5 Ways To Turn Inward
We could all use a bit of a mood reboot and it’s easier than you think
Anyone who has cut out whole food groups or tried to go to bed three hours earlier knows that drastic lifestyle change simply doesn’t work. Gently resetting routines, however, can pave a path to fine-tuning your mindset, perhaps even giving you a deeper understanding of your habits. While the turbulence of 2020 may seem as if it’s in the rear view mirror, the aftermath is still reverberating. Even so, many want to reset from that ‘new normal’ and start a transformation for their post-pandemic selves.
In looking to adjust, let the inner voice nudge your brain to acknowledge that something isn’t working quite right and that it’s ok to move away from it. Mental health practices, like ketamine therapy, can assist in getting over depression, for instance, but even such treatment works better when you allow yourself to turn inward first.
Of course, resetting your outlook isn’t as easy as flipping the switch, but it’s not impossible either. Here, five ways to look within and help better understand what it is that you seek.
Discern Emotions With Meditation And Mindfulness
Sometimes we just want to get away from it all, and while vacations may not be on everyone’s radar, you can get the same mental wellness benefits by meditating for just 15 minutes, researchers report in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Participants touted lower levels of negativity and higher levels of calm—no beach or Piña Coladas required. Sometimes we just want to get away from it all, and while vacations may not be on everyone’s radar, you can get the same mental wellness benefits by meditating for just 15 minutes, researchers report in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Participants touted lower levels of negativity and higher levels of calm—no beach or Piña Coladas required.
One reason for this mental fluke could be that when you tame the mind’s roaming tendencies, reaching a state called Samadhi, the meditation itself touches our consciousness at its core. Meditation is immensely personal, but a practice with mindful breathing is especially anchoring because it helps relieve tension in our bodies, a 2020 study concluded. Not sure where to start? Chorus, an online meditation group guided by trained instructors, can help. Unlike traditional (and often too serious) meditation gurus, this platform feels more accessible—perhaps because instructors meld Coldplay and Rihanna tunes into their lesson.
Write Your Way In
“Writing is thinking on paper,” said William Zinsser, American writer and teacher. Putting pen to paper is the most direct way to your thoughts—sometimes better than thought because it won’t let you feel ruminate the same idea nonstop. Journaling has been proven to ease anxiety and depressive symptoms after a month of jotting thoughts and feelings, even for just 15 minutes a day, three times a week. Research also shows, that those who kept up with the practice for three months, felt significantly better not just immediately after, but a month thereafter.
Even if you don’t have an official journal, writing down thoughts, reflective of your mood, can happen on any scrap of paper. Conveniently, download Day One, a journaling app, that also lets you sketch and take photos to enhance your missives. The key to this practice is to realize that the journal is solely for you and you are the gatekeeper of what goes in—so let the words flow, not worrying how others might interpret these letters to yourself.
Say Please and Thank You
Sowing even a grain of gratitude is a stepping stone to transforming your outlook on mental wellness. Appreciating what you have in your life, sets up a cycle that enhances life satisfaction, showed a Chilean study. Researchers found that the reciprocal relationship between gratitude and life satisfaction powers up a positive spiral that only enhances with time.
At a time when finding gratitude may seem bleak, start small. Even if you’ve spent the last year moping around the house in loungewear, take a second to appreciate the coziness of that sweatshirt. For every “unfortunate” circumstance, see if you can find a “fortunate” side to it. Make a game of it.
Art Therapy For The Soul
Giving into your imagination is quite literally an escape from the real world. Entering a creative space allows your brain to reset, and it turn, gives you permission to reflect. Art education has long promoted self-realization and has helped find inner peace. And while picking up a paintbrush at home is beneficial, you can enhance the mental wellness benefits by taking your art into a natural setting. A UK study showed that a “creative green prescription” boosted the feelings of self-esteem and made participants feel less alone. The findings showed that paring art-and nature-based activities positively impacts psychosocial wellbeing. Don’t feel like a Monet? Your art doesn’t have to involve a canvas. Express your artistic flair en plein air through hobbies that feel true to you—be it jewelry making or wood carving.
Set Short-Term Intentions For Long-Term Transformations
If you haven’t already, invite yourself to set an intention to have compassion for yourself—whether you’re working on treating depression or simply looking to find a deeper purpose. Think of intentions as goal-setting, without the pressure to succeed. Note how yoga teachers often start the class by setting an intention, small as it may be. That’s because it’s part of your mindfulness practice, an exercise to funnel down to what matters to you. An intention can be a mantra, like Sat Nam, which translates to “I am Truth”. It can also be a ritual that grounds your day—a cup of afternoon tea, perhaps. Regardless of your path to intention, remember to focus on something tangible that can manifest itself into something good.