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May is Mental Health Month


As a contribution to raising awareness of Mental Health month, we asked Dr. Amanda Chaney, Woodside’s Director of Wellness to give us a some advice to help boost moods, combat symptoms of anxiety, depression and fatigue and increase happiness… naturally. We know that there are many factors that contribute to mental health and that being emotionally healthy also means managing day-to-day issues like stress, making and keeping friendships, changing bad habits, and using your creativity. Total health depends on a healthy mind as well as a healthy body, so it’s important to take the time to nurture both.

Negativity can strike at any moment. That dreaded dark cloud that descends out of nowhere. One moment you’re in your flow and feeling good in your own skin. Then, you’re in a drowning wave of “stuck”. A funk might be triggered by what someone else did or didn’t say or do, or from some deep recess of your thinking. Where it came from doesn’t matter – how to get rid of a funk, ASAP, does.  Spring is the perfect time to jump-start your ability to help yourself feel good. Effective mind-body tools are something to swear by whenever you feel like you’re slipping out of groove. The following process is a great way to break a negative spiral to get your groove back when you’re feeling funky.  

This is an easy 5-part process that can help boost moods and increase your overall happiness.

1) Begin By Taking 5 Deep Breaths
Breathe deeply into the core of your belly, hold it there, and then breathe slowly out through your nose. If you’re doing this laying down, then imagine exhaling out of the back of your body. If you’re sitting with legs crossed, imagine exhaling out of your seat or root chakra. Or if you’re sitting in a chair with your feet on the ground, imagine exhaling out the bottom of your feet. This first step is about grounding yourself and getting out of your head and into your body.

2) Work it Out, & Shake it Off
Decide not to focus on whatever stress or thing got you into your funk. By letting go of the negative energy, your body will start to focus on your strengths. According to ADAA, exercise has proven to be a great stress-reliever, even a workout of low to moderate intensity can increase cognitive functions, decrease levels of tension and improve self-esteem. 

Shake it off, just like Taylor said it. Shake out every part of your body. Jump around, get a little crazy-pants (just be gentle with your head and neck) and imagine your funk shaking straight off your body.

3) Harness Your Power of Intention, and Say it Out Loud
With one hand on your heart and one on your belly, say out loud what it is you’d like. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Instead of dwelling on the negative, say “I’d like… to happen” so you can physically hear it. Don’t worry about whether you “can” have it or the “how”. Just declare it out loud. In the words of Deepak Chopra, MD,  “Once you have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, they will bloom when the season is right.”

4) Practice Gratitude, & Verbalize Your Appreciations 
With one hand still on your heart and the other on your belly, say what you’re thankful for. What do you appreciate about your life? Think of at least three positive experiences in your life. This could include noticing something in nature, an object of beauty, a pleasant conversation with a friend or helping someone with a problem. The transformative power of gratitude has been the topic of positive psychology for many years, although this practice may come easily to some of us, we may still need a daily reminder to cultivate this sense of appreciation.

5) Clap Your Hands, Move On & Let it Go
Everyone knows, you can’t change what has already been done. It’s time to let it go, move on to the next moment in your life. Clap your hands, rub them together and then release as if you’re letting all the negative energy out of your body. Do this quickly as if you’re declaring “YES! We’re done here!” and you’re good to go – today is, and will be a great day. ☺

If you are having a hard day,  do this over and over again until you feel yourself start to soften, and feel that tightening in your chest or head begin to loosen.

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