As we continue to face mounting uncertainty in our day to day lives, fortifying our mental health has never been more important. Many of us in the western world have not experienced anything like coronavirus and its implications in our lifetimes. The impact it’s having on our emotional wellness can not be understated—there’s stress, anxiety, unrelenting uncertainty and a sense of loss of control and unraveling of the world around us. In order to stay focused, calm and directed through this storm—as individuals and collectively—here are three scientifically proven practices to fortify your mind in the face of uncertainty.
Reduce Anxiety & Depression With Meditation
For a long time we thought that much of the benefits of meditation came from just sitting still and feeling relaxed for extended periods of time. Nowadays we know that meditation also strengthens the mind on a physical level. That’s right—”doing nothing” has actually been proven to change the structure of the brain.
In a fascinating study done by Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, meditation was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation. It was also shown to decrease brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress. All these physical changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their personal experiences. Meditation isn’t a magic bullet that’s going to solve all your problems, but it will help reduce anxiety and depression during these uncertain times, and promote a healthy physical brain.
The best way to begin a meditation practice is to start small, by sitting down for just 5 minutes a day. Apps like Calm, or Insight Timer have beginner meditation programs you can follow along with that take the guesswork out of the whole thing. But just so we’re clear—there really isn’t a way to do meditation wrong. Just sit, breathe deeply and try to let go of your thoughts. Sometimes you’ll finish a session feeling like a million bucks, sometimes you’ll finish not feeling any different at all. That’s just the way it goes.
Increase Happiness Levels With Gratitude Journaling
Research is growing on the positive effects of gratitude journaling. What started out as a kitschy thing only 16 year old girls like me did, is now becoming scientifically proven to help people sleep better, lower stress and improve relationships.
But gratitude journaling isn’t just about counting your blessings. Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, describes it as “an affirmation of goodness and awareness that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves—other people, or even higher powers— gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” For all it’s positive effects, there are some caveats. One study found that gratitude journaling once a week boosted happiness, but three times a week didn’t. We also don’t yet know how gratitude exercises affect people with clinical depression, anxiety or suicidal tendencies, so there’s still a lot left to learn.
Gratitude journaling doesn’t make the bad things go away, but what it can do is realign us towards an appreciation for being alive, which in turn can give us hope.
Induce Peace and Calm with BioCBD+
There are many supplements we can use to help induce peace and calm, and cannabidiol (CBD) is a very promising one. CBD is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant, but unlike THC, it does not get you ‘high.’ A growing body of research points towards a calming effect on the central nervous system, but we still need more studies to understand exactly how CBD works. There is however, preclinical and clinical evidence documenting the value for CBD in reducing anxiety and promoting calm. You can read more about the science behind it here.
The quality of the CBD products you choose is the difference between getting a positive result or none at all. Our CBD vape—I Am Peace—is an all-natural plant vape formulation that’s third-party independently tested, with no chemical fillers. You get the benefits of organically grown CBD, plus those of our proprietary essential oil blend of lemongrass, lavender, clary sage and bergamot.
Finding ways to keep our mental and emotional health strong during this “unique” time in history is not an easy thing to do. The world is shifting fast, and some of the fundamental pillars of our lives—our jobs, schools, etc—have been usurped, which has left many of us feeling out of control. It will take extra vigilance to stay on track and employing these three practices can help.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.