When it comes to living healthfully – mentally and physically – there’s always room to make adjustments or improvements for a more beneficial result. For instance, doing the same physical exercise daily may lead to stagnation where the body is no longer responding as it initially did (i.e., the exercise is less challenging and, if losing weight was the goal, then a plateau happens). Our minds work similarly. If the same types of thoughts or emotions are looping on repeat in our head (especially negative ones) then the ability to achieve a higher level of mental wellness is stopped. Being “stuck” in your head mentally may lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression, to name a few. However, you can “unstick” thought patterns by implementing these five strategies designed to work together to improve your overall well-being.

Read through this entire post before starting on the strategies.

Make Space in Your Mind

This exercise that encourages your mind to let go and clear space has been used for centuries. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes.

On a piece of paper, take time to answer these prompts as honestly as you can (no one will see this list).

  • How do you feel about your personal life?
  • How do you feel about your professional life?
  • What negative thoughts or sayings do you tell yourself?
  • How is your relationship with your spouse? Partner? Family? Friends?
  • Is there something in the past that you regret? Why?
  • Do you have feelings of resentment, disappointment, anger, and/or frustration? If so, at whom or what?

Traditionally, you would take this list and burn it. If that is not a possibility, then tear it up.

How does this help you? The act of burning or tearing up these thoughts and feelings serves as a physical release to whatever is holding you back mentally and helps to clear space within your mind.

Keep Your Mind Refreshed

Now that you’ve made space in your mind, it’s important to start “exercising” your mind to keep any of those negative emotions from seeping back in. The benefits of a clear and refreshed mind include staying and enjoying the present moment and fewer feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry. In turn, a refreshed mind will boost creativity, innovativeness, problem-solving skills, and interactions with others. Physical benefits include sleeping better at night and, potentially, lowering blood pressure levels.

There are many options to keep your mind refreshed – try any or all of these, at once or vary it from day to day or week to week.

  • Meditation: Start your day with 5+ minutes of meditation. If you’re new to meditation, read my short blog post on the benefits of meditation and ways to practice it here.
  • Practice Gratitude: Write a list daily – great to do first thing in the morning or right before bed – of three to five things or people that you are grateful for. Also, don’t be afraid to express gratitude to someone when you feel it. A simple “I appreciate you” can be beneficial for both the person and you.
  • Do a Digital Detox: Cut back on extracurricular screen time such as social media, shopping, and celebrity and/or news websites. Set time limits on these websites or choose to forgo them altogether. Additional possibilities include setting a time to turn off screens altogether – an hour or two before bed, during the weekends, etc.,
  • Exercise: Physical exercise is a wonderful way to refresh your mind and elevate endorphins Schedule exercise into your calendar as you would a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting. Should you need to cancel, reschedule it for another day/time.

Keep Your Mind Happy Through Self-Care

Self-care is the act of doing something daily that brings you joy and fulfillment. While we all enjoy big events, such as vacations, these are things that don’t happen often so it is lucrative to find something doable for you regularly. Here are some examples of self-care.

  • Setting and maintaining personal boundaries
  • Spending time with loved ones and pets
  • Moving your body consistently
  • Restorative sleep – if you struggle with sleep, follow these tips
  • Saying “no”
  • Diffusing essential oil
  • Spending time in nature
  • Meditating
  • Massage or taking a bath
  • Game or movie night
  • Deep breathing
  • Lighting a candle
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Having no plans
  • Haircut or manicure
  • Eating well
  • Reading a book

Keep Your Mind Connected

Social connectedness is important! In today’s world, many of us live behind screens and our interactions with each other are mostly through email or text. The sound of a person’s voice or a hug from a friend is much different than an electronic message. Make time to connect with those that mean the most to you. Schedule a walk, a coffee meeting, a game night, or an event to go to together. Staying connected elevates feelings of value, security, love, self-esteem, and appreciation. Studies have shown that those who have strong social connections also benefit physically, with lower incidences of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

Grant Your Mind Grace

We often are the hardest on ourselves. To undo this high bar that we have set, we need to remember daily to give ourselves some grace. This means acknowledging when things are tough and understanding that we may not always have a solution. This will lead to honoring our limits and will reduce feelings of stress, regret, anger, and resentment.

Ready, Set… Get Started!

Implementing these strategies may seem daunting, but reading through this post has already begun the process of encouraging your mind to change the loop that is playing in your head. Just as physical exercise strengthens and transforms your body, practicing these techniques will shift your mindset, resulting in positive changes to your well-being. And remember, as you explore these strategies, strive for progress, not perfection. Small steps can lead to big changes.

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