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5 Fun Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

5 Fun Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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