Are you feeling stressed, depressed, or tied up in knots? Perhaps it’s time to take the show on the road and ditch those negative vibes on a pleasant journey. Not sure if a trip is the best course of action? Here are several ways how travel is good for mental health. Prepare your car, from the tires to the engine, for a safe and happy journey to mental wellness!

A Change of Scenery Is a Good Thing

One of the best ways to stay in a rut is never to change your environment. Sometimes a good cleaning or redecorating is enough to shake up your surroundings and give you a new perspective, but often, you need to pick yourself up and transport yourself to another place. Leaving for a new city, state, or country is a surefire way to take you out of your element and challenge you to develop new perspectives. Your brain craves change to feel better. Give it a whole new world to explore.

Travel Inspires You

Want to feel more creative? Then step out of your culture and into another. While it’s always possible to find creativity at home or the office, going somewhere new will almost certainly drop new surprises, ideas, and inspirations in your lap. Leave your comfort zone, especially in everyday tasks and requirements. Try a new cuisine or explore local art museums and festivals. Consider changing up your wardrobe with a few pieces purchased at local clothing stores. You’re somewhere new, so try new things! You’ll bring back new ideas you can incorporate into your work and life.

You Meet New People

The best way to get out of your head is to get into those of others. Traveling introduces you to new people, conversations, and perspectives. New people provide unique views and the thrill of getting to know a stranger. For extroverts, making social connections is a terrific way to recharge your batteries; for introverts, it’s an opportunity to practice your people skills and make new friends.

You Get To Become Someone Else for a While

Becoming someone else is one more way that travel is good for mental health. When you take a trip, you’re leaving behind your responsibilities, obstacles, and tasks. Become a new person on your journey: someone focused on relaxing, learning, and experiencing life rather than putting themself at someone else’s beck and call. Take time to meditate and ruminate on where you’ve gone and where you want to go and do it while kicking back!

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

We all know giving back is just one way to help out your community, but did you know charitable acts can also help you? Explore the mental health benefits of giving back.

Provides Purpose

A lack of purpose can contribute to negative thoughts and feelings about oneself. When you donate your time or money, you instantly become connected to a network of people looking to better the world. This involvement and interaction with other donors and meaningful causes can incite a sense of belonging and purpose, eliminating negative trains of thought.

Encourages Gratitude

The recipient of your generosity isn’t the only one likely to feel grateful after your donation. Charitable acts can help us feel gratitude for the abundance in our lives. The self-reflection that follows gifting resources to others prompts a newfound appreciation for what we have.

Create a Helper’s High

Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are all feel-good brain chemicals associated with joy, trust, and other positive elements that stem from relationships with others. Providing beneficial resources to folks in need and working with like-minded people to do so can spark a rush of these happy chemicals. This is known as the “helper’s high.”

The more you give back, the more your brain will experience this wave of positive chemicals. People who give back are known to have greater overall happiness, decreased susceptibility to depression, and a boost in self-esteem.

Ideas for Giving Back This Summer

If the mental health benefits of giving back have inspired you to act, you can easily get involved. Below, we’ve listed a few ideas you can try to support those in need within your community.

Care Kits

Care kits are simple and impactful resources that you can donate to people experiencing homelessness. Make sure you know what to include in a care kit for someone experiencing homelessness to ensure a meaningful donation.

Monetary Donations

Nonprofit organizations often have tight budgets, which means every monetary donation is a huge help. Always check for details on donation distributions before donating to an organization to ensure your money has the greatest impact.

Volunteering

If you can’t donate money this season, try donating your time! Plenty of charitable organizations accept volunteers, and many of them rely on generous folks for successful operations. Homeless shelters, community centers, animal shelters – you can choose a cause that speaks to you the most.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

We all know that stress can harm our health. It leads to anxiety, depression, and anger, and this unpleasant feeling upsets our bodily systems both mentally and physically. While most activities cannot entirely rid the stressor from our lives, they can distract us for a while—and, sometimes, that distraction provides exactly what we need. Practice a little self-care with the most popular stress-reducing hobbies.

Knitting

When knitting, we repeat a pattern over and over. Amazingly, besides simply being a relaxing motion, our brains enjoy that steady, repetitive flow. It’s a great way to calm fidgety hands.

As a bonus, knitting creates beautiful gifts for friends and family; plus, this generational art form can help us get in touch with the past.

Gardening

Science has taught us that “touching the earth” is a stress reliever, and that is just one of the many benefits of gardening.

Not only are healthy vegetables enjoyable when harvested, but the entire process from beginning to end will reduce your stress.

In late winter, you can peruse the seed catalog while deciding what to grow. Then, before gardening season starts, indoor sowing can begin, which gives us hope for the warmer weather and sunshine. Finally, we can plant and enjoy the rich soil and fresh air.

Jewelry Making

Like knitting, creating jewelry for friends and family is a wonderful gift. This is especially true when using gems and crystals, which are considered to each have their own meaning; with that extra layer of thoughtfulness, you can create something truly unique.

The process itself, with its intricate details, calms your demeanor and improves your mental and emotional health.

Puzzles

Nothing can cause one to become lost for hours quite like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Jigsaw puzzles give us the perfect way to get our minds off other things in life and get lost for a while.

Puzzles are wonderful because they can be done alone or with others. Plus, you can easily leave them on a table for as long as needed if you don’t finish in a day.

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is the art of collecting memories into photo books filled with written words and pictures. Not only does this hobby take you down memory lane while reducing stress, but it also gives you a chance to create beautiful photo heirlooms for those you love.

Photography

Photography can take us to many places, whether in our own home or the great outdoors.

There’s something special about walking alone in the woods or around a lake while shooting pictures of wildlife and flowers. Stress disappears as you capture this beauty on a camera.

Even shots at home of the kids will bring smiles as you upload them on the computer.

In conclusion, the most popular stress-reducing habits only work when we give ourselves the time to do so. Creativity allows for the natural release of dopamine in our brains, which relieves anxiety and stress. Not only is the right hobby fun, but it will also improve your mood and health for years to come.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

The poet William Wordsworth once wrote, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” He knew the importance of jotting down your thoughts and memories on paper before they vanished forever. But journaling is more than simply recording your daily business. It’s about getting in touch with your inner thoughts, and by physically expressing them, coming to understand them. Keeping that in mind, here’s a guide to journaling for good mental health. Simply pick up a notebook and pen, and start writing. Just a page a day—or less, or more—is all you need.

Journaling Is Good for the Brain

The first and most obvious benefit of writing is that it simultaneously engages your intelligence, writing skills, memory, and creativity. Like a muscle, the mind only grows stronger with use, and writing is the kind of exercise regimen you need. Studies have shown that keeping a journal increases a person’s self-confidence and sense of self-awareness. Some researchers have even made the case that it improves the immune system and contributes to better sleep habits, more mindfulness, better memory retention, and more developed communication skills.

Journaling Is a Good Habit That Can Tie in With Others

The nice thing about journaling is that it can take any form. That means you can apply it to many other good practices. You can write a straightforward diary, of course, recording your daily activities and your thoughts and feelings about them. But don’t stop there. Take up a new form of exercise or a sport, and use journaling to chart your progress. Travel a lot? Keep a notebook handy to scribble entries, notes, doodles, and more about your journeys. Have you started collecting some specific type of knickknack? Write about your search. If you like, consider starting an online blog and sharing your thoughts and observations with others. It’s a good way to build up a support network of friends and colleagues.

Journaling Reduces Stress

During difficult times, journaling helps puts things in perspective by revisiting what happened and how you felt, making it easier to decide what to do next. Major life events like marriage or divorce, a major move to a new and different place, or a loved one’s death require a deeper level of thought to process. Writing is the perfect way to do it, combining your sense of reason with your urge to express yourself. Healing remains a slow process, but writing down your thoughts and feelings is a good first step.

Journaling as Preservation

One significant aspect of journaling for good mental health is that it’s a way of preserving a part of yourself. Journals can be intensely private things, and that’s a good thing. But consider making your journal a way to collect your thoughts and observations and leave them for others to discover. It’s not immortality, per se, but it’s one way to live forever.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

Have you ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? There is some truth to the notion that how we expect ourselves to perform on a given task will translate into reality. Self-perception is a vital part of life that can hinder or bolster our daily work. Here are a few small ways to boost your self-esteem.

Reset Your Attitude

Our self-esteem rests on our capacity to address our negative self-perceptions and value ourselves for what we are truly worth. Your attitude toward yourself directly impacts your abilities in performance-based scenarios. At work, if you consider yourself unable to perform as well as your peers, you will underperform. Similarly, if you are finishing your degree and believe that you don’t have what it takes to pass a course, you are less likely to put in the effort. Pessimism is infectious and will permeate every action you take until you rid it from your psyche. Be nicer to yourself and believe in your capacity to succeed.

Create a List and Complete It

Sometimes, large tasks feel insurmountably daunting, looming over our days. When we fail to complete these projects, we feel smaller and less capable. Take these projects to task and break them into smaller, more manageable actions. Create a checklist and cross off each item as you complete it. This way, you will see your progress and feel the triumph of success.

Get Moving

Self-esteem problems often stem from feelings of laziness that result from physical inactivity. When we feel stuck in a rut, we become physically rooted in a place or phase we wish we weren’t. Improve your confidence by moving around a bit. Exercise clears your mind and exerts your body to the point of tiredness. Though you needn’t run through a two-hour workout, simply moving will help you realize you can accomplish something.

Own Your Appearance

How we present ourselves is a direct reflection of how we feel inside. If you lose sight of your appearance and overlook daily hygiene, it will impact your self-perception. For example, when you fail to shower for several days, your self-esteem diminishes because you begin to feed into the belief that you are gross or dirty. Take hold of your appearance and own up to your self-presentation. Lay out your clothes and wear something you feel confident in. This trick even works for kids when they pick their own clothes, since the mere act of selection reinforces autonomy and confidence.

Utilize these small ways to boost your self-esteem so you can step out of negativity and into confidence. Mental health struggles are real, and you should always seek help, but there are actions you can take on your own to improve how you perceive yourself. With the right mix of small steps and redirection, you can reframe your entire day, year, and life.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

It’s important to consider how you spend your day, especially if you find yourself struggling with your mood. Everyone has moments of depression and anxiety that can be better managed just by adding some beneficial, stress-relieving activities into their day. Learn about some activities that can help boost your mood by reading below.

Play With Your Pet

If you want a way to get some happy feelings flowing, playing with your pets is always a wonderful option. Giving yourself some quality time with your pet is incredibly beneficial for the mind. Studies have shown that this can reduce stress, blood pressure, and release serotonin. Serotonin is the natural hormone that makes us feel good. Our animals are cute, intuitive, and full of love. Playing or having a good cuddle with your pet is sure to always add some brightness to your day.

Volunteer Work

There are always organizations in need of volunteers to help with various charity projects. The great thing about choosing to devote some time to an activity like this is that you’re also benefiting others. You’re caring for the people and community around you. As one could guess, it’s proven that volunteering can lessen struggles such as depression and even help people live healthier, longer lives. Find something along the lines of what you’re passionate about. When you’re a part of an effort that really speaks to you, it’ll be an even bigger boost to your mood.

Exercise

A great option for an activity to help your mood is some form of exercise. With this, you can’t go wrong. Exercising is not only beneficial for your physical health but also does wonders for the mind. The release of endorphins it provides, along with the enhancement of serotonin production, can improve your mental state over a whole day. When you get into a consistent workout routine, you’ll notice even more positive results.

Take Up Arts and Crafts

Art has always been an effective way for helping our minds. This is an outlet that allows you to free your feelings and turn them into a form of creativity. You can explore drawing, painting, sculpting, or craft making. Any of these can help you deal with your moods. If you look into how crafting can benefit your health, you’ll not only find it can help the mind, but also many other areas of your wellbeing, too.

Try Some Writing

The last of our activities that can help boost your mood is writing. Writing is an activity that has a therapeutic nature unlike many others. It can certainly be a mood booster, especially if you enjoy it as a form of escape. Writing is also central to cognitive therapy used by many psychologists to help those with depression, anxiety, and other conditions. You can turn your feelings into words on paper, allowing you to read it back to yourself and better process them.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

You’ve probably heard of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This is a type of depression that many people experience as the seasons change. It’s common for people to feel this way in the winter. Whether you experience this or not, most people can relate to feeling low in energy in the winter. We put together a guide that provides a few ways to boost your mental health in the winter, so read on to learn more.

Go for a Hike

Spending time in nature is great for mental health. Since the cold keeps many people from sitting outside in the winter, getting active outdoors is ideal. Going for a hike is one of the best ways to boost your mental health in the winter. Make sure to wear the proper clothing and consider layering up. It’s also important to wear the right shoes. There are a few things to look for when purchasing winter boots, so make sure you do your research. You don’t want to be cold when you’re hiking, so make sure you’re prepared.

Pick up a Book

Another way to boost mental health in the winter is to pick up a book. Reading is good for you in more ways than one. For example, reading can make you feel calm and help you relax. Many people read before bed for this reason. There are so many books to choose from, and there’s definitely something out there for you. If you don’t enjoy reading, consider listening to an audiobook. You can follow along in the book while you listen. You could also choose a collection of poems or short stories if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Call Family or Friends

It’s easy to feel alone during the winter. Since it’s not always possible to see other people in person, try to call family or friends. Talking to the people you love is a great reminder that you have people who support you, even if they aren’t there physically. You can also video chat with people to make it that much more personal.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

There’s no denying the fact that most of us tend to have more stuff than we actually need. How often do you find something in a closet and ask yourself, “Why do I still have this?” If this sounds like you, you might be surprised to learn that letting go of all that excess stuff can be beneficial to you. In this article, we’ll go over why letting go of clutter is good for you so you can find the motivation to start cleaning.

It Frees Up Headspace

A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. One of the biggest reasons why letting go of clutter is so good for you is because it gives your brain less to focus on, meaning you have more focus for the stuff that matters. Clutter has the nasty habit of occupying our thoughts the more often we see it. Give yourself a break and get rid of what you can; your brain will thank you.

It Reduces Stress

How much stress must you have built-up worrying about cleaning up your place every day? If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have a lot. There are plenty of things we can stress about on a daily basis; don’t give yourself another one just because you don’t enjoy cleaning. Allow your home to return to a place of relaxation rather than stress by getting rid of excess clutter.

It Can Help Other People

Things that you consider clutter might just be exactly what someone else needs or is looking for. When you’re decluttering, consider not throwing everything right in the garbage. Not only does this create a lot of unnecessary waste, but some of that stuff could make great donations. The next time you clean out your closet, donate your old clothes to an organization like the Purple Heart Pickup rather than trashing them.

It’s Good for Your Physical Health

If you find that your pack rat tendencies are bad, you might be putting your health in more danger than you realize. Having clutter sit out everywhere is just adding more surfaces and places where dust and allergens can build up. Even if you don’t have allergies, an extremely cluttered room can actually contribute to you developing them. For the sake of your health, cleaning up clutter is a very good thing.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

Joy, peace, and cheer aren’t the only things the holidays bring. For some people, this season is the most stressful time of year. Every gathering and gift exchange comes with extra responsibilities. The shorter days and dreary weather don’t help, either. Even if you enjoy the holiday season, you can still find your mental health declining over these weeks. Make sure you have a plan to keep your spirits up this season. From leaning on loved ones to setting healthy boundaries, here are three tips for better mental health over the holidays.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

You’re not the only one who struggles with this season, so why should you go through it alone? Avoiding isolation is particularly important in 2020, when many families are cancelling large holiday gatherings in the name of social distancing. While the holidays look different this year, that doesn’t mean you have to be without friends, family, and support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones. Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on or a friendly face on a video call, you don’t have to—and shouldn’t—deal with the stress of the season alone.

Enjoy the Small Things

With so much going on over the holidays, it’s easy to rush through the weeks without taking a break. You don’t want to look back and realize you didn’t even enjoy the holidays while they were here—especially if you usually enjoy this time of year. Try to pause once a day and take in a little bit of the season. Savor the taste of a Christmas cookie. Admire the twinkle of the festive lights on your street. Not every day has to be a good one, but if you can find one small, good thing about every day, you can make the season a little brighter for yourself.

Know Your Boundaries

Gift shopping, hosting gatherings, dealing with family—it all adds up to a lot of stress this season. One of the best tips for better mental health over the holidays is to know how much you can handle. Figuring out and standing up for your boundaries can help you avoid a lot of stress throughout the holidays. This can mean relieving yourself of certain responsibilities, scheduling personal time for some peace and quiet, or learning how to avoid drinking and other triggers during festive gatherings. These are all great practice for the rest of the year as well. Setting boundaries for yourself—and asking your friends and family to respect them—is a great way to prevent burnout and better enjoy the holiday season.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

Whether you suffer from frequent stress and anxiety or are feeling more pressure than usual, breaking out of the funk can be challenging. When this inner turmoil takes over, our daily routines become harder, relationships can feel strained, and your mental health suffers. Finding a few tasks you can try on stressful days can help you feel more at ease. Try out these five tasks to alleviate stress and anxiety the next time you feel out of sorts.

Breathing or Counting

Sometimes the best way to calm a racing heart or mind is to take a moment to refocus. No matter where you are or what you’re dealing with, using a counting or breathing method is an easy way to calm down. Try counting slowly, or take ten deep breaths. Focus on counting or breathing and letting go of whatever is causing you to stress while relaxing your body and mind.

Go for a Walk

Exercise releases endorphins that aid in reducing stress and anxiety. You should implement an exercise regimen to keep stress at bay. However, if you’re stressing out at work or don’t have time to hit the gym, don’t fret. Instead, take a walk around your building during lunch or around the neighborhood to get your body moving.

Take a Drive

If you have a relatively stressful commute, driving to destress may not be your favorite option. However, some alone time in the car can do some good. A simple drive around the neighborhood or to one of your favorite parks can give you just enough time to clear your mind of all the negativity.

Journal Your Thoughts

Sometimes the best way to feel better is to let go of what’s bothering you. Whether you prefer to carry a journal or use an app, writing your thoughts is a cathartic way to release any emotions you’ve been dealing with. You may even end up with some newfound clarity on your situation after some more thoughtful journaling.

Stress and anxiety are a natural part of life. We all feel it at some point, even though we’d typically like to avoid these feelings. Luckily, trying these five tasks to alleviate stress and anxiety can help eliminate troublesome feelings.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey