Updated: Jan 6
As a Psychotherapist, I'm passionate about therapy, therapeutic intervention for anyone struggling with a debilitating presenting issue, or self discovery, however, sometimes a ten minute mood boost may be all you have time for, and every little bit helps, so here are ten, 10 minute activity ideas for a mental health mood boost!
Life can be busy & get stressful, with children to raise, jobs to keep, bills to pay, housework building up & relationships to nurture, the pressure to achieve a balanced healthy life can build up causing us stress, and rather than care for our mental health we instead are prone to procrastinate in an attempt to ease the stress; for example; when you wake up, & instead of being in the moment, thinking about all of the obstacles you will need to face that day, or mindlessly searching through social media swiping past 'lifeshopped' pictures of beautiful people with beautiful lives which only leave us feeling less accomplished.
For most people this cycle of stress, procrastinating & deflation continues to repeat itself until we begin to see the negative effects on our mental or physical health or jobs & relationships, but you can break this cycle, starting by implementing small changes in your daily routine.
I haven't got time! I can't afford it!
It's challenging to make changes, we get comfort from the familiarity of the routines we know, rather than risk losing comfort and face change, our unconscious minds try to convince us of reasons that changes are not possible, but if you want anything in your life you will make it happen; making positive changes can improve your life & the lives of those around you!
Here is my list of 10 affordable changes you can implement into your daily routine that will end your day in a positive way; even if your day gets really busy you won't feel as stressed, as you've already done something restorative today, you've given yourself self-love, so you will ease any build up of tension:
10. Do a Yoga Session
Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centres the nervous system. It is also something that you can practise in your lounge, grab a mat & follow a 10 minute practise on YouTube on your TV or laptop, I like Yoga With Adriene! (Click here for her 11 minute wake up yoga session).
9. Practise Self Hypnosis
Self-hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of mind which can be defined as a heightened state of focused concentration; with it, you can change your thinking, stop bad habits, and take control of the person you are—along with relaxation and de-stressing from everyday life, it's similar to meditating & the result is better mental health.
8. Practise Positive Visualisation
Your brain cannot differentiate well between real action and mental action. Research shows that thinking about an action — even while your body is at rest — will fire the neural pathways in your brain just as you were actually doing it. Take ten minutes to find a quiet space, first close your eyes & focus on your breathing in and out calmly & listen to your breath. Think of a pleasant location, I like to use my favourite beach. Now imagine yourself in it, It’s important to be in the scene, not just thinking of it. It may help if you write out a guided visualisation in advance, this will help you ease into this relaxed space already engaging your imagination, another tip is to record your visualisation and play it to yourself include some calming music too if this helps.
7. Take a Walk, Jog or Cycle
Even a brief walk at low intensity can improve mood and increase energy. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive effect. Regular exercise helps ease depression and anxiety by releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being; it can also take your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety & help you to become more aware - take a moment to stop, listen & engage your senses.
6. Listen To An Inspiring Podcast
Spend 10 minutes of your day listening to something inspirational & be inspired by listening to a podcast like 'Oprahs Super Soul Conversations', be sure to check out popular episodes like Amy Schumer: A Modern-Day Warrior Woman, Dr. Maya Angelou, Part 1: 9 Words that Changed Her Life, Eckhart Tolle: Being in the Now and Michelle Obama: Becoming, Part 1. Oprah's raw and authentic conversations will help you to see you’re not alone in your challenges and pick you back up on your feet towards a path of improvement.
5. Prepare a Mood Enhancing Smoothie
Get up ten minutes earlier & prepare yourself a delicious mood boosting smoothie, lot's of ingredients have been proven to improve our mental health, such as: Chia seeds, which contain high amounts of Tryptophan, it promotes the production of the neurotransmitter 'serotonin' which is known to relieve depression and anxiety. Walnuts, containing Omega 3 fatty acids - according to one study, Omega 3 fatty acids can help to fight depression. Banana's, high in folic acid and Vitamin B, banana is one of the most popular smoothie ingredients, the reason is that people who suffer from depression, often have a folic acid deficiency & in people with depression the intake of vitamin B is often abnormally low. Avocados are rich in potassium & studies have shown that low levels of potassium can cause mental fatigue, anxiety and contribute to feelings of depression. Oats offer a shot of glucose that provides energy, alongside essential B vitamins and vitamin E, both thought to be beneficial for the brain. Pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of zinc, which is beneficial for the brain. Some studies have found that low levels of zinc may contribute to the onset of depression. There are so many combinations of recipes, our blender get's used all of the time so if you haven't got one get one, they are well worth the investment! Look online for hundreds of recipe options, here is one of my favourites:
Green Chia PsychoTherapy Soothie Smoothie
2 cups of frozen tropical fruit medley
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 handful of spinach or kale (can also be from the freezer)
2/3 cup liquid of your choosing (oat milk, almond milk, coconut water)
a squeeze of honey if you like it sweet
4. Read a Chapter of an Inspiring Book
Many people, including myself have described how a book has inspired, comforted or even changed their lives; inspirational books can vary in subject, be factual or fictional, take a look at amazon's list of 58 inspirational books here, (or charity shops can be good for book finds), place your book on your bedside table to dip into when you have ten minutes to read.
3. Write a 'To Do' List
Writing a 'to do' list not only helps you to remember things that you need or want to achieve that day, when things are ticked off it also acts as a reminder of how much you have achieved, it's easy to feel as though you have achieved nothing when you're busy & stressed, so instead congratulate yourself on all that you have done. Try to keep the list manageable though, even if it's one or two things!
2. Make a Cosmic Shopping List
Cosmic ordering is a type of positive thinking proposed by the German author Bärbel Mohr, who believed that a person can simply write down their wish list and wait for it to become reality, written about in the book 'The Cosmic Ordering Service: A Guide to Realising Your Dreams'. It is easy to lose direction on our journey, or to realise we have no direction at all, take ten minutes to write a list of places you want to go, things you want to learn, people you'd like to meet, in a years time what do you want to have achieved; by writing this list you're opening up your awareness to focus what you desire for fulfilment & sending out a positive message to the universe to help you on your journey.
1. Pass It On...
Most people would like to think of themselves as a kind person, so acts of kindness help us to demonstrate that positive identity and make us feel proud of ourselves, passing on kindness makes us feel good; take 10 minutes to think about someone you care about friend, parent, child, or partner and write them a text, email, letter or post it note telling them that you care, appreciate & are grateful for them; they will be thrilled & you will both be mood boosted!
Try implementing at least one of these into your routine everyday and you will notice a huge improvement in your mental and physical health; if you are struggling with motivation Psychotherapy can help.
Call me for a free initial telephone consultation here
Eve Houseman MBACP