It’s World Mental Health Day.
According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in the U.K., 86% of respondents to a Money and Mental Health survey of nearly 5,500 people with experience of mental health problems said that “their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.”
The major culprit of worry? Debt. (If you want an easy way to tackle debts, click below.)
And people experiencing mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in major debt than people without mental health problems.
It’s a vicious cycle.
The reason I am a financial wellness mentor at ImagineLA, a not-for-profit organization whose vision is to end the cycle of family poverty and homelessness, is to change the above. One of my mentees successfully "recovered" from mental illness, and she's one of the rare people I know who no longer needs her meds.
A relative I know suffered from mental health. I wrote about her story in this blog post. (If you're someone who is extremely sensitive, don't read it. It's a very sad story.)
I don’t propose to have any answers, however, I am very committed to learning all I can about mental health. I just graduated from a trauma-informed program, and I do believe that having a therapist or a trauma-informed coach can help support your mental well-being.
I also have a few suggestions on how to worry less about your financial situation because worrying creates more stress and anxiety, which leads to other issues. (If you want to read a more spiritual take, here's a past blog post titled Do Not Worry...)
Now, our minds tend to worry about the things we don’t know. If you don’t know where to start, I created a quiz to give you next steps, based on you and how you operate.
Now, since the fear of the unknown is a real thing, in order to worry less, it’s important to understand your situation and have a plan. Start writing down what’s coming in, what’s going out, and what do you want. Since debt is the #1 concern causing most people to worry, I’ve created a guide to help you pay off your debts in a way that’s easy and doesn’t require you to sacrifice your life.
Finally, create a plan either with a financial planner, coach like me, or you can do research and put one together yourself. The more we understand the path we’re on, the more the mind will calm down.
Below are some grounding and somatic resources to help you, on a day to day basis (not when you're in major crisis)....
Grounding and Somatic Resources
Below are a few ways to regulate yourself when you're either down or when you're hyper anxious. These are great to put into practice before you even need them.
When you’re feeling really low energy, lethargic and apathetic, here are Grounding Methods to bring you out of it:
- cold immersion therapy
- hot/cold contrast therapy
- high intensity movement in nature like hiking a mountain
- open eye focused based meditation
- getting into the sun
- fight training like boxing, taekwondo or kickboxing.
Somatic Methods include:
- physical movement like ecstatic dancing, exercising, yoga, running and boxing
- listening to music that reminds you of a pleasant memory
- drinking cold or cool liquids
- eating fresh, cool foods like fruits and salads
- light therapy
- splashing cold water on your face
- singing an upbeat song
- bouncing on a trampoline or therapy ball
- lifting weights
- laugh therapy
- using the five senses - touch, smell, taste, hear, see
When you’re feeling anxious or revved up and you need to come down, here are some ways to Ground down:
- Put your bare feet in the grass, beach sand or dirt
- Being in nature
- Being near running, flowing or moving water
- Laying on the floor
- Taking a bath
- Steam Room
- Mindfulness practice - list 5 objects in your environment and then give them 5 characteristics or squeeze your fingers and count to 100 with each squeeze
- Float Tanks
- Holding a stuffed animal
Somatic Resources to bring down anxiety or nervous energy:
- Using the 5 senses (see, hear, taste, smell, touch)
- Laying on the floor and scan your body just noticing anything that comes up
- Breathing practice to engage parasympathetic responses like 4-7-8 or box breathing
- Placing one hand on your head or lower abdomen and another hand on your heart
- Wrapping yourself up in a blanket
- Slow rhythmic dance
- Shaking (can be combined with breathwork and visualization)
- Calming music
- Drinking warm or hot liquids
- Eating warm foods
- Light therapy
- Resonance therapy (being with another)
- Giving yourself a hug - place both hands on opposite shoulders, crossing your arms in front of you. Apply gentle pressure to your shoulders, then move them down your biceps slowly until you come to your elbow, then repeat.
- Deep breathing - Breathe deeply through the belly to the base of the body, triggers the vagus nerve and rinses the body clean of cortisol and other stress hormones
- Flossing (Yes the kind that involves a string and your teeth! It opens up the jaw, which is where we tend to hold a lot of tension.)
- EFT (Tapping)
- Tongue Breathing - Make a fruit roll-up with your tongue. Breathe in for a count of 4, bring bringing your tongue in after the last count, then breathe out through the nose for a count of 8.
- Floating in a pool/the ocean
- Getting a pedicure/manicure
- Swinging/Rocking/Swaying gentle movement
- Stretching your neck and lengthening your spine
- Twirling your hair
- Holding hands with someone
- Using a heating pad
- Rubbing your temples or inside of your wrists
- Singing along with calming music
- Sounding with basic vowel or sounds
Creative activities are also great way to calm yourself down, without just telling yourself to do so. Things like drawing, creative writing, pottery, playing a musical instrument are all wonderful ways to get yourself to redirect intense energy.
I’m excited for you to try some of these and let me know what works for you! Write down the ones you love and put them somewhere easily accessible, so the next time you feel anxiety or you feel down, you have resources to go to.
With Love & Gratitude,