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As some of you know, I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was about 18. Over the last (almost) 5 years, I’ve figured out ways to cope with it and to alleviate my symptoms.
Society puts a lot of emphasis on physical fitness, exercise, weight loss, etc. And while it’s important to care for your body, I feel like it’s more important to care for your mind.
After all, you could be the fittest person in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you’re super unhappy.
And while exercise and physical activity can definitely help you manage many mental illnesses, it’s important to do other things to care for your mind as well.Physical health is important, but so is #mentalhealth! Click To Tweet
So, here are 5 ways to care for your mind:
– Make it a point to exercise your brain.
Technology is great and all, but scrolling through news feeds and binge watching Netflix doesn’t do much to stimulate your mind. Instead of spending a bunch of time doing mindless activities, be sure to regularly exercise your brain. Read a book, do a crossword puzzle, write, or do other stimulating activities. This can help with your brain activity and memory.
Action step: Check out a good book from your local library, buy yourself a journal or puzzle book, or think of something else you can get to exercise your mind daily. The Lumosity app (Android or iPhone or website) is also good for daily brain exercises.
– Don’t expose yourself to too much negativity.
Everything that you read, watch, say, or hear can actually affect your mind and change your mindset. That’s why it’s super important to be mindful of what you’re exposing yourself to. I know that when I spend a lot of time watching upsetting news stories, sad crime shows, or reading certain things, I end up feeling depressed and emotionally drained. You probably know what kinds of things bother you, so try to stay away from them as much as you can.
Action step: Think about how you spend your time and who you’re spending time with. If you notice you’re doing something, reading something, watching something, or talking to someone who is making you feel low, try to stop.
Related reading: Dealing With Toxic People
– Know your limits + practice self-care.
I know that I, personally, have trouble separating my work from my life sometimes. We probably all do to a certain degree. If you combine this with the fact that I have trouble saying no to people even though I already have quite a few regular commitments, it’s easy to say that I can get burned out a lot if I’m not careful. That’s why self-care is so important! When you’re feeling overwhelmed – or like you’re close to getting overwhelmed – you need to give your mind and body rest. So make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew, and practice self-care regularly.
Action step: Make some time in your schedule for self-care at least once a week. Read this post about how to stop being a people-pleaser and learn to say no, if you need to. Or read this post about 26 fun things to do alone. Just make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
– Recite daily positive affirmations.
A lot of our minds are so used to negative thought patterns that it’s hard to change them. And negative thoughts are toxic to our minds, and even our well-being. Filling your mind with these toxic thoughts is no way to live. That’s why positive affirmations are so great. They can actually help you to reshape your thoughts and change your inner voice. So every day when you wake up, you should try to recite positive affirmations!
Action step: Read this list of positive affirmations and write your favorite ones down to recite every morning. Make sure to stick with this and you’ll see the effects that it has on your thinking and your mood!
– Work on your mindfulness.
Mindfulness is important for so many reasons, but I won’t get into all of them now – just know that the major ones to me are how they lessen stress and overwhelm. I’ll just say that it’s great for reducing stress levels, improving concentration, and keeping overwhelm at bay. There are so many ways to help you practice mindfulness, including yoga, meditation, adult coloring books, and journaling. Figure out what will work for you and make it a priority.
Related reading: 10 Ways that Positive Thinking Helps Us Thrive