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8 activities that are as good for your mental health as meditation

Published on:5 August 2020, 19:05pm IST
Meditation is a workout for the mind. But if you feel that it is not your cup of tea, then try these activities instead which are just as good.
Chetna Pattnaik
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Just because you can’t meditate, doesn’t mean you can reap its benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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To take care of yourself means to take care of both your body and your mind. While we are often successful in tracking the signs of pain, wear and tear that our body shows, most of us usually forget to listen to what the mind has to say. 

Now we know that meditation is a workout for the mind as it relaxes our nerves and helps us filter our thoughts and understand them better. We also know that meditation takes time to master and needs a certain degree of focus and control over your thoughts. In fact, there are a number of reasons why not everyone is inclined to meditate. 

But here’s the catch. There are a number of activities that are as good for your mental health as meditation. Here are a few to begin with: 

How to boost your mental health
Meditation can truly become the vessel through which you experience peace and clarity. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

1. Reading
Taking the time to read is a great way to feel calm. It is important to pick a genre that speaks to you the most, and let the words do the magic. Reading has a relaxing effect on the mind as it encourages you to remove yourself from your state of mind and insert yourself in a story.

2. Listening to music
Tuning in to music is perhaps one of the most relaxing things to do. Music is perceived as a compelling remedy for various emotional and physical well-being conditions. In fact, it is widely utilized to assist patients with anxiety. “One of the principal things that happens when music enters our cerebrums is that it discharges dopamine and activites a synapse that causes you to feel upbeat,” says Delhi-based psychologist Dr. Bhavna Barmi.

How to boost your mental health
Music mantra works for your heart. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Adult colouring books
For all those who suffer from anxiety, adult colouring books can offer relief from feelings of stress and tension. You see, the intricacy in the patterns demand a heightened level of attention from your end. The repetitive motion of colouring can help calm you down, offering a therapeutic window out of the bustle of your everyday life.

4. Taking trips with friends
On a bad day, when you are feeling mentally or emotionally low, spending quality time with good friends can prove to be healing. To plan an outing not only demands your attention but also gives you something positive to look forward to. This could be something as basic as a weekend getaway or a day out, but it would definitely draw your mind off from your worries and make you appreciate the little things in life.

How to boost your mental health
Even small outings with friends can make you feel a lot better. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Being in nature
While we have known forever that stepping out and engaging with nature offers an influx of both fresh air in the body and fresh thoughts in the mind, researchers at Stanford have proven that it boosts happiness and lowers the risk of depression.
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the study stated that 90 minutes in a natural area decreases activity in the region of the brain associated with depression.

How to boost your mental health
Staying connected with nature means staying connected to yourself. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

6. Social media detox sessions
In the midst of the modern-day technological frenzy, you need time away from social media, to process all that is going on around you. While social media is a great platform to connect and express, it comes with its own share of pretentiousness, hate speech, and negativity. So, if you can try and keep away from it once in a while, maybe for a day and do something productive on your own, it is said to make you feel great about yourself and even more aware of your being.

How to boost your mental health
Learn how to strike a balance between your real and virtual life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Activities that allow you to express yourself
Taking up hobbies like dancing, acting and writing not only engages your focus in the activity you perform but also has multifold benefits. Indulging in a form of self-expression enables you to understand your thoughts better and have your feelings at the surface at most points of time rather than bottling them up.

They help you become more accepting and expressive of your thoughts and at the same time, allow you to interact with more and more people in the field with varied backgrounds and stories, thus also providing you with a sense of belongingness.

8. Mind-body exercises
Mind-body exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are very relaxing, since they target a body-mind synchronization and harmony. They serve as effective ways of dealing with anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Not only that but they also help you sleep better which is quintessential to provide your brain with the much needed rest and time to rejuvenate.

Chetna Pattnaik Chetna Pattnaik

Understanding fitness the hard way, Chetna has finally learnt to strike a balance between her protein shake and her beer and making room for her writing desk and her gym at the same time.