May is Mental Health Awareness Month The deep dark months of winter might be a better time to shed light and support on mental health, but we’ll leave that for another post!
Mental Illness is Hard to Understand
I lived nearly forty years of my life feeling balanced, calm and relatively content. For those with mental health difficulties, I could find empathy, but I didn’t REALLY understand. That all changed when I went through my divorce. It was a devastating and drawn out experience. It left me with intense bouts of anxiety followed by anxiety’s bosom buddy, depression. That’s when I understood those unique emotional feelings and their connection with our physical body.
My divorce was the single worst thing that had happened to me, and in retrospect, also the greatest gift. It set me on my path to use a lifetime of experience to grow, evolve and awaken. As an empath, medication didn’t feel like the right choice. I feared not being able to be emotionally connected to my kids and my own intuition. As I began my journey of empowerment, I also found a path of healing. I learned incredible tools that helped me manage my anxiety and depression without medication.
My Favorite Tools for Giving Anxiety and Depression the Boot
1) Reset Your Nerves
Hands down, the most effective tool in calming my neurological system is EFT Tapping. In fact, it works so well for myself and kids (and also 95% of people) that I became certified in it. Yes, it’s THAT good! Do you need to hire me as a coach to use EFT Tapping? Absolutely not! EFT is easy to do, almost immediately calming and a great resource for you to take control of your anxiety. If you use the search bar on YouTube you can type in “EFT Tapping” followed by your symptom. There’s EFT for many things; pain, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. Jen Partridge has a great session here for releasing anxiety and fear: https://youtu.be/bqelDpGePM4
2) Just Breathe
Breathing is remarkably effective with little need for know-how! Give yourself a timeout when events and feelings escalate. It doesn’t have to be time intensive or complicated. You can recenter yourself in the pick up line at school or start your day with an act of self-love. Try this: Sit comfortably and place one hand palm against the top of your head and your other palm against your sternum. Take a slow, deep breath (aim for a count of 3-5) in until your entire chest cavity is filled. Hold it just a moment at the top of your breath. Then, slowly release until you must squeeze your diaphragm by flexing your stomach to push out the remaining air. Next, breathe more naturally but still slowly and deeply, filling your chest completely, hold at the top a moment then release slowly, until you feel a natural completion of your breath out. Repeat this last breath 1-2 more times. Close your eyes while doing this if it feels right, and you are in a safe space to do so.
3) Practice Peace
Everyone is talking about meditation because it works! The calming effects of meditation train your mind to reach a theta state allowing you to easily absorb information and create habits of calming thoughts. For many, meditation works best for me as a maintenance technique versus in the throngs of an anxiety attack. It’s fantastic in conjunction with the previous two methods I listed as well!
Forgiveness and letting go is a big piece of releasing the anxiety and depression we experience, even if we haven’t yet consciously understood the need to forgive. This meditation by Jack Kornfield is powerful: https://jackkornfield.com/forgiveness-meditation/ . I use it in my financial workshops because forgiveness impacts every part of your life. Record a voice memo of yourself reading it, then play it back while you close your eyes and meditate on the words. Amplify the effect by playing some binaural beats with it! This binaural beat is for forgiveness for yourself and others: https://youtu.be/g8qdejl7_2U
4) Let Food Be Thy Medicine!
There are significant studies linking your gut health with your mental health. In summary, how healthy the biology of your stomach is impacts how well you are able to manage stress. If you are new to all this, the top three things I suggest for improving your gut health are as follows:
- Start taking a probiotic to introduce more healthy bacteria into your stomach
- Consume more whole foods which create a buffet for the good bacteria in your gut
- Heal past damage by reducing inflammatory foods like sugar and processed foods and adding in more gelatin and bone broth to seal and heal the lining of your gut.
Remember, using new tools and adopting new habits take practice. The most important step is doing just that, taking the first step.
Disclaimer: The advice in this post is not a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing a crisis CALL THE NAMI HELPLINE 800-950-6264
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