Mentorship February 28, 2018
When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. You've got this.
A death in the family. A bad breakup. A lost job.
Or maybe it’s just one of those days where everything that can go wrong, does. You know those days when you spill an entire glass of Diet Coke on your lap, can’t find your keys and just realized your shirt is inside out.
There are moments in life when we think “I just can’t do this anymore.” And we question how we’ll possibly get through this terrible day. So here are 7 ways to make it better.
It sounds too good to be true, but studies have shown taking a deep breath can help calm your brain. Essentially, the same neural circuit that makes you feel anxious when you breathe rapidly, can have the opposite effect when you breathe slowly. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take 5 minutes to sit down, relax and breathe. Your brain will calm down and in return, you’ll feel more at ease with your situation.
You may think crying is a sign of weakness, but in fact, it’s there to help you in your time of need. Not only is it cathartic, but psychologists and scientists believe crying can have health benefits as well. Studies have shown that emotional tears actually contain more stress hormones than reactive tears (ie. from the sun, wind, or a particle in your eye). This means when you’re crying you physically release some of the stress from your body and you feel better. Crying also “activates the parasympathetic nervous system and restores the body to a state of balance,” explained Stephen Sideroff, a clinical psychologist at UCLA , to WebMd.
You know when you’re hanging with your BFF and suddenly your problems feel like they melt away? Well, studies have shown that being around a friend in tough times can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and buffer the effects of a negative experience. So if you’re feeling low it’s completely acceptable to binge “Friends” on the couch with your BFF. It’s cheaper than therapy.
The health benefits of yoga have been well-documented, but one place yoga especially shines is relieving stress. Between the breathing, the meditation and the euphoric effects of exercise yoga can help relax your body and calm your mind. And don’t think you have to go join a studio to reap the rewards. There are plenty of YouTube yogis who will guide you through a variety of times and styles of yoga from the comfort of your living room. Even 20 minutes helps.
Sometimes we simply don’t have the emotional energy to do anything ourselves which is where guided meditation comes in. It’s very simple. Find a place to sit down, play a guided meditation (usually from 10 min to 1 hour) and follow the instructions to breathe. Guided meditation has been shown to calm brain waves and relieve stress almost instantly, and requires very little effort on your part.
Anytime I’m feeling down I play Mamma Mia! on repeat and I instantly feel better, and now I know why. Studies have shown that rewatching your favorite movies and TV shows can have a therapeutic effect thanks to the feeling of “nostalgia”. Researchers have found that when people rewatch things they love or listen to songs from their childhood they feel a sense of “love” and that “life is worth living.”
Scientists have known for a long time that being around nature has beneficial cognitive and psychological benefits. In fact, neighborhoods filled with trees are actually better for your physical health than those that are barren. Research has also shown that simply looking at trees, or walking down a tree-lined street, can reduce your stress levels.
So if you’re feeling low, take time to walk outside, relax in a park, or find a way to take a hike in nature. Your brain and your heart will thank you.
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