I know that during times of high-stress, it can feel impossible to take five minutes for yourself… let alone carve out time for a self-care routine.
But this is when you need it most.
Because living in survival mode is NOT sustainable. It drains your energy, causes burnout, and could even kickstart physical health problems.
And once your health starts slipping, life gets even more overwhelming…
See how this can create a downward spiral?
I know, because I’ve been there myself. I spent years trying to DIY my way out of that spiral.
Finally, I found an evidence-based functional approach which treats the body as the holistic, integrated system that it truly is.
The importance of mental health cannot be overstated because it’s so closely interwoven with physical health.
And for both physical and mental health, prevention is key.
Think about it this way…
To stay physically healthy, you develop habits such as eating healthy, exercising and getting out in the sun. Of course, these practices don’t guarantee that you’ll never get sick again.
But by keeping your physical vessel strong, you’ll prevent illness and bounce back more quickly when you *do* get sick.
Mental wellness practices are like daily weight-lifting exercises for your nervous system. 💪
It doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience stress. Rather, you’ll be able to weather the storms with more ease.
Practice these 3 mental wellness habits regularly to boost your resilience and put a halt to that downward spiral before it even starts!
1. Practice Gratitude
Here’s a tricky part about being human:
Our brains are actually wired to focus on the negative aspects of life.
Scientists call this the brain’s negativity bias, and it makes sense when you think about it from an evolutionary perspective.
Our ancestors had a better chance of survival if they were on high alert for potential threats. (1)
But in today’s world, this survival mechanism causes more harm than good.
If you’re like most people, you face a daily onslaught of stressors. While most of these are likely not life-threatening, your brain still tries to protect you by magnifying fear and anxiety.
Gratitude is such a powerful practice because it combats the brain’s negativity bias.
Having a gratitude practice helps put YOU back in the driver’s seat of your own brain. And you know I’m all about taking control of your health around here!
By intentionally focusing on the positive, you steer your thoughts away from the negative.
When practiced regularly, gratitude can actually rewire your neural pathways! Pretty cool, right?
The best part is that it’s simple. All you have to do is start your day by writing down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for.
These can be big things, like your family, your home, or your career. But don’t write off the seemingly “small” things, like…
- your morning cup of tea
- the sunflowers sitting on your desk
- snuggles with a furry friend 🐶
The more specific you get, the more you’ll train your brain to notice all of the goodness that surrounds you in every moment!
2. Be Mindful of Your Environment
When you start your wellness journey, you might find that you develop a stronger “internal GPS”.
You’ll start to realize what supports your vitality, and what drains it.
You’ll realize how important your environment is.
The content you look at, the space that you’re in, the company you keep – these all have a major impact on your mental well-being.
Your brain is constantly absorbing information from your external environment, whether you’re consciously aware of it or not.
By taking note of how your surroundings make you feel, you can identify where you may need to make changes. Here are a few examples…
Think about your physical environment.
If you live in a bustling city but crave more time in nature, it might be time to make a change – and this doesn’t have to be drastic. You might start by adding greenery to your apartment or going for walks at a local park.
Think about your mental environment.
If your newsfeed is full of fear-inducing headlines, hit that “unfollow” button. Make a conscious effort to consume more uplifting content. If you struggle with “doom scrolling” –- you know what I mean! –- try taking a 24-hour social media sabbatical.
Think about your social environment.
Pay attention to how you feel when you spend time with others. Are you feeling uplifted and inspired? If you’re finding yourself drained and exhausted by certain relationships, consider putting some healthy boundaries in place.
By distancing yourself from environments that don’t light you up, you’ll create more space for the things that do – which brings us to our next step!
3. Find Your Joy
As a high-achiever in a productivity-oriented society, it’s easy to get stuck in the slog of to-do lists. But over the years, I’ve found that pushing harder is rarely the solution.
Finding daily joy is an essential part of a happy and healthy life. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m too busy for that,”… I’d say that it’s especially important for you.
When your schedule is packed with “should-do’s”, life starts to lose its luster. And so do you. You feel sluggish, simply because you’re not doing the things that light you up.
A recent study showed that positive emotions (such as joy) boost emotional regulation and help us to bounce back from negative situations more quickly. Ultimately, this increases your overall happiness, which comes with a slew of other health benefits, including:
When you start infusing your life with more joy, you’ll get a return on energy, vitality, and even your health! So, carve out time in your schedule, and plan some activities that truly excite you.
If you’ve spent years consumed by obligations, you may not know what brings you joy. This just means it’s time to try some new activities! It can also help to think back to what you loved as a young child.
While it might feel frivolous to take time out of your day for joy, remember that your life is a series of moments strung together. Soon, these intentional moments will start to build on each other and create a more joyful and resilient life.
Take Care of Your Physical Vessel
Mental wellness practices can certainly help support your nervous system, but in some cases they may not be enough.
The truth is, the mind-body connection is complex and bi-directional.
Just like stress can wear down your physical health, it’s also true that biochemical imbalances can derail your mental wellbeing.
It might seem pretty wild to think that your mood could be so affected by leaky gut, toxin exposure, or a chronic infection. But this happens far more often than you’d think, and it’s a huge reason why people suffer for longer than they need to.
If you struggle with your mental health and feel like nothing is working, trust me when I say it’s worth digging deeper.
Fortunately, we have the power of Functional Diagnostic testing on our side, so we can uncover the true underlying causes and get you on the fast track towards feeling like your best self again!
Book a Clarity Coffee Call to learn more about how I can help.