Psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, and physical activity are all great for treating mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, but some lesser-known mental health activities include art therapy, energy healing, and video gaming. Check out these eight unique ideas from SoulSpring to learn how to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and kickstart your journey to improved mental and emotional health!
You don’t have to be creative or good at art to benefit from art therapy, as the goal of this mental health activity is to express yourself through painting, drawing, coloring, and other creative techniques such as journaling, sock puppeteering, and sculpting. Regardless of skill or artistic talent, art therapy helps to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, ease stress, boost confidence and self-esteem, and overcome addiction.
Like art therapy, energy healing techniques such as Reiki, breathwork, smudging, and chakra healing can all help to boost your mental health as well as your physical and spiritual well-being. Reiki, for instance, deepens spiritual awareness, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep quality. And with better sleep comes lowered stress levels, a sharpened memory and attention span, and improved mental wellness overall.
Many lesser-known mental health activities are fun and affordable, and video gaming is just one of them. In fact, research shows that gaming can be an effective alternative to conventional therapy — as video games strengthen social connections, ease loneliness, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some of the best video games for improved mental health include Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Cozy Grove, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Plants vs. Zombies.
If you’re unhappy at work, a career change could also help to boost your mental health and well-being. Consider the benefits of going back to school and enrolling in an accredited online degree program so you can successfully change careers and lead the life you want to live.
Western Governors University (WGU) offers affordable online degrees in information technology (IT), marketing, human resource management, business management, and more. If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in IT, for instance, you could change careers in as little as 48 months, increase your annual salary by an average of $11,800, and improve your quality of life.
Knitting is another lesser-known mental health activity, one that’s especially effective for those who feel stressed, helpless, anxious, lonely, or depressed. It can also help to boost confidence, relieve pain, and prevent panic attacks. Plus, free online knitting classes, patterns, and tips are offered at AllFreeKnitting.com.
Even if you identify as shy or introverted, socializing is important to your mental health. Here are some ways to be more social, regardless of your personality type:
Playing online games with friends.
Skyping or Zooming with friends and loved ones, even when you can’t meet face-to-face.
Taking a class at a local yoga studio, meditation center, church, or library.
Working out or taking a walk with a friend.
Playing cards or board games with others.
Starting conversations with grocery store clerks, neighbors, and other strangers.
From journaling to creative writing, expressing yourself through the written word can be an effective way to explore your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Start by writing poetry, keeping a gratitude journal, using daily writing prompts, or submitting a story about your mental health journey to SoulSpring or another supportive online community such as The Mighty.
Volunteering for a good cause not only benefits the people, animals, and communities you’re supporting, but also your own mental health. By helping others, you’ll build confidence, reduce stress, and feel happier and calmer overall. A few places to look for volunteer opportunities include local animal shelters, public libraries, churches or faith-based organizations, non-profit yoga and meditation studios, and state parks.
Psychotherapy is often used to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression, but it isn’t the only option for improving your mental health. For many individuals with mental health concerns, working with an energy healer or art therapist can be just as therapeutic for the mind, body, and spirit — while other lesser-known mental health activities can include video games, creative writing, and volunteering in the community.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. In many cases, you’ll need to step outside of the box to find a mental health activity that works best for you!
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