Are You Bored, Blah, Meh?
Recently, I spent an hour talking with an expert researcher about emotional health and wellbeing on my public radio show, Living From Happiness (KSFR 101.1fm). We talked about a lot of ways to reduce anxiety using fun!
The expert is Dr. Mike Rucker, whose new book is called “The Fun Habit: How the Disciplined Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life.”
In his book, Mike has an easy way to help you figure out how much fun you’re having. Can I just tell you? I didn’t do all that well. It helped me see that, even though anxiety doesn’t dominate my life, I’m sure not having as many joyful experiences as I could. I’m also sort of, kinda … boring.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live a boring life. And I sure don’t want to be boring — who wants that?! That’s not why we’re here.
We’re here to experience the richness of living and its gifts. But anxiety can make it really challenging to do that. And if feeling anxious, worrying, ruminating, obsessive negative thoughts, and doom and gloom dominate your life, you’ll quickly forget all the good stuff.
It’s worth learning how to reduce anxiety. After all, it’s your life we’re talkin’ about here.
Feeling Joyful Helps Balance Stress
It sounds weird to think about being joyful when anxiety’s taking over your brain and nervous system. And yes, it can be hard to get through it to even consider something as seemingly trite and silly as joy or happiness.
Here’s the thing, though … all the research shows that even a tiny little bit of happy or joy or simple pleasure can help reset your brain and nervous system from anxious and worrying to yeah, I’m OK.
Laughing has a lot of health benefits, both short- and long-term. And the more you laugh, the better you feel.
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says:
Stress relief from laughter
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.
Mindful Happiness Can Help Reduce Anxiety
What’s “mindful happiness”? It’s the discipline, the practice, the paying-attention-so-it-happens-regularly habit of cultivating joy, fun, and happiness.
Your brain gets used to its default setting, which is often negative, glass-half-empty, and a bit hopeless. That’s just what brains do; it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you.
But your brain’s built-in negativity bias means that you’ve got to consciously, intentionally, on purpose help it out of the negative and into more positive thinking.
Doing this helps reduce anxiety and sadness and reminds you of what’s working well, what’s good, and what lights you up.
One of my favorite mindfulness teachers is Michelle DuVal at The Mindful Center in Albuquerque, NM. She’s so good that I took her 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) class twice. And yep, it changed my life. Check her out if you’re curious about mindfulness and how it can help you.
The Santa Fe Therapist Approach to Anxiety Treatment
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist, and I love working with *stressed* women struggling to get to the other side of crazy anxiety and overwhelm.
Profoundly positive things begin happening when you learn how to calm down your nervous system and understand how to manage your emotions. Knowing how to reduce anxiety can change your life for the better.
Together, we’ll figure out what’s going on and what you need to begin feeling more in control and less stressed and overwhelmed. All the new neuroscience research gives us better and more effective ways to work with anxiety.
One of the most potent ways to do that is to understand how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are intertwined. When you learn how to
- make friends with your feelings,
- manage your thoughts,
- explore new anxiety management behaviors in a safe setting —
- your life will begin changing in positive, healthy ways.
You’ll start believing in yourself again.
In balancing the science of therapy with the art of healing, I’ll create an innovative program for you that sets you on a path of success from the very first session.
Neuroscience, Eastern Wisdom, & Earth-based Practices
My compassionate, creative approach weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and my own personal healing around anxiety and overwhelm.
One of my specialties is giving women the tools to cope with intense emotions. I use the latest neuroscience findings and combine Western systems, Eastern wisdom, gentle Earth-based practices, as well as creative, innovative ideas to help you feel better as quickly as possible.
My clients usually work with me weekly for 8 to 12 months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success and learning and using strategies and techniques to serve you for many years.
You’ll work hard for sure. But it won’t all be horrible and terrible! I love sharing ideas about good books and films and laughing together once in a while.
How to Get Anxiety Help in Santa Fe, NM
Counseling for anxiety can make a world of positive difference in your life. When you reach out for anxiety help in Santa Fe NM, you’re making an investment in yourself that can change in your life in the best of ways.
All you have to do is send me an email to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get you feeling better as quickly as possible.
The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in New Mexico
Online therapy helps busy women find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques to cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.
You can learn how to reduce anxiety using online counseling.
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.
Online counseling from anywhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Los Alamos, Pecos, Las Vegas, Tesuque and El Dorado.
Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist
The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. I know that one size never fits all. My services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals.
I offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for: