It is easy to dwell on the negative right now; however, focusing on the bad can be incredibly detrimental to your mental health. There is so much good in the world, even within your own home that you may have never noticed. Here are a few ways to practice gratitude:
Start a gratitude journal: Commit to adding gratitude to your nightly routine before bed. The more you write down what you are grateful for, the more you will notice good things as they happen.
Express gratitude: Make those feelings of gratitude physical and show or tell someone that you are grateful to have them in your life.
Make time for physical activity
Exercise! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, physical activity reduces stress. “Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.” Simply taking a daily walk can help maintain your stress levels day to day.
Meditation is a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine. It can take only ten minutes and put you in a better headspace. If you are new to meditation there are plenty of apps that can guide you through mindfulness meditation. Here are some apps to try:
Headspace: will teach you the basics and essentials of meditation
Calm: has a seven-day beginner program and a library of calming sounds. The app also has stories that are meant to help you sleep.
Aura: a personalized meditation app that asks you questions to design daily three-minute meditations that are right for you.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique when you feel overwhelmed. This breathing exercise requires you to focus on your breath and is aimed to help reduce anxiety, help individuals sleep, and manage anger. Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale forcefully through the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this up to four times.
For many, journaling can help to relieve stress and anxiety. Journaling forces you to think about the things you are feeling, organize your thoughts and then give meaning to your emotions. Journaling can also take many forms. I recommend getting a dotted or unlined journal, that way you can write, draw, and doodle freely. Lines on the page can feel constricting but an unlined journal acts as a space of possibility and you can utilize the page however best benefits you. Paste in photos, old ticket stubs, or business cards from places you’ve visited. Cut up wrinkled bookmarks and make them into something new. Write about your day, your feelings or find prompts to guide your writing. Make it yours. Here are some prompts to get you started:
If I could say one thing to ____ I would say...
The most important thing in my life right now is...
30 things that make me smile