Wellness Apps!

If you find yourself attached to your phone and technology, as many of us do, it may take a lot of work to keep a physical paper journal or mindfulness tracker. I’ve bought a few wellness journals in my life and attempted to write in them daily, only to forget they exist a month later. So, instead of separating technology from my wellness, I started using various wellness apps! Apps make it super easy to integrate mindfulness and good skills into your everyday life if you are a natural techie! Here are some examples:

  • Headspace – This app holds a lot of things, ranging from meditation to stress management! They have meditation guides, breathing exercises, bedtime stories (for both kids and adults!), life advice, and self-care tips! Unfortunately, you have to pay for this app, with it being $12.99 per month (or $5.83 per month if you bill annually).
  • Smiling Mind – This app, on the other hand, is free! They have daily meditation exercises, with programs both for youth and adults. Their app addresses sleep, stress, relationships, well-being, and much more. You can even attach your Google Home to it!

Next time you feel like you want to mindlessly be on your phone, try to turn that urge into a short 10-minute meditation session!

Positive Podcasts!

Sometimes it can be challenging for people who are auditory learners to sit down and read a book. I find myself mindlessly staring at the pages, sometimes reading a page multiple times just to retain the information. This is where podcasts can be a great resource! Plus, there are a TON dedicated to learning about psychology! Dr. Chris Bogart, a licensed clinical psychologist from Connecticut, recommended these podcasts in a recent talk, “The Upsides of Stress”:

  • Tiny Buddha
  • The Positive Psychology Podcast
  • The Anxiety Podcast

For far more options that aren’t necessarily about wellness, Audible is an excellent audiobook resource, and Apple Podcasts has so many shows to choose from!

Serving Up Happiness for Breakfast!

A lot of the time we may feel rushed out the door in the morning to get on with our days, not being able to enjoy a nice healthy breakfast. We may feel tired easily and lose steam as the day progresses without this first initial boost of energy. According to a study of medical students, eating breakfast was significantly correlated to increases in measurements of happiness. This can have many implications. For one, being able to slow down and take time for yourself to eat a meal in the morning may give us some time to gather our thoughts and make sure that we feel mentally prepared to take on our day. In having this time to be mindful of how we are feeling before our busy schedules, it may clear our heads to take on whatever we need to. There is also the energy aspect of breakfast. Eating a hardy meal to start the day can give us the necessary energy to have that initial umph in the morning. So, try waking up a little bit earlier to make some breakfast for yourself. Try to be present while you eat and focus on your own mind in preparation for the day. It may give you a nice morning burst of energy and happiness!

Wash Away Bad Moods with Water!

We have all been told to make sure to drink plenty of water each day to maintain our physical health. And this makes sense when you consider that drinking water aids with digestion and joint movements, helps maintain internal circulation, and also allows your body to absorb much needed nutrients from food easier. What some may not know is that there are implications that drinking water can impact our mental health as well. In a study of 120 women, researchers had found that lower water intake was correlated to greater tension, depression and confusion. When replicated using men, they found similar results. These implications allude that increasing your water intake may be beneficial for your overall mental health, and that by staying clear from dehydration, drinking enough water every day can have positive influences on our moods. If you find that you are not drinking enough water, try keeping a water bottle close to you throughout the day or set alarms to remind yourself to intake water. Not only will this help physically, but it may assist in mental health and well-being as well!

Try Something New!

Trying new things can be challenging, and most of the time the idea of doing something completely new can be intimidating. Yet, getting out of our comfort zone and exploring new and exciting topics we are interested in or activities we have not done before can improve our happiness in a variety of ways. For starters, engaging in something different can add some fun and excitement to our life as we channel our curiosity to find a new interest or hobby. As we continue to engage in this new activity, it can also boost our confidence in our abilities to achieve something, can give a sense of accomplishment and hope, as well as open up the possibility to meet people that share similar interests, further giving us social satisfaction and pleasure. In  other words, trying something new enhances our happiness! Just like anything new, however, some things may take some time to get better at, and it is important that we are patient as we continue the process of trying new things. Instead of getting frustrated, try remembering that some activities will just take time to master, and it is this process that we acquire confidence in ourselves and a sense of accomplishment. So, go out and try something new, be patient, and stick with it! It may just be a nice boost of happiness you deserve!

Nap Away!

Sometimes life just tuckers us out. It may seem that we have to always be on the go or get something done, however, it can be beneficial to slow down occasionally and even take a quick little nap! Napping has been linked physically and mentally to increases in energy, increases in productivity, increases in relaxation, decreases in stress and decreases in depressive moods. Being able to take a break from life and nap can be a great tool to relax and benefit your mental and physical health as you navigate your busy lives. It can serve as a way to temporarily take a step back from all the stressors in your life and get a little boost on your day to allow you to go through it the best that you can. The important thing to remember with naps, however, is that you have to be careful about when you time them. Too close to night or morning may disrupt your circadian rhythm so think about taking a nap during the day when you need a quick little revive!

The Wonders of Nature!

From taking a quick break by strolling around your neighborhood, to exploring mountains through hikes and adventures, research shows that being around nature may be beneficial for our overall moods and well-being. Being surrounded by nature has been connected to lower stress, approved attention, increase in mood, and increases in empathy as well as cooperation. With these cognitive and emotional benefits, getting outside and exploring nature could be a beneficial tool in taking a break from our stressful and action filled lives. Furthermore, in one study, they found that those who were exposed to nature performed better on cognitively demanding tasks than those who did not, pointing to nature being a healthy tool for productivity as well. With this being said, try going outside whenever you feel down and connect to nature. It may boost your mood and make you more efficient in the work that you do on a daily basis.

Sing Away Bad Moods!

Sometimes when we are driving on the highway, walking around, or just relaxing outside, we may seem to have a song pop in our heads wanting to come out in the form of singing! Now singing is not everyones’ cup of tea, however, singing has been associated with many feel good factors that make singing a great tool for alleviating stress and boosting our moods. Similarly to how exercise boosts the flow of our endorphins and therefore our  hormones that make us feel happy, singing works in the same way; singing enhances the flow of dopamine which enhances the flow of feeling good! Furthermore, singing has also been associated with increases in oxytocin that helps us alleviate our anxiety and even enhances our trust. So, if you do seem to have that one song that wants to come out, let it out! Singing may be a healthy tool to boost your mood throughout the day.

Color the Stress Away!

Many of us think coloring is a child’s activity, but it truly is for everyone! There are numerous benefits to coloring! The intense but calming focus that comes from coloring can quiet your mind and put you in a meditative state. Studies have found that coloring for 20 minutes or more can also reduce your anxiety and improve your mood. Various parts of your brain are working, so your brain’s function and motor skills can improve! Along with this, your sleep can improve if you color before you go to sleep. Rather than scrolling on your phone, and exposing your eyes to blue light, try coloring instead! You’ll still be engaged in an activity while improving your sleep health. If you need some noise, you can put on some music too! And you don’t have to use some Disney coloring book; there are plenty of coloring books specifically for adults! Here’s one example! Some are more nature-based, some mandalas, etc. There’s truly something for everyone!

Benefits of Reading About Adventure!

You don’t always have to read books on mindfulness to increase your overall happiness and life satisfaction. Reading others’ stories can give people insight and expand their horizons. A study in 2012 found that those who read about someone else’s “awe-inspiring” story had decreased stress, increased satisfaction, and volunteered more often! So, pick up an adventure book next time you are at the library. Here are some personal favorites: 

  • Tracks by Robyn Davidson
  • Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road by Neil Peart
  • Tuk-Tuk To The Road by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
  • Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel 

Happy reading!


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