By Lily Friedman
Just as we experience the highs of life, we also experience the lows. And some of us experience those feelings of stress, worry, anxiety or even depression more than others. With this week’s Wellness Roundup we’ll chat all the ways in which you can lift your own (and other’s) low moods, whether it be through helpful techniques like meditation or even a little ‘DRT’.
Scouring the internet each week as the social media marketer here at The Sanity Snack, I’m on a mission to deliver some of the best wellness and self-improvement advice on the web to our followers.
From discussions of unwinding anxiety, ways to lift a low mood and helping loved ones conquer adversity, these sanity tidbits are here to help you rid yourself (and others) of that negative ‘habit-loop’ you just can’t seem to break out of.
Lifting Your Mood
With millions of Americans experiencing anxiety, stress, fearfulness and depression, many of them are not taking the right approach when it comes to lifting themselves out of these lower moods. Somehow, the problems always return back to the source.
Author and psychotherapist William Pullen, writes about a new and highly effective way to leave our blues behind us in his article ‘5 Steps to Get Moving, Get Mindful, and Lift Your Mood’ on Mantra Yoga and Health magazine. And this new effective uplifter is known as Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT).
When it comes to the human body, everything is interconnected, so in order to overcome emotional hurdles and true healing, both mind and body must achieve harmony. The best way to do this? Start moving. Pullen explains how DRT works, “It combines moving and mind-fulness, harnessing the freeing energy of exercise and the healing power of self-awareness.” He also shares how Dynamic Running Therapy isn’t just for the fitness-minded and that you don’t actually have to run in order to do it.
“The combination of thought exercises and moving can be done at a walk or a run — whatever works for each person. As we move, there are plenty of chances to reflect and see how far we’ve come. The sense of accomplishment brings with it a newfound energy and confidence, and that, in turn, builds the strength to keep moving — farther and farther away from emotional pain,” Pullen writes. Check out his 5 key steps to get moving, get mindful, and lift yourself out of those low moods.
For those of us that suffer from worry and uncertainty about the future, otherwise known as anxiety, it can begin to feel as if these sensations are a permanent part of us. A major reason for why we can’t escape these negative habit-loops is because we have become so identified with anxiety that we can’t imagine ourselves without it. But similar to how we are not our thoughts, we are not anxiety either. By understanding this ‘habit-loop’ around the worry and discovering small strategies to deal with these feelings, perhaps we can find our way out.
Researcher, neurologist and long-time meditator Judson Brewer, sits down with ABC news anchor to discuss techniques for unwinding anxiety on his podcast ‘10% Happier with Dan Harris’. The show opens up with Harris taking voicemails and offering advice on how to deal with the chaotic spiral of thoughts that invade morning meditation. Ultimately he says, “How I approach it is by not trying to stop it, but welcoming it in… If it wasn’t your to-do list, it would be something else, because that’s the way the mind is.” By recognizing and welcoming each new thought, eventually the power they have will diminish, thus invading your headspace less.
Aside from discussing his new ap, Unwinding Anxiety, Brewer offers strategies for coping with anxiety. Something you can do when you feel tightening in your chest? Utilize meditation. “Simply on your next in-breath, breathe into that feeling of anxiety and hold it with a kind and curious awareness,” he says. When we are anxious we are actually holding our breath, which is why it feels as if you have a tightness in your chest. “Bringing awareness to something that’s tight helps it loosen up on its own.”
Brewer also mentions another technique for managing anxiety- put the noting practice into play. “Anxiety is a concept. So you can start with what it feels like,” Brewer says. Think about that physical feeling of worry, the throbbing in your head, the tightening in your chest, the stomach gurgling. He explains, “We would note physical sensations, so we can bring awareness through the noting practice. Through noting the physical practice, through thinking, note anything that is arising. As we bring a curious awareness to it, we start to see these sensations aren’t as formed and as stable as we think they are.”
Getting Through the Rough Patches
We all know what it’s like to see someone we love in pain. But it can be even more difficult to set boundaries and keep our own mental health a top priority when offering openness and empathy to those in need.
In ‘How to Support a Friend Who is Going Through a Rough Patch’ on The Chalkboard magazine, adapted from Lori Harder’s memoir A Tribe Called Bliss, Harder shares a few very real ways to support a friend who is going through a rough patch. “It will depend on if you have the tools and ability to navigate what comes up when your friends are going through a rough patch,” she says. Harder gives you the tips and armor you need to protect yourself from going down the rabbit hole with them.
One thing’s for certain. In order to keep your chin up, you must create loving energetic boundaries even if that means every time you’re putting yourself first. Before jumping into a situation, try analyzing the problem and identify whether joining them will drain your energy or not. Harder advises, “If the problem requires more than you can give in a healthy way you will need to draw a line.” Be sure to let the other person down in the lightest way possible, offering them another place to turn for more perspective and guidance like a therapist or coach, for instance.
“Emotional self-awareness is the building block of the next fundamental emotional intelligence: being able to shake off a bad mood.” -Daniel Goleman