January 2017: Mind, Mood & Body Matters

Health Beginning Today



 I've been a healthcare practitioner, in some form, for most of my life. I love the one-on-one relationships I have with people, but I recently thought to myself "How can I encourage and inspire folks who can't make it to therapy?" So, this newsletter was born. In each issue I'll share my latest tips, useful information, and encouragement about all things mental-health related. We'll also have a little fun. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it all together!    

 "So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life's a great balancing act." - Dr. Seuss

I've always admired Dr. Seuss for how he managed to squeeze meaning into so few lines. His books were made for children, but hold so much value for adults! They make you think, they teach you something new, and they make you smile, just by being so wacky.

 But seriously, life is a great balancing act. It's full of opportunities, surprises, challenges, and joys - and you never know what's up next. Humans tend to pay less attention to the good in our lives. We often see unpleasantness as truth, and take our joys for granted. We become moody, irritated, angry, anxious, perplexed; the list goes on!

7 Ways to Boost your Mood in the next few Minutes

Most people start a new year with lofty resolutions. What are yours for 2017? 
Now, think back: What were they for 2016? 

Did you follow through with them?

I know I barely made it to March with my resolutions intact: I vowed to lose weight, sleep and exercise more, eat less ice cream, and spend more time with family. 

Did I really? Yes and No. Yes, I started out determined. No, I slacked off but didn't completely quit. There was always something else that required my attention. I decided that all of my resolutions were great but I felt overwhelmed by their sheer numbers! By the middle of the year, I was discouraged and didn’t want to continue. What’s to be done?
I decided to start with small steps, and then use those small victories to propel me to bigger goals and resolutions. This year, let’s start with improved mood and self-empowerment! Here's a list of 7 small steps you can take to get you started on your goals, right now: 

  1. Close your eyes. Visualize a time you were truly content or joyful. Where are you? Who's nearby? What does it smell and feel like? Use as many senses as possible to paint a clear picture.
  2. Write down 5 things you are grateful for today. I suggest doing this first thing in the morning, or right before going to bed - this clears away all the day's distractions.
  3. Play your favorite song on the stereo or in your headphones.
  4. Dance! This is just as fun by yourself or with a partner.
  5. Stand up, set a timer on your phone for 30 seconds, and do a quick exercise: jog in place, do jumping jacks, or even hold a plank! You'll feel energized and surprised that a fast detour can make such a difference.
  6. If you start feeling overwhelmed by your day, do one of my favorite breathing exercises: sit upright in your chair with your hands on your knees in a relaxed position. Breathe in slowly and count to three. Hold your breath and count to three. Then breathe out slowly and count to three again. 3-3-3! This simple exercise can calm you down in just a few short rounds.
  7. I'm sure you've got a long to-do list! Pick one small, easy thing that you can complete today. Now, DO IT! Doesn't that feel great?

I hope you enjoyed reading the inaugural edition of Your Mind, Mood, and Body Matters. 

If you liked it, send it to your friends! If you have feedback, email me! 

If you're curious about that gorgeous flower at the top of the letter, it's a Tuscawilla Tigress, a variant of my favorite flower, the day lily!

Until next time, breathe slowly, and be mindful!