Raise your hand if you’re a chronic overthinker - aka, worrier.
It’s easy to get into that habit. Especially when life feels like it’s changing day to day. But the thing about worry is that it creates massive amounts of stress. And stress negatively impacts your health at every level - especially your mental health.
This is something we don’t talk about enough: mental health is just as important as your physical health.
IMO, it may actually be more important. If your mental health is out of whack, it’s going to affect your physical health as well.
The state of your mental health impacts everything - your focus, your drive, your level of happiness, your desire to get things done in your life.
That’s why I’m sharing with you 3 easy hacks you can start doing right now that will have a massive impact on your mental health.
These hacks, which will shift your mindset into a more positive space, are simple and easy. They aren’t going to require you to go buy special equipment, drastically change your existing routines, or even leave your house to uplevel your vibe.
Mental Health Hack 1: S.T.R.E.T.C.H.
I kid you not. Stretch.
But not just any stretch. I want you to try a very specific set of stretches called a sun salutation.
You probably know this, but sun salutations are a yoga flow and are a series of movements that flow from one to the next, seamlessly.
What’s significant about the flow of a sun salutation is the way your body moves in tandem with your breath.
Yoga is as much a breathing practice as it is a movement practice.
You can watch a quick walkthrough of a sun salutation HERE.
So why am I suggesting you stretch as a mental health hack? Here’s the thing - when your mental health is impacted by something, your physical posture changes.
And it’s a subconscious change you don’t even realize is happening.
Your shoulders round forward. You begin to slouch. Your spine curves in or protrudes forward.
Your body is responding to feeling mentally ill at ease. It tries to shrink or close in on itself.
So when you stretch, on purpose, with movement and breath, you're able to rid your body of the tension that’s most likely building up in your skeletal structure.
When your breath flows to movement, your body expands. Your brain is able to focus. And you can control the movement. Which is nice since we are able to control so little of anything else these days.
Mental Health Hack 2: Journal. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
If you don’t have a journal, no problem. Just grab a sheet of paper and use that for now.
The point of this hack is it gives your brain a bit of a release. It allows the tension building up in your thoughts to dissipate.
So just write and don't think about it. Or open up a blank document on your computer and type. (Although I have to tell you there are studies that show pen to paper is more effective).
And no rules apply. You’re not writing this for anyone else. Just you. To clear your brain.
It’s simply an outlet. A vehicle to get everything that may be bothering you, consciously or subconsciously, worrying you, upsetting you, causing you to stress OUT.
So big or small, it doesn’t really matter. Just write it out.
Now you may think I’m going to tell you to go back and address whatever it is you wrote down.
But I’m not… once you’ve written it all down, your next step is to set the paper aside.
There’s power in knowing you’ve just offloaded your thoughts or worries some place else. You don’t need to hold onto them right now. Or maybe at all.
Feel free to release them, knowing they’re being kept on that piece of paper and when you’re in a state to deal with them, you can revisit it. And only if you want.
This is a compartmentalization technique that works because it frees up space in your brain enabling you to be more productive.
You now have the safety net of knowing that - when you’re ready - you can focus on addressing those problems and worries.
Mental Health Hack 3: Stimulate your senses.
Our senses are incredibly powerful.
I mean that’s a no-brainer statement, but it’s very true. Our senses hold memories for us in our subconscious.
Think of a happy time in your life. Maybe it was around a holiday in your childhood. Or a special celebration, or a memorable moment with friends.
Now try to visit that memory in your subconscious mind and dial in on the environment.
What does it feel like?
What does it sound like?
What does it smell like?
If you were eating, what did the food taste like?
I’m betting you remember all of these details better and more easily than you can remember the things people said or even the order of events that happened in the memory.
Because our senses track and hold memories.
So right now, I’d like for you to try to hang on to this powerful, positive memory you’ve just channeled.
And then choose one of the senses you’ve just been able to activate during your memory.
For instance, if it was a specific smell -- like the smell of flowers -- focus in on that smell in your memory and the emotion it’s bringing you.
Maybe it’s a sense of calm. Or happiness.
The next time you feel your mental health take a hit, return to the memory and activate that smell. You can take this one step farther by bringing that smell into your physical environment.
If it was flowers, like in the example we’re talking about, you could have on hand a floral blend of essential oils to diffuse or roll on -- like jasmine and geranium.
Or you could step outside to feel and smell the breeze.
Or you could trigger the smell by having a photo of flowers nearby.
The moment you activate the memory of those flowers, it should trigger the good vibes associated with the memory.
And that’s why this hack is so powerful.
And that wraps it up - those are the 3 mental hacks you can try in order to improve your mental health.