Mental Health Monday, recovery, Uncategorized

Mental Health Mondays – Types of Outlets and Finding Yours


Happy Monday to you all!

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(Source)

Workout: 

Today was supposed to be a swim day… But after the long and late night that I had last night (there was a baptism at the restaurant I work in last night and let’s just say that it was the craziest and busiest night I have ever had), I decided that it would be best to silence my 6am alarm in favor of another hour or so of sleep.

So Insanity it was!

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My legs and arms are absolutely dead. The great thing about Insanity is that it is all plyometrics, which happens to be my favorite form of cross training! This workout in particular really works the arms, shoulders, and legs (hence the power and resistance in the name =P)… So I am counting it towards my goal to incorporate more strength training in my weekly workouts!

Speaking of those goals…

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You all know that I love my smoothie bowls, and the last couple of days I have incorporated greek yogurt into them to get some quality protein into my system!

I have to say, by adding the greek yogurt I have really been feeling fuller for longer. Plus it makes the consistency of the smoothie bowl a lot creamier! What I have been doing is sticking the greek yogurt into the freezer before my workout in the morning so that by the time I am ready to make my breakfast, it is slightly frosty but not frozen solid.

I also threw some blueberries into this bowl! Look at me changing things up! 😉

So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last Mental Health Monday post. Like I said in my first HMH post, it’s not meant to be a weekly series. I don’t want to put up posts on a topic that is so important to me just for the sake of getting one up each week. I both want and need to be able to put my heart and soul into these posts and I want them to be helpful.

That being said, today I want to talk about different types of positive outlets and how to find the one that is best for you!

So what is a positive outlet?

A positive outlet is, by my definition, an activity that is used as a way of coping with bad thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The point of having and utilizing these activities is to find healthy and productive ways of dealing with what would usually be a destructive and sometimes dangerous thought patterns.

An outlet can be anything from art to meditation to physical activity.

So where should I start?

I have found, from experience with multiple therapists and doctors, that when one is told to find an outlet… He or she is normally told what to do instead of being given different options.

“Listen to this motivational CD each night while you fall asleep.”

“Meditate.”

“Write it down.”

And trust me, I have tried it all.

And guess what?

None of it worked.

And why?

Because none of those things are enjoyable to me.

So now what?

You find what’s best for you.

Trust me on this, if you hate mediation, then you are doing yourself absolutely no favors by forcing yourself to mediate simply because it’s “the way” to cope with bad thoughts.

Honestly, by forcing yourself to partake in certain conventional coping mechanisms that you hate you will, more likely than not, just create more anxiety within yourself.

And how is that productive?

It’s not.

Now, obviously I don’t know what positive outlet is best for you, nor do I know every single type of outlet on the planet. In fact, no one does. The possibilities are endless! For a positive outlet to be successful in helping you cope, it needs to be individualized for you and your interests and needs!

That being said, I want to share some of my favorite outlets with you to give you somewhere to start. I also want to give examples of different outlets that may cater to different types of people.

So here we go.

For The Creative Type:

1. Write out your feelings… Buy yourself a nice notebooks (I find that having a cute notebook makes me happy and more likely to actually write things down) and write down your thoughts and feelings. This is the most basic form of an outlet. You get to get your feelings out without actually having to tell your deep dark secrets and less-than-cheerful thoughts to an actual person.

2. Write a blog. Now, it’s not normally ideal to spill all of your dark thoughts out on the internet. I mean, that’s as public as it gets. That being said, I know from personal experience that venting on a blog makes me feel  better than just writing in a notebook would because I feel like people  are actually listening even if they’re not. 

A good option as far as what I’ve decided to call diary-blogging goes is to create a blog (Tumblr is great for casual venting) and keep it anonymous. Just write your thoughts and feelings, but leave out any personal feelings. This way, there’s no worrying about someone you know seeing all of your deep dark thoughts.

3. Self help books. Find ones that interest you. My mom loves Wayne Dyer, I can’t get through a page of his books. I like more casually written, almost conversational types of self help books while others may prefer a more scholarly type. It’s all about finding what would be best for you.

4. Self help workbooks. I love these. Basically, they are activity books that cater to your specific needs whether your struggles are with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. I own this one and I absolutely love it because it focuses on healing through creativity. I have always been an artistic person, and I feel as though my struggles with my mental health have created a road block in my motivation to be creative. So this is a perfect way to get back into things while also bettering my mind! I truly do find it helpful and it’s fun for me so it’s a great outlet!

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For The Mental-Emotional Type:

While I know that the creative type and the mental-emotional type are normally lumped together as being one-in-the-same… But this is not always the case. 

1. Meditation. I know what you’re thinking, “How much more basic can you get?” But it’s important to remember that there is not just one way to meditate. You don’t need to just sit in a quiet room and reflect. Meditation comes in all different shapes and sizes and the only way that it will be helpful is if you find the type that you actually enjoy doing.

So some types…

– Guided meditation – there are all types of guided mediation. Some include visualization, while some focus mainly on times breathing. There is a huge selection of different types of guided mediation sessions on Youtube. There are also CDs that you can buy, but I would recommend the free alternatives until you find the type that is best for you.

– Personal meditation. This is just you, a quiet space, and your thoughts. This is where you attempt to calm your own mind, set intentions for the day, and focus your thoughts on positive ideas.

– Prayer. Basically the spiritual side of personal mediation. I know that prayer has gotten certain members of my family through some really really horrible times. It’s a great option if you are religious.

For The Physical Type:

Personally, exercise has always been my main outlet. I would seriously lose my mind without it. The goal when you using exercise as an outlet is to focus on light to moderate exercise in lieu of more intensive anaerobic or HIIT style workouts. It is no secret that it has been scientifically proven that exercise helps alleviate stress. However, this only applies when the exercise is light to moderate. While you may feel good after high intensity exercise, it actually acts as a stressor… So be wary! I’m not saying to never do high intensity exercise, but if you are trying to exercise away anxiety, it may not be your best option.

Some ideas/examples:

1. Running at an easy to moderate pace for a set period of time.

2. Swimming laps at an easy to moderate pace.

3. Horseback riding… This may sounds a bit odd, but I swear, the combination of the physical activity, your mind being challenged to maintain proper form on the horse (IMPORTANT!), and being around animals (though, if you’re not an animal fan I would assume that this wouldn’t be the best idea) makes equestrian one of the most peaceful and calming activities that I have ever participated in.

4. Dancing it out! … This is good for the body and the soul. How can you not smile while dancing around like a fool to your favorite music? Want to step it up a notch? Grab a wooden spoon or a hairbrush and pretend it’s a microphone while you are dancing and singing. I dare you to not smile while doing this =).

 

In Conclusion…

Obviously, I haven’t even covered a quarter of the possibilities for positive outlets… These are just a few tried and true methods to hopefully get yourself up and on the path to a healthier mind and a happier you.

Just remember that it is crucial that you find what is best for you. Hate running? Don’t do it! Do you have a passion for puppetry? Heck, go for it girl/dude!

This is your journey to happiness, and only you know what is best for you!

I hope you found this helpful, and I will talk to you all tomorrow =).

 

Question(s):

Do you have a positive outlet for when times get tough? What is it?

 

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3 thoughts on “Mental Health Mondays – Types of Outlets and Finding Yours

  1. Love your words about having a ‘positive outlet’ couldn’t agree more that it has to be something you enjoy or else what’s the point? My blog is a huge positive outlet for me, it lets me be creative and talk about how I feel at the same time. Love it 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! Blogging really is such a great outlet. I’m glad that you feel that way and thank you for sharing your thoughts =).

  2. Pingback: Mental Health Monday – Romanticizing Mental Illness and Introvert vs. Social Phobia |

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