I read a ton on mental resiliency for myself and my children. I love this topic! Everything is easier when you are in a stronger state of mind. So if you are looking for nine simple ideas to jump start your mind’s strength, here they are!
- Breath Deeply. If you haven’t tried deep nasal breathing, you might want to stop reading this right now and try it. You can do this many ways, but my simple method is to close my mouth and breath in through my nose for a count of roughly 4 seconds. Pause after inhaling. Then exhale through my nose for another roughly 4 seconds. If I am really amped up, then sometimes I have to exhale strongly through my mouth for a couple breaths first, and then I can zip my lips and exhale through my nose instead. I find that I get mental clarity and a sense of calm after as few as 3-5 of these deep breaths. If I can get in ten, then bonus!
- Find something that makes you laugh honestly and genuinely. This is not a laugh at someone or in a facetious way. This is a true, old fashioned, funny laugh. If you can laugh with a loved one, even better. A good laugh can bring down stress, can increase my focus, and help me get back into balance.
- Get enough sleep. This varies per person, but if you can go to bed just 10-15 minutes earlier a couple nights in a row you can add up to that extra hour of sleep that might make or break your ability to focus your mind on exactly what you would like!
- Diffuse your favorite essential oil. Do you need something a pick you up… maybe choose orange, tangerine, lemon or peppermint. Need something to ground you… maybe choose Frankincense, Fir, Spruce, or Juniper. Need something to balance anxiety or fear… maybe choose Jasmine, Lavender or Bergamot. My key is to find an oil that brings me into balance allowing my mind a chance to level out and think clearly. As a side note, if you don’t have a diffuser, no worries. I sometimes just put a drop on my hand and inhale that.
- Read the Daily Stoic. I love the daily email meditation that I get from the Daily Stoic, Ancient Wisdom for Everyday Life. Their emails give me a daily does of Stoicim: It’s a philosophy designed to make us more resilient, happier, more virtuous and more wise–and as a result, better people, better parents and better professionals. The emails are short, easy to read, and always contain something in their message that I can take with me to be in a better mental space that day.
- Do yoga. I phrase this “do” yoga because sometimes when I say “practice” yoga, people get overwhelmed. Yes, a daily practice of yoga wonderful for keeping my mind in a happy, healthy place, but that said, sometimes, or many times, life happens and a daily yoga practicing isn’t going to happen for me. So in that case, I say “do” yoga. Meaning even if I don’t have a lot of time, energy, space, etc. I know that I can at least move through a couple of stretches breathing deeply, focusing on being in the moment. I can touch my toes and reach to the sky a few times in a row, breathing, feeling a stretch, and being grateful for being right there, do that at that given moment. If I can do more than that, awesome, but if I can’t… that bit of yoga helps. If you are wondering, what is yoga? The term “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “union.” Yoga combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques to strengthen the muscles and relieve stress. So as you can see, you can do this many places, many times, in many ways. I will post more about this another time, because there is a lot more to be said about yoga and increasing mental resiliency, but for simple sake, let’s leave it here recognizing that movement, meditation and breathing can be huge in moving the needle towards rock solid resiliency.
- Read empowering quotes. What we absorb matters. Instead of just taking in the news, billboards, and other things that we see all around us, why not take in words of empowerment and positivity. We post quotes around our house that we see, read, and absorb on a regular basis. A few of our current favorites are: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” “Stop thinking about what could go wrong and start thinking about what could go right,” “Surround yourself with people who lift you higher,” “The power of imagination makes us infinite,” “Be true to yourself,” “Be open to new ideas,” and “A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.” My kids love finding new quotes and updating the quotes around our house. There are endless options online so find some that speak to you, post them around, and you might find that you enjoy absorbing them on a daily basis.
- Sweat. When did you have a great workout sweat or an awesome sauna sweat session that you did not feel uplifted, clear headed, and more resilient afterwards? This can have immediate rewards.
- Get outdoors. If my mind is a little scattered or confused, a brisk walk, or couple minute meditation in the outdoors can sure up my thinking almost immediately. You may have heard about forest bathing and the impact it can have on our state of mind. If not, check into it. I find that not only does it center and strengthen my mind, but it seems to have huge impacts on kiddos too. Articles on forest bathing: MinnPost, Healing Forest, Time.
Hopefully these ideas get your mind moving in a resilient direction!