The most effective (and always accessible) tool to regulate our nervous system and create a more relaxed state is conscious breathing. When combined with physical touch, it can also help us feel grounded in our bodies.
Create an anchor thought
This one is extremely helpful when you begin feeling despondent. Creating an anchor thought is done by visualizing yourself doing well in the near future. This image can be you in a place or with people you love, doing your favorite activity, or simply looking and feeling well. Once you’ve created that image, stay with it until you feel like you can really believe in it.
As you start to feel what it’s like to be a happier, healthier future-you, reinforce that feeling by saying, “This is me,” “This is where I’m heading,” or a similar message that resonates with you. Whenever you feel yourself resisting a self-supporting action (exercising, socializing, eating well), you can use this anchor thought as a reminder of why you should do it.
It’s extremely hard to motivate ourselves to exercise when we’re in a compromised mental state, but the positive impact makes it well worth giving ourselves a serious push. Even just 20 jumping jacks, taking a walk, swimming, hiking or yoga will work – anything to get your body moving. Check out this post to learn more about why exercise is so important for our mental health and some helpful tips on how to work it into your daily routine.
Sunshine (or at least some fresh air)
Even if you don’t consider yourself a nature person, being amidst trees, watching the ocean, strolling through a park, being in any natural environment can help you feel at ease. It’s essentially a place free of ‘triggers’ (assuming, of course, you’re not venturing through snake-infested terrain). And there’s a good bit of research supporting nature as a stress reliever, energy and memory booster, as well as anxiety reducer. So, try to give yourself the gift of some ‘green time’ at least once a week.
And if nature’s not accessible, you can still get the benefits of fresh air, Vitamin D, sunlight and exercise from a 20-minute walk anywhere.
Give yourself some good news
We often have bad news coming at us from every angle – conflict, disaster, terrorism, scandal and crises of every kind, so inject some positivity whenever possible. Check out these alternative news sources for a dose of good: Good News Network, YES Magazine, The Optimist Daily, Greater Good Magazine and Positive News. And if you’d prefer your news the good old-fashioned way, check out The Happy Newspaper.