Mental Health Day 2020: Three ways to find calm in under three minutes

How to go from overwhelm to zen

Sonali Shenoy Published :  10th October 2020 08:15 PM   |   Published :   |  10th October 2020 08:15 PM

Boyfriend dumped you. 


Boss bumped you.


And perhaps meeting either of them in person - would make you selfish because your parents fall under the high risk category for COVID!


Whatever your problems during this crazy year - big, small, very big, miniscule - know this: your feelings are valid. Simply, because they are yours. 


Yes, talking to a friend could help. Therapists can make a world of difference. A routine can give your day structure. And good habits like drinking eight glasses of water, exercising and eating clean - no doubt will put your body in a healthier place.  


But every one of the above starts with a thought. 


And if all thoughts come from your mind, then ensuring your mind is healthy and nourished should be priority number uno. The fact that we have a day dedicated to mental health (October 10) - is a timely reminder to take yours, seriously.


In the midst of a global pandemic, here is a silver lining. You can build pockets of calm into your everyday - without ever leaving the house. 


Here's a speedy list to take you from overwhelm to zen in a matter of minutes:


1. Water wonderful world: One of the most calming sounds is the soft crashing of waves by the beach or the pitter patter of raindrops. And you can access both with a simple search on YouTube or Spotify. Play on headphones or just as an ambient soundscape as you wind down for the night to feel relaxed and at ease.


2. Call me by my name: A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists has found that verbalizing the name of the feeling that is causing you distress can help make it less intense. An effective way to try this would be to take a deep breath and on the exhale, say out loud: 'Anger.' Do this a few more times, and see if it helps you feel better. You can take this one step further, and on the fourth exhale, name a feeling that you would like to feel, like 'Relieved.' Do this a few more times, and according to the study - the exercise increases activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain associated with processing emotion.


3. LOL-ing in the deep: Whether you can't enough of that last Danish Sait video on Instagram or you find yourself bingeing on old reruns of FRIENDS - don't underestimate the healing effects of a good, big ol' laugh. Press pause on your problem. And turn the volume up for a soul-filling session of giggles. Not only does laughter reduce stress, but it also has a range of reported health benefits - including boosting your immunity!

Photo credit: Allef Vinicius on Unsplash