every day and I am affected by their painful stories and their energies. I personally like doing a chakra balancing meditation daily. There are many kinds of chakra balancing meditations, so look for one that you can incorporate easily into your daily practice.
This is a simple and easy way to reflect on your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and insights and to put them into perspective. It can reduce anxiety, ruminations, and racing thoughts. Journaling helps you to become more focused and self aware, and to express your thoughts and feelings. It improves your overall sense of mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
More Practices to Choose From
Praying - you can create your own daily prayers, or you can read prayers created by others for specific situations and purposes.
Daily gratitude/appreciation for the positives in your life.
Reading and reflecting on sacred texts.
Listening to sacred music.
Listening to the kind of music you find calming or uplifting.
Energy tapping exercises, for example Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT).
Benefits of Daily Emotional and Mental Wellness Practices
The benefits of including any of these practices into your daily routine are that they help to calm your body, mind, and spirit. They keep you more grounded and focused, and reduce anxiety and panic attacks. They help to improve and maintain a good overall mood and enhance self awareness. Emotional and mental wellness practices regulate your nervous system, stress hormones, emotions and behavior. They improve your sleep; and build your resilience to the small and the big stressors and traumas in your life.
When your body and mind are calm, your thought processes also improve. You can concentrate and think better, you are more creative, and your ability to manage and reduce negative/limiting thoughts and ruminations is improved. You are more able to put your thoughts and feelings into perspective and see and appreciate the positives in your life.
For my daily practice to start the day, I find that doing a chakra-balancing meditation, energy tapping, and listening to uplifting music work for me. You might have to try different practices, or a combination of practices, to find what works for you. The goal is to enhance your overall sense of mental and emotional wellness, to improve your overall functioning, and to make you more resilient in the face of everyday stressors.
If you feel that you need support to improve your emotional and mental wellness you can contact me at email@example.com or call 613-877-4148.