Mental Heath and Mental Wellness are such buzz words. And sometimes it might feel like they're super serious topics that you only talk about in health class. But that's because mental health can be super serious! And if you're experiencing scary thoughts or feel like you're in crisis, remember there are so many people here to help you. Here are some resources you can use if you feel like you might want some help.
But even when you're not in a time of crisis, mental health is so important. Similar to our physical wellness, mental wellness is something we need to exercise. And the more we work on it, the better we will feel in the long run. Just like working out and taking care of our skin, we can set the foundation for our mental wellness by introducing a few practices now as TEENS that will help us feel grounded and strong as we go through life.
So here are four ways you can bring more awareness and calm into your life. If you introduce these practices into your life as little as once a week, your mental health foundation will vastly improve.
Log Out of Social Media
While the goal of social media is to connect and update us on the lives of our friends, there are some serious downsides. It can make you feel less confident, set unrealistic expectations of what life "should" be like or wash you into a circle of comparing yourself. None of these things have a positive effect on your mental wellness, so we suggest taking a social media vacation at least one a week! Log out of your accounts, delete the apps and give yourself 24 hours to disconnect!
Spend Time In Nature
Getting outside is imperative to improving our mental health. Besides it providing us fresh air and movement to our bodies, it does a ton to help us feel better emotionally. For one, if you surround yourself by trees it will help to calm you down because green is known to be a calming color! In addition, spending time in nature can reduce blood pressure and the hormone cortisol, which is linked with stress. Being in beautiful outdoor surroundings is refreshing for the brain and helps improve creativity and focus!
Talk Openly About Your Feelings
Sometimes our worries or stressors develop because we are processing our emotions internally. And while it's important to work through our feelings on our own, it also is really helpful to talk through them with a friend or family member! Talking openly about what is on our mind can provide immense relief by just saying our feelings out loud, and if you share them with a friend they may be able to offer a different perspective. Don't be afraid to share your feelings, even if they feel negative or scary!
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing and meditation is one of the most beneficial practices one can have when they are looking to improve their mental wellness. And it doesn't have to be the stereotypical humming or prayer like meditation. In times of stress or worry, it is important to bring your heart rate down and focus on something other than what is on your mind. By doing a simple breathing exercise, you can do just that! And then go on to process whatever it is that's on your mind with a much more grounded approach. We suggest sitting still, closing your eyes and breathing in on a four count, holding for four, and exhaling for four. You can do this when you are stressed or when you are feeling totally fine! Either way, breath work is a great thing to practice to make you feel mentally stronger and more grounded.