Health is a holistic thing. We can’t just run our way to a healthy mind and body. While often what we look like on the outside is used as an indicator of our health, it’s becoming more and more evident that it’s just as important, what is happening in the mind. While movement is very important for a healthy body and mind, it’s just the start. We have to learn to be in our own company, our own thoughts, and feel nourished and settled there. Here are some of our favourite ways to create a healthy mind.
If you don’t already meditate, it’s one of the best ways to start to become familiar with the way your mind works. When we sit with our thoughts, we really start to notice how they start and what they can turn into. When we learn this, it can make it easier to stop the spiraling once it starts. Sit for just five to ten minutes a day at the start. It can be really helpful to find a guided meditation or listen to some of the hours of meditation and mantra music available.
Reconnect with nature
Nature is incredibly grounding. And when we are grounded we start to feel safe and can really connect with who we are and what we need. Reconnecting can be as simple as walking around in the grass with no shoes on, hiking in your local area, or something as big as going on a camping holiday. Whatever it is, make it a habit.
Get creative and play
As we get older and life starts to be filled with more and more responsibilities, play and creativity can be pushed aside as a waste of time. Or we think we are bad at it so we don’t do it. Being creative can be as simple as colouring, drawing, writing, knitting, or anything else that allows you to create ideas just for the sake of it. And play is all those things that make you happy but don’t have a goal (except enjoyment). Think playing with kids, dancing around the house, yoga, etc. Something that makes you lose time and something you would want to do even if you wouldn’t get anything out of it except joy.
Exercise is very important for a healthy body but it’s just as important for a healthy mind. Sometimes it can be nice to think of it as movement rather than exercise. Movement can be walking, dancing, running around with the kids or the dogs, walking to the shops instead of driving. 20-30 minutes of being active a day is all we need to stay healthy.
Watch your thoughts
One of the worst things we can do to ourselves is speak to and about ourselves negatively. It’s nice to remember that just because we have thoughts, they’re not always real. Notice the kinds of things you say about yourself, and when you notice they’re negative, ask yourself if you could switch the sentence around to make it either neutral or positive. A ‘I’m bad at this’ can quickly be turned into ‘I’m still learning and I’m improving every day.”
Use a gratitude diary
Grateful people are happy people. Not the other way around. Get a small journal, or a collection of pieces of paper and a jar. Every night write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for today. Slowly, this practice turns what we have into enough and stops us wanting for more.