In this podcast (episode #342) and blog, I discuss two great ways you soothe and calm the mind and brain and build up your mental resilience.
When it comes to our mental health, we want to be proactive. We want to build up the resilience of our minds so that, in the moment, we have an “insurance policy” to fall back on.
Of course, we all need to get to the root of our fears, stressors and anxieties, as I discuss in my podcasts, blogs, and books. But often we forget that we need to calm down before we can use mind management to self-regulate and reconceptualize what we think, believe and do. This is where good calming strategies can be incredibly useful. In the moment, they help soothe the mind, brain and body, so that we are in a better state (both mentally and physically) to manage and deal with our fears and anxieties in the long term—so that we are in a better state to find healing!
One of the best calming “insurance policies” you can put in place is making a habit to do something you enjoy every day. Be disciplined, deliberate and intentional. Don’t see this as a waste of time. See this activity as something that is good for you, a way to build resilience into your brain that will help you when times get tough.
When we do something we find pleasurable, we essentially take back control over our minds, brains and bodies. This process boosts our psychoneurobiology, which is the way our mind, brain and body connect and work together. Enjoying life can make our minds and brains stronger and change our gene expression!
Some ways you can start doing this are:
- Listening to your favorite music—really focus and pay attention to it. Let it wash over you.
- Read/reread your favorite fictional books! This is a great way to get absorbed in the enjoyment of the moment and let your imagination run loose.
- Go for walks with your loved ones or pets. Immerse yourself in the pleasure of nature—the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the outside. This is a great way to improve your mental health and calm the mind and brain.
- Plan a game night/dinner with friends and family. Really immerse yourself in the activity of sharing food and fun times with your loved ones. The meaningful connections that come from enjoying time with family and friends increases our social connectedness and sense of wellbeing, while decreasing negative feelings and social biases. It can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism for the future!
- Laugh—this is so great for your mental health!
Another great way to calm the mind and build up your mental resilience is by being kind to YOURSELF and OTHERS. Kindness is a powerful weapon. As I discussed in a recent podcast and blog, kindness makes the world a better and safer place for everyone, AND is a great way to improve intelligence and brain health!
The brain functions best with a flexible, dynamic balance between specialized, locally segregated activity, and more generalized global integration. Too much segregation or excessive integration can lead to suboptimal functioning. What does all this science mean? Research has shown that training yourself to be more kind, to both yourself and others, can increase your positive emotions, sense of social connectedness and pro-social behaviors, while decreasing your negative feelings, stress and social biases. All of this can improve your brain integration, balance and health. Kindness to yourself and others is anti-chaos!
Every day, practice being kind to yourself and to others. What do you say and think about yourself? Do you need to work on your inner critic? How do you treat others? How can you inject a little more kindness into your day? This can be something as simple as smiling at yourself in the mirror and/or celebrating when you succeed at something, or complimenting someone else when they do something good.
For more on ways to calm the mind and brain, listen to my podcast (episode #342). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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1:30 Strategies to help soothe & calm the mind
2:00, 10:00 What is mental resilience?
4:00 What is fear & how does it affect us? Can we learn how to manage our fear in the moment?
7:50 The relationship between our mind & our genes
12:00 Exercises to build up your mental resilience
14:00 The mental power of enjoying life
22:00, 25:30 Why we all need to be kinder—to ourselves & others
26:20 Kindness & the inner critic
This podcast and blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.