Categories
Self Help

7 Throwback Songs to Lighten Your Spirits

Ah, the magic of music!

Music therapy has proven to have great benefits for several mental health conditions, including depression, trauma, and schizophrenia. Music is a good medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief — and can also be used as a calming tool for anxiety or dysregulation.

A method called lyric analysis is one of the most commonly used music therapy interventions with those struggling with mental health. It is a less intimidating approach involving deeply understanding and analyzing lyrics to better process and describe emotions that are otherwise hard to explain. Uplifting music is also used to motivate listeners to apply its positive message to their obstacles in life! Here are some throwback songs you can try analyzing to lighten your spirits if you’re feeling down:

1. “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty

Memorable lines: “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell… I’m just a little impaired”

Why you should listen: There’s no reason to feel that no one will ever understand what you are going through. The lyrics perfectly describe what anyone with a mental illness is going through, so if you need something to make you feel less alone, this song is it.

Listen to “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty on Spotify

2. “Shake it out” by Florence + The Machine

Memorable lines: “And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back; so shake him off!”

Why you should listen: Many people with mental illness hide their issues because they feel they have conform to societal norms or avoid stigma. But bottling up your feelings can lead to worse consequences in the future. Instead, try to find healthy outlets to express yourself.

Listen to “Shake it out” by Florence + The Machine on Spotify

3. “Let it be” by The Beatles

Memorable lines: “There will be an answer, let it be!”

Why you should listen: Life goes on and that change is a part of that life. So when everything seems hopeless, remember that nothing lasts forever. Instead of worrying over the future, just focus on what you can be grateful for today.

Listen to “Let it Be” by The Beatles on Spotify

4. “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia

Memorable lines: You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium”

Why you should listen: When the going gets tough, it’s your mental strength that will get you through it. Cultivate habits that build positivity and resiliency so you can manage difficult situations better.

Listen to “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia on Spotify

5. “Flashlight” by Jessie J

Memorable lines: “I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight / You’re getting me, getting me through the night”

Why you should listen: No one can battle a mental illness alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help, surround yourself with supportive people, and avoid those who only add toxicity to your life.

Listen to “Flashlight” by Jessie J on Spotify

6. “Wounds” by Kid Cudi

Memorable lines: “When you cannot find the version of yourself you seek /
You should dig deep / I’ma sew these wounds myself”

Why you should listen: Wounds is a great song for people fighting depression. In the song, we hear questions why we doesn’t feel “whole”, but it’s also talks about acceptance and learning to heal.

Listen to “Wounds” by Kid Cudi on Spotify

7. “Firework” by Katy Perry

Memorable lines: “Cause baby you’re a firework / Come on show ’em what you’re worth / Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!” / As you shoot across the sky-y-y”

Why you should listen: You can be an inspiration to others, even if you are struggling with mental illness. By sharing your story, you can encourage others to open up about their own issues and in the process seek support or treatment, thereby easing the loneliness and despair that they are most likely feeling.

Listen to “Firework” by Katy Perry on Spotify

Listening to music has been proven to help regulate emotions, improve mood, and create happiness and relaxation in everyday life. Do yourself a favor and plug on the earphones a few hours a day. Your mind will thank you for it!

Written by Jac of MindNation

Categories
Mental Health 101 Self Help

Making meaningful connections in the time of social distancing

While having alone time is a great way to recharge, extended periods of isolation can be detrimental to your health. In the past, many of us may have felt lonely from time to time. These feelings are usually short-term and don’t usually harm our mental health. However, the longer the quarantine goes on, these feelings turn long-term and can be associated with increased risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and increased stress.

While it is imperative that everyone isolate at home during this time, social isolation or social distancing does not mean that we no longer have opportunities to connect with those we love. Thanks to technology and social media, there are many unique ways we can maintain ties and strengthen relationships while respecting social distancing rules. Here are some ways:

Create online gatherings to celebrate special occasions. If you typically celebrate birthdays by eating out as a group, you can still do that in the virtual world. Download video conferencing apps like Zoom or RingCentral, then spread the word that everyone has to be online at a specified time with their own meals at the ready. When everyone has logged on, dine together! And even if there are no occasions to celebrate, it will still be fun to make video chats with friends and family a regular thing.

Make new rituals. Miss your teachers and classmates at the yoga studio or the Zumba class? Has Sunday mass been part of your weekly ritual? You can still do all these through social media tools like Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. Muster up the discipline/motivation to make worship or working out part of your lockdown routine, as if it were the pre-pandemic days, just so you still have a semblance of connection and normalcy.

Tired of video calls? Try playlist collaborations or watch parties. Sure, video calls can get quite tiring. We can connect with those we love by sharing music and flicks we’ve been hooked on. (It’s also a great way to find new songs and titles to love!) Spotify has a feature where you and your friends can collaborate on Playlists, and Netflix Parties enable you to watch new movies or series simultaneously with cool chat features!

Help however you can. If you are in a position to give assistance to those who are in seemingly tougher situations (i.e. senior citizens living alone, front liners), you can do so safely, perhaps by having food delivered to them, or contributing money to fundraising activities. Volunteerism has been proven to have a positive effect on one’s emotional well-being, as well as make you feel that you are part of the community.

While it is for our absolute safety and the safety of those we love to keep physical distance, it does not translate to being emotionally distant as well. Now more than ever, we should find cooler and creative ways to show love and support especially to those who need it most!

MINDNATION IS HERE

Need someone to talk to? MindNation psychologists are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7. Book a session now thru bit.ly/mn-chat.

#EasetheAnxiety

Written by Jac Chua of MindNation

Categories
Mental Health 101 Self Help

5 ways meditation can improve your mental health

People used to think that meditation (or the process of training the mind to focus on the breath) was only something that monks, gurus, or hermits did in mountaintop temples or caves. But in recent years, practitioners of conventional medicine have also begun to prescribe mindful breathing techniques as a means of improving one’s mental health.

Here are 5 science-based benefits of meditation:

  • Reduces stress. When you focus your attention on your breath, you eliminate the jumbled and stress-inducing thoughts that are running around your head.
  • Controls anxiety. By focusing on your breathing, you are directing your mind to the safe present, instead of to an uncertain future.
  • Promotes emotional health. Meditation teaches us that we are like bystanders standing on the sidewalk, and that the cars passing by in front of us are our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Instead of forcing ourselves to run with the cars/emotions (which may cause stress, anxiety, and depression), we should simply acknowledge that they exist, then allow them to go by without making any judgements.
  • Lengthens attention span. Meditation is all about grounding and becoming aware of the “now”. The practice trains your brain to focus instead of wander.
  • Can make you more empathic. When you are calmer and less anxious, you become less irritable and short-tempered. You also develop more positive thoughts and feelings about yourself.

Meditation is to the mind what exercise is to the body. If you want to give it a try but don’t know how to go about it, apps like Headspace and Calm are beginner-friendly places to start. Good luck and don’t forget to inhale, exhale!

Written by Jac of MindNation

Categories
Mental Health 101 Self Help

8 Ways To Eat Better While On Lockdown

As we approach Week I-Have-Lost-Count of the lockdown, many of us have been eating more canned, processed, or junk food than usual. Whether it’s to pass time or prepare meals quicker, this habit does no good for our bodies or our brains.

Yes, gut health has been scientifically proven to affect mental health as well. There have been many studies showing that people with poor diet exhibit more mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.

But how can you start eating healthy when you barely know how to turn on the stove, or when access to your healthier food supply is limited? Here are some easy suggestions to kickstart your road to better eating:

1. Eat more fruits.

Switch up your sweets with fruits! They satiate your palate with less harmful effects versus its refined, packaged counterparts.

2. Control portion sizes.

We’re not saying you should stop eating junk food – but instead of finishing the whole bag in one sitting, take it as a challenge to not chomp down until you’re full. Take a small serving for yourself, just enough to have a taste of that snack you love and save the rest for next time!

3. Drink more water.

Drinking enough water keeps our brain from having to struggle against the effects of dehydration, allowing us to think more clearly than if we let ourselves get dehydrated. For a refreshing boost, you can add slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint. If you must have juices, go for the unsweetened variants, and just add a bit of honey.

4. Switch to whole grains.

White rice is tasty but also highly processed. You can get more nutrients (and maybe feel a lot more full) from unpolished grains – black/red/brown rice. If you find their taste too bland, cook them in broth, add garlic or add pandan instead of just plain water.

5. Try a meatless diet once a week

A balanced meatless diet is that it is full of “superfoods” like berries and nuts that are known to be beneficial for mental functioning. Vegetarians, in cross-sectional and interventional studies, showed fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and mood disturbance than omnivores. Grilled cheese sandwiches, mashed potatoes, and mushroom soup are examples of meatless meals that are delicious but also easy to make.

6. Make yogurt a kitchen staple.

Yogurt is rich in probiotics (friendly gut bacteria) and have been proven to positively affect mental health directly. Purchase the plain/unsweetened variants, and just add fruits or honey for some healthy sweetness.

7. Set up a meal schedule.

Eating whenever you feel like it will just lead to mindless snacking. Instead, follow an eating schedule as if it were a regular workday, so that you become more aware and in control of your consumption.

8. Rearrange your pantry.

Out of sight is out of mind, so keep the sweets and junk food in hard-to-reach places like the topmost rack. Then put the healthier snack alternatives at eye level.

With just a few modifications, you are on your way to locking down a healthier quarantine diet. Bon appetit!