Managing Your Mental Health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health
Feeling sick and don’t know why? Taking medicine to no avail? Well your emotions may be negatively impacting your physical health and maintenance. Your body often reacts to the way you feel, the “mind/body connection”. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or upset your body feels it too. This emotional stress could result in back pain, chest pain, headaches, exasperated tiredness, upset stomach, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and a lack of physical activity. Simple and effective ways to avoid these effects can be through meditation, guided imagery, breathing exercises, and yoga.
- Meditation is the art of quieting your body and mind by focusing on one thing or object at a time. The most important component of meditation is learning to gently re-focus yourself when your mind has drifted away. Meditation can be accomplished simply by walking, drawing, paddling a kayak, or through other repetitive movements.
Why you should meditate
- There are countless benefits associated with meditating, such as an increase in productivity, lessened depression, increase in self-esteem, alertness, and contentment, as well as reduced levels of stress.
- If you feel as though that you are ill-equipped to start meditation on your own here are a few resources offered by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and Gaiam Life, to help you start your journey.
- SU provides several meditation options through the Student Buddhist Association, the Zen Center of Syracuse, the Buddhist Campus Ministry, the Stress-Reduction Room in the Office of Health Promotions, and the Falk Meditation Room.
- Guided imagery is a powerful yet peaceful technique that leads your imagination in proactive and positive ways.
- There are 8 different types of guided imagery, feeling state imagery, end state imagery, energetic imagery, cellular imagery, physiological imagery, metaphoric imagery, psychological imagery, and spiritual imagery. Each of these different categories utilize your entire body, all of your senses, and all of your emotions to stimulate calm and relaxation in their own way.
- Here are some resources from the University of Houston Clear Lake Counseling Center with several different guided imagery visualizations and techniques.
- Implementing breathing techniques into your daily routine will keep your mind and body functioning at its best. It does this through lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, which promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Breathing techniques are quite simple, start by
- Finding a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit or lie down where no one will bother you for a while.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your back straight.
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place.
- Take a couple of “cleansing breaths” (breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth).
- Inhale slowly. This should take about 10 seconds. (You can count in your head to 10) so that your lower abdomen slowly rises as your lungs fill with air. Now, exhale slowly for another 10 seconds, and feel your lower abdomen slowly fall.
- Try to get into a routine and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes each day. Practicing helps you get into a routine so you can use deep breathing whenever you feel the need to relax or calm down.
- Yoga is not just complicated poses and chanting; it is much more than that. Yoga is a means to synchronize the body and the mind through various breathing techniques, yoga postures and meditation. Not only does yoga increase your strength and flexibility, it also introduces you to peace and tranquility through focused training. Yoga is also known relieve stress, unclutter your mind and help you to refocus.
- Like the other practices listed above, yoga can too be practiced in the comfort of your own home. Here is a link to a few simple and easy yoga routines.
- Here at SU, there are an array of different yoga classes offered that you can join for credit! You can find a description of these classes on the registrar’s website and add them to your schedule through MySlice.
If you’re having difficulty managing your mental health on your own and do not find these resources helpful, you can always make an appointment at the counseling center, join a group therapy class, or talk to a medical provider at Health Services.
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