Guest Contributor: Mercedes Shawver
I had a kind of epiphany a few weeks ago after a beautiful Arizona morning hike with a close friend of mine. We went to the outdoors, got our bodies moving, breathed fresh air, and laughed until our sides hurt. When we got back to the car she said something that really got me thinking. She said “Wow, I feel so much better than I did this morning. Thanks for coming out with me.” At first I was confused, then she told me that she had had some bad vibes that morning because she and her husband had a fight the night before. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all need ways to release those negative feelings. So I challenged myself to come up with 10 ways to kill the bad vibes, a cheat sheet if you will, so I can more time enjoying life. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Find a Creative Hobby: Get the other side of that brain working! Sometimes when I feel anxious I just go to my craft room and let the creativity flow, before I know it my worries feel a lot smaller than before.
-Do A Selfless Act: Even the smallest ones can brighten someone else’s day. Maybe you can pick up the tab for coffee for the person behind you in line or maybe just helping someone in the store reach something on the top shelf. Sometimes the thing that makes me feel the best is reaching out to someone else that is struggling, shooting a quick “I’m thinking of you!” text can make all the difference in both our worlds.
- Do a Horrible Task: Procrastination is often a cause of my anxiety, so what better way to alleviate that anxiety than to just get that horrible task out of the way. Fold the laundry! (Or whatever your nemesis is.) You and I both know that it’s super gratifying when you get to check that big scary thing off your to-do list.
- Talk to a Trusted Friend: For me this person is my mom. I know that no matter what I tell her she will still love me and stand by my side. Just make sure your person is someone that brings positivity to your life and doesn’t feed into drama.
- Keep a Journal: Journaling is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Write down all the good AND the bad, it’s like wiping your slate clean at the end of every day. Honestly, I’m not super consistent with this one but I do have a new goal to journal at least once a week.
- Listen to Music: Everyone one in the world has this in common, we all have some type of music that makes us happy. Feeling blue? Turn on some of your favorite tunes and let it sooth your soul! Side note: Music makes my “Horrible Task” much easier to get through. It can even be inspiring while you’re doing your “Creative Hobby”!
- Get Some Exercise: Let’s just be real, we are not all athletic, me especially. BUT there is something to be said about getting out and breathing that fresh air. Get some endorphins pumping and push through, whether it’s a leisurely walk or running a marathon you can count on feeling better when you are finished. Here in Arizona winter is the PERFECT hiking weather and I can’t get enough of it.
- Meditation/Breathing Exercises: This is not one that I personally practice on a regular basis but it probably should be. If you feel you are on the verge on a freak out try focusing on your breathing. Take big, deep, and even breaths to help steer away from hyperventilating. Bonus: You could easily pair this with yoga and get some exercise at the same time!
- Stay Off of Social Media: Facebook and Instagram are great tools for keeping in touch with friends from all over, but it can be pretty harmful to your mental health as well. I know that there are times that I hop on Facebook “just for a minute” then before I know it I have been scrolling for an hour! Nothing makes me feel worse than knowing I just wasted valuable time. We only get one life, don’t spend it watching others live theirs.
- Join A Community Event: This can be anything! Join a book club, do a color run, go to church or even volunteer. How often have you felt alone during a depression or anxiety phase? The good news is we aren’t alone! Join an event that makes you feel good and you can be proud of. My personal favorite is my neighborhood Bunco Night, lots of good food and laughs make me forget all about whatever was bringing my vibes down earlier.
Now I challenge you to find ways to help shake those depression and anxiety woes. You are welcome to use some of my ideas or come up with your own. The most important thing is keep putting POSITIVE vibes out there, not for the rest of the world to see, but for yourself.