DIY Therapy

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Space Nation Navigator

Many people like to be hands on. A quick internet search can bring instructions for just about any type of Do-It-Yourself project. DIY is everywhere. You can view a tutorial on how to build a tiny house, or instructions on making organic hair gel.

More people are choosing to do things on their own rather than seeking out the aid of a professional. In some cases, like building a green house or even doing simple plumbing, you can save some money and get an incredible sense of accomplishment from doing things with your own hands. In fact, we can take control in other areas of our lives, such as watching what we eat and exercising more. As for our mental health, there are many do it yourself practices that can keep you mentally healthy and happy for the long term. Here are some daily practices to increase your life satisfaction and that have serious science behind them:

Practice Gratitude

The habit of daily listing at least 3 things for which you are grateful has shown to increase a person?s happiness and life satisfaction exponentially! This is something anyone can do, and it does not require any specific coaching except for religiously expressing or writing down the three things for that day for which you are grateful. In fact, this can be a daily practice you create for your family and it fits in well with either doing it during dinner (if you are able to sit down as a family nightly) or prior to bed.

Breathing Practice

Despite all the focus on neurochemicals and medications, anxiety is something we can generally deal with on a small scale. When we become anxious, scared, nervous, we tend to increase our respiration and, at the same time, decrease the depth of respiration. It may seem we are breathing more but we are taking in less oxygen. Our brain reacts to this lack of oxygen by reacting as if we are under attack and our amygdala reacts with fight, flight or freeze. This reaction exacerbates our nervousness and turns butterflies into ninjas. We can bypass the brains reaction by making sure we breathe deeply and maintain good oxygen levels, so we can think clearly. When you begin to feel anxiety, nervousness or even butterflies, take three deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out slowly from your mouth. The result is nothing short of miraculous.

Shinrin Yoku- Forest Medicine

This is the Japanese term for ?forest bathing? or ?walking in the forest and taking in the atmosphere?. This idea of walking in the elements and allowing yourself to be present has many effects on the body, including lowering blood pressure and stress while increasing your body?s immune system, energy and mood. The good news is that you can also get the same effects from going to the beach.

Positive Self-Talk

No, it is not a sign of mental illness. Self-talk is a very effective way of keeping yourself calm and present. People who self-talk tend to demonstrate more self confidence and show fewer signs of mood issues and anxiety. Of course, how we talk to ourselves is important. We are used to having a little voice in our head tell us we will screw up or catastrophize any situation.

However, with positive self-talk, we can combat this inner voice and be louder, make more sense and ultimately decide the attitude with which we address a given situation.

There are a multitude of other self-therapy DIY habits we can do. Doing one or all of them are a positive step in the right direction regarding your mental health. However, when it comes to serious issues with our physical and mental health, we should always defer to the professionals. Either way, you need to be your priority, and your health, either physical or mental, is in your hands.

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