Continuing on with our quest to suggest ways to calm the mind, part 2 has a further five winning ways.
Healthy eating and hydration
Boost your mood with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Even people battling tough-to-treat depression may feel as much as 50% better when they get lots of DHA. In addition, folate (a B vitamin) and found in spinach is great for making serotonin to make you feel good and help ease depression. The optimum serving is 2 cups of cooked spinach. Here are some ways to add spinach to your diet: Add a 10-ounce packet of frozen chopped spinach to soups, stews and casseroles; use spinach instead of lettuce in sandwiches and wraps; whip steamed chopped spinach into mashed potatoes; or pile your plate high with fresh baby spinach leaves, and top it off with a grilled chicken breast or broiled salmon fillet (another great source of DHA). As far as hydration is concerned, if you are marginally dehydrated, certain pressure and volume sensors (baroceptors) cause an increase in the tone of the sympathetic, fight-or-flight nervous system, along with a cascade of hormones that aim to retain fluid; unfortunately these same hormones contribute to the “stress response”. Keeping well-hydrated avoids this increased stress bias in the autonomic nervous system. Proper hydration makes people “feel better” – because of a decreased “stress-bias” in their autonomic nervous system. This same system has a large influence on how all the organs and tissues function. So this means that mandatory 8 glasses of pure, filtered water every day.
2. This is such a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise, helping to alleviate stress. You can let your mind wander, focusing on nothing but the rhythm of your stroke, helping you gain a feeling of well-being so that you leave the water refreshed and ready to go on with the rest of your day. Swimming is so relaxing because it allows more oxygen to flow to your muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing. A pleasant side effect is the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. Apart from the metaphysical benefits of swimming, research has shown that it can actually change the brain for the better through a process, known as hippocampal neurogenesis
, in which the brain replaces cells lost through stress.
Making more social contacts
If you can make contact with those friends who perhaps you have lost touch with, this can have far reaching benefits for your mental health especially if they are positive friends with good vibes. Ditch any negative one who will not help the situation. Equally important is the necessity for keeping in touch with family and friends even if they are far away. Modern technology has made this easier than ever with emails, social media, phone calls and video chats. Volunteering to do caring work for others who are less fortunate can be another way to find more purpose in your own life and calm the mind.
Owning a pet
This can be a wonderful way to lower stress levels in people but only if they are able to care for a pet properly and of course have a genuine love for animals. Many people enjoy the unconditional love they receive from a pet and gain so much from being responsible for the well being of someone who depends on them.
We all need regular breaks from the humdrum of daily work and chores. If you can get away for a long weekend or ideally, a vacation, you can return refreshed and rejuvenated with a much calmer mind. Whether the source of your stress is at work or at home, plan time away even if it is only a hour or two a week. Make use of those lunch breaks at work to get away from the office. At home, learn to replace unnecessary time-consuming chores with pleasurable or interesting activities. Make time for recreation – this is essential to your peace of mind as paying bills or other admin tasks.
If your mind is not as peaceful and as calm as it should be, suggestions could help you feel better and more equipped to face the world.