Originally published on emilywrites5.wordpress.com on October 17, 2017. Republished here with permission. Get your blog featured!
When it comes to managing mental health, these are three of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up as a result of endless web searches and reading:
1. Bullet Journal
I love this method. I’ve recently started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and although much of it is helpful I find that they ask us to keep track of so many things.
Keeping a sleep diary, positivity journal and remembering to do that breathing technique or relaxation technique can be exhausting in itself. Bullet journals allow you to track as many different parameters as you like in one place. They are basically notebooks with the lines replaced by dots, allowing you more freedom to design the page as you want.
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These journals are great for keeping track of things you need to do and satisfy my need for journals to look aesthetically pleasing. I read an article about them last year and immediately gave it a go.
Bullet Journaling also gave me something that helped me define myself; so if that’s something you struggle with, starting a bullet journal might provide a starting point for tackling the issue.
Bullet journals are great for keeping track of things and satisfy my need for journals to look aesthetically pleasing.
2. Meditation Apps
Opening the app store and searching ‘meditation’ generates an overwhelming number of results. The two I have found the most helpful are Headspace and Calm.
Headspace offers short guided meditation sessions centred on mindfulness. This technique encourages you to be fully present in the moment and consequently acquire control over your thoughts and the resultant emotions and actions. The narrator’s voice is almost my favourite aspect of this app because it doesn’t stress me out or annoy me. The app does ask for a paid subscription after the first 10 sessions, but if you have a Spotify premium account, you can get it for free! If not, the content in the first 10 sessions is a fantastic starting point and teaches you the basics of the practice.
Calm is another great app that encourages you to take moments throughout the day to concentrate on your breathing, having you inhale and exhale in time to an animation.
You can also use a meditation app whenever you feel you need to take a pause or want to calm down. They are ideal for those anxious moments many of us experience.
You can use a meditation app whenever you feel you need to take a pause or want to calm down.
(Disclaimer: if you are recovering from an eating disorder or are struggling with body image issues, always consult a therapist and/or your recovery team before considering exercise. You can also find resources for body positive approaches to exercise here.)
I spoke in my Exercise Experience post about the ways I have used working out to combat mental health issues I’ve had. It allows you to focus on physical movement rather than your mind.
It seems to conflict with the tips listed above, but if you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks, exercise and movement can give your mind space to breathe and give you the energy to get through the day.
Try not to expect too much of yourself, though! I constantly have to remind myself of my reasons for working out and try to push myself in different ways depending on how I’m feeling. Being in tune with your body will positively impact your mind!
Exercise allows you to focus on physical movement rather than your mind.
I am aware that everyone is on a personal journey in all aspects of their life and may not consider themselves a person who struggles with their mental health. However, I believe that everyone benefits from thinking about their mind. Not in a narcissistic, egotistical way, but by paying attention to the way your own mind reacts, processes, and deals with different scenarios.
My own mental health journey involves navigating the never-ending tangles my mind has knotted itself into as I pushed it to its limits. It’s time-consuming and often uncomfortable, but, like all relationships, I find that having a good relationship with yourself (and your mind) is worth it.
I believe that everyone benefits from thinking about their mental health.
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