How Self-Care Works Wonders For The Mind: Featuring Brad Krause
I’d love to introduce this article written by Brad Krause. He runs a site called Self Caring and is on a mission to spread the mental health benefits of self-care. He left the corporate world to write and share and we at Bruce’s Roots are lucky to have some of his inspiring tips on the blog.
How Self-Care Works Wonders for the Mind
It’s not uncommon to feel tired, overworked and overwhelmed in this frenetic world -- you’re constantly being asked to give more and more of your time and energy to your job, friends and family, even when you’re tapped out. Sometimes you have to say “no,” and spend some time on yourself. Self-care teaches you to do precisely that. Here’s a closer look at how a few, simple, everyday practices like saying “no,” pursuing your interests, and nourishing your body can heal your mind and transform your life.
Let’s go back to that word, “no.” Do you use it enough? Chances are you don’t, as our society constantly encourages you to say “yes,” a practice which can leaving you struggling to keep up with an endless list of duties and obligations. There’s simply not enough time to get it all done, which causes you to worry that you’ll disappoint someone. In the end, you feel that can make you even more anxious.
According to a contributor at Odyssey, there’s a healthy line between pleasing people and what you actually want to do. It’s important to listen to what your mind and body are telling you. That means taking a pause before you even answer a proposal, whether it’s for a date or a new project at work. If you realize you’re overloaded, you can say “no” without feelings of regret, as long as you do it gracefully. This allows you to pursue important commitments at your own pace and with no stress.
There’s more to self-care than saying “no,” however. In fact, the activities you say “yes” to play a much bigger role in your well-being in the long run. Once you have more time for yourself, give the nod to some of those skills and hobbies that you’ve always wanted to pursue. For many, that’s the creative arts of music, art or writing. According to Psychology Today, creativity is as important to overall wellness as diet, exercise and meditation.
Your mind will thank you, in a way. Learning to play an instrument, for example, increases your memory while refining your time management and organizational skills, according to a writer with Effective Music Teaching. But there’s more. It also relieves stress, gives you a sense of achievement and teaches discipline while encouraging the use of the right side of the brain and creative thinking. That can help get you “unstuck” at work and in your social life.
If you’re eating or drinking too much, there’s an underlying psychological problem forcing you to do what you know is unhealthy. Often the culprits are anxiety and stress. To deal with these negative emotions, people often inadvertently seek that dopamine rush that comes from indulging in food, alcohol or drugs to the detriment of their own well-being. In the end, that only causes more negative feelings.
You can turn off this damaging cycle at its source by prioritizing a healthy lifestyle. For many people, the transition to caring for oneself begins with nutrition. Eating foods that fuel your body can also help clear your mind and be more mindful of your habits and coping mechanisms. Instead of indulging, you can find healthy ways to cope with your worries and fears, like yoga and meditation.
Leads to Inner Peace
The ancient arts of meditation and yoga promote mindfulness, which helps you cope with stress and achieve inner peace. These simple, but powerful exercises help put your conscience mind in the driver’s seat, where it can tell the lower brain with its feelings of fear and anxiety to calm down and shut up. That power gives you a real sense of tranquility throughout your daily life.
Like with any mental or physical exercise, consistency is the key to a healthy, beneficial yoga practice. Unfortunately, the demands of your daily schedule may make it difficult for you to get to a yoga studio every week, much less daily. For many people, practicing at home is the answer to making yoga and meditation a habit. All you need to create a meditation space of your own is a quiet corner with a peaceful view and good natural light.
Whether you start by saying “no,” learning a new hobby, making better lifestyle choice, or practicing mindfulness, every step is an important one on the road to a stronger and healthier you, both physically and mentally. You owe it to yourself to begin the journey now, before this crazy world gets the best of you.
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