Alternatives To Mindfulness Mental Health
Stress can be a real problem these days. Time passes so quickly that it’s easy to lose track of things — work projects, anniversaries, and a hundred other things. That creates a lot of stress. Because of this, most mental health professionals have started to advocate that most people take up a form of medication, with mindfulness being the most popular.
Based on Eastern philosophic practices, mindfulness encourages people to live in the moment, to not worry about what is coming next, to concentrate on the now and enjoy the moments that we have. But mindfulness does have its benefits, it isn’t for everyone.
For some people, it’s impossible to let go. Either the stakes are simply too high to relax for any real length of time. Or it might be because their pre-existing mental health conditions mean they have intrusive thoughts. Or it could be the case that their work schedule is just so busy they simply don’t have the time to practice Mindfulness.
It can feel like you have no options, that if Mindfulness doesn’t work for you you’re trapped. But Mindfulness isn’t the only form of meditation. As well as a large number of more formal practices, there are also a number of smaller things that you can do throughout the day to give yourself the kind of peace and relaxation that Mindfulness brings.
We’ve assembled a list of alternative practices to Mindfulness below. While some of them may not be for you, we’re confident that you’ll find at least one of them easy to add to your own mental health practices.
While Mindfulness as a concept isn’t for everyone, it is possible to use the breathing techniques associated with it as part of your overall stress management plan. Doctors and scientists have known for a long time that breathing has a powerful effect on a person’s heart rate, so it makes sense that you can also use it to lower your stress levels.
There are many, many exercises out there, and what works for one person may not work for everyone. However, some tried and tested breathing exercises to lower your heart rate include:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Box Breathing
- Cleansing Breath
For more information about breathing techniques, as well as an explanation of how to complete the aforementioned exercises, click here.
The health benefits of owning a pet are well-known and documented. Pets can help lower your heart pressure, provide you with an alarm for certain health disorders, and there are studies showing a lower risk of certain cancers in pet owners.
However, most noticeable is the benefits to mental health that pets provide. Some of the most noticeable of these benefits include:
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure than those without pets.
- Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
While not everyone has the time to undertake long creative products, it is possible to exercise your creativity throughout your day, even if it feels like you have no time to do anything at all.
According to numerous psychological studies, taking the time to undertake a creative project — even something as simple as doodling while on the phone — gives you an opportunity to express yourself and let you process your feelings in a healthy way. Doing this will lower your stress levels.
You should be exercising anyway. However, if you aren’t, now is a great time to start. Not only would it do a lot of positive things for your physical health, but studies have also shown that physical exercise has positive benefits.
According to the mental health charity Mind, physical activity has the following outcomes on mental health:
- Better Sleep – Through increased activity.
- Happier moods – Through the release of serotonin and other feel-good hormones.
- Better Self Esteem – Through the completion of goals.
- Managing Stress, Anxiety and Intrusive Thoughts – Through the release of cortisol.
- Connecting with Other People – Depending on your exercise routine, you may find yourself exercising with other people. Making friends and developing a larger support system will lower your stress levels and improve your general mental health.
Because of these benefits of exercise, along with those associated with your physical health, we eagerly recommend that exercise becomes a component of your stress management plan.
For More Information
For information about building self-esteem and confidence in the workplace, click here.
For more information about dealing with stress whilst working, or anything related to getting back into work, contact us today.