This week has been a good reminder to practice a little mental health maintenance. We can all benefit from extra positive energy in our lives. There are many different techniques that can promote positive energy, but today I’d like to highlight just three. These are the strategies that integrate best into my regular yoga practice.
3 Simple Strategies to Maintain Positive Energy
Move Your Body
Exercise is one of the easiest to implement for most people. Moving the body is something we are already familiar with; it takes little training. Chances are you have tried a myriad of exercise programs in your lifetime. The key is to increase your workout regularity. Activity is a habit. Get back into your habit, to reap the rewards. Vigorous exercise often leads to a satisfied euphoric feeling. If you’ve heard bizarre terms like “Runner’s High”, you know that this effect is quite pronounced in some people. While I’ve never experienced this runner’s “high”… I have often experienced a “Yay, I no longer feel like a blob” feeling after a run. This is just as lifting to the spirit. Even if you only get a moderate happy feeling after exercise, it is worth the effort. So go for a walk, go dance, run, bike or join a new yoga class.
Meditate On This
Meditation is one of the first things people think of when they think “Yogi”. The stereotype of a man in deep thought sitting crossed legged on a mat comes to mind. But try not to get caught up in that caricature. Meditation is not just for some man on a mountaintop, it is accessible to all. Don’t be intimidated if you feel like you can’t clear your mind or recite any mantras. Start with just sitting quietly. Do it for one minute, then five. If you have trouble with your mind wandering, focus on deep breathing. The box breathing method is a great place to start. Breathe in for a slow count of 4. Then exhale for a slow count of 4. Repeat. If your mind wanders off, don’t worry, just acknowledge it and focus on your breath again.
See the Mountain, Then Move It
Lastly, let’s address visualization. This is a lesser used technique, but I’ve found it quite valuable to use while off the mat. Visualization is like intentional fantasy, but more functional. Put a mental image in your head of a goal, a positive result. Picture yourself successfully performing a task. Not only does this give you a positive outlook, but it is a form of practice. You can run through a scenario in your head several times prior to actually attempting it in reality. When you actually perform the task, you have already seen yourself accomplish it. The stress of performing something new goes away. Visualization also allows you to imagine the different ways that you can attempt a task. It is easier to recover from surprises if you have already imagined them. Difficult situations will inevitably occur. But mental imagery allows you to find positive outcomes. Don’t ignore the negative. Just try to add more positive options. It will help to relieve some anxiety. Similar to meditation, your goal is to reduce overall stress.
Recommended Music Selections
Music is powerful when it comes to changing a mood. Even sad music makes me happy. But if you need something upbeat, YouTube has Postive Energy playlists for many genres. The Morning Jazz Coffee music is a favorite.
Enjoy your weekend everyone. Sending positive vibes your way!