Too many of us are focused on our physical health without paying much attention to our mental health until it’s too late. Have you found yourself on the breaking point due to stress or sleep deprivation, suffering from depression or anxiety? The traditional answer may be drugs or psychological therapy, but believe it or not, there are fun and inexpensive ways to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and build a stronger mental foundation.
In this article we’ll give you ideas for games and activities appropriate for any age group or physical ability. Much like your physical health, strong mental health comes from regular maintenance, so finding plenty of time on your schedule for activities like these is essential.
Coloring Books For The Adults
Adult coloring books are flying off the shelves right now, and for good reason, as more of us find ourselves overworked and overstimulated every day. For comfort we seek something nostalgic, rewarding, and most of all, unplugged. Nothing fits the bill better than patiently and precisely coloring between the lines of beautiful images.
This activity is particularly helpful because it requires a very high focus without being mentally intensive. Coloring allows you to take your mind off negative things, and shift your thoughts instead to pleasant colors and flowing shapes. Better yet, it requires very little intrinsic artistic ability.
Sudoku – The Brain Game
We all know someone who’s always got an open Sudoku book and a pencil (or a pen, if they’re serious!) out on the table during lunch. Have you ever wondered what could make a game so addictive? Games like Sudoku, which take some time to learn and mental acuity to succeed with, have been shown over and over again to stimulate synapses, improve memory, and reduces stress.
Sudoku is technically just a logic game, and there are plenty other options to choose from. Crosswords, mastermind, and even falling block video games are all examples of logic games which encourage abstract thinking to solve problems.
Bingo – The Game of Luck
Bingo may have a bad reputation with some people as being a boring, “old-people” game, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bingo is relaxing, engaging, and rewarding – the perfect recipe for stress relief.
One of the best approaches to reducing negative mental stress is to focus your attention elsewhere. When there’s a personal or professional problem, it’s often more helpful to engage in something else, letting the stressful thought process “rest” just like you would a rest muscle group while working out.
Bingo meets this requirement with the added benefit of socialization, a factor that keeps Bingo halls full around the world. Whether you play online or in real life, making friends and socializing is a big part of what makes Bingo so fun and rewarding.
Massage For The Good Feel
Massages feel great, but they’re also good for our mental health as well. Studies have shown that massage can decrease feelings of anxiety and stress, and can restore your body after the effects of stress.
Additionally, massage can help you overcome troubled sleep and even insomnia. Even those with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, heart disease, and cerebral palsy have found solace in massage to help them sleep. Sleep deprivation can be the cause of both mental and physical problems, so getting enough is essential to finding balance in your life.
Aromatherapy – The Good Smell
Believe it or not, something as simple as a pleasant odor can reduce stresses and improves one’s ability to sleep. It may sound like new age quackery at first, but science supports the fact that certain scents can alter our mood, for better and worse.
The best scents to use when trying to reduce stress (perhaps in addition to one of the other activities on this list) are: ylang ylang, sandalwood, lavender, chamomile, and frankincense.
Time to relax!
Did any of the activities on this list strike your fancy? Everyone should have something to look forward to in their day, whether it’s sitting down with a coloring book or relaxing with friends at the Bingo hall. Your body and mind will thank you.
Featured photo credit: Rock Climbing Can Boost Your Mental Health via lifehack.org