Come January and gyms will be overflowing with applications, most of which will be from the youth. Caught between the smartphone and the unrealistic expectations, young people are subjected to both at work and in personal life, the gym is the world they can escape into. This is a world they can control, that of their physical wellness. But the widespread stress we see in the youth today, manifested as mental illnesses, be it anxiety, depression, insomnia, makes it pretty clear that just taking care of physical wellness is not enough. Mental and emotional wellness has to be added to the mix to experience overall wellbeing that makes life enjoyable and fulfilling. Practising some of these alternative therapies can really help:
Sounds of certain wavelengths are known to align with that of the brain waves and induce deep relaxation. Gongs, chimes, singing bowls and tuning forks have sound frequencies that energize the brain and help in getting restful sleep. Group music activities such as drum circles have the same endorphin effects as the group energies generated are both calming and create camaraderie.
Imagine the feeling of utter freedom as you splash colour on a blank canvas. Art therapy allows this sense of release to come through even as it ejects negative feelings and emotions. Feeling stressed? Grab a mandala colouring book, and as you immerse yourself in drawing and colouring those mandalas, you can almost feel the stress seep out and a warm sense of wellbeing envelop you. This is fun therapy and goes a long way in enriching one’s life. Try doodling, free sketching too if you’re keen to ramp up your productivity and creativity levels.
No, you don’t have to become a yogi in the Himalayas to do meditation. Sit down on the floor or on the chair, become comfortable, cross your feet, clasp your hands and observe your breath as you inhale and exhale. That’s it. Begin with 5 minutes if you’ve never done it before and go on adding a minute everyday till you are doing around 20-25minutes a day. The payoff? Higher concentration powers, increased ability to amicably resolve conflicts, are more effective at work and in personal life, gain empathy and compassion. If sitting still is not your scene, try walking meditation – plug on your earphones and walk-meditate. Just be careful to avoid high traffic areas for this one.
Dance Therapy (Movement Therapy)
One of the most pleasurable of therapies, dance includes a series of creative movements which suffuses the cells of the body with the ‘feel good’ hormones. The physical movements boost energy levels and aid in increasing immunity, generating self-confidence, improvement in interpersonal communication and social skills as well as getting a better body image perception. Another form of this therapy, Sufi Whirling with its spinning and turning movement is known to aid in self-discovery along with improving concentration powers, and according to many, paves the way to a mystical connection with the divine.
An experiential therapy, it involves all the elements of theatre: storytelling, improvising, theatre games and acting out scenes. This form of group therapy encourages participants to work out conflicts through play acting. Acting out in a safe environment with the guidance of a trained therapist can become a source of empowering catharsis.
Do you remember the feel of sand in your hands going from rough to smooth as you packed it tightly into the baby bucket and then turned it to build the towers of your sandcastle? This practice brings back happy childhood memories and dislodges forgotten traumas from the past. A trained practitioner can help heal one’s inner child through play and this also leads to disrupting old, self-limiting behaviours.
2019 seems poised to be the year when workouts will actually happen not inclosed, airconditioned rooms but out there on the grass or mud, surrounded by trees. Being in nature is a sure-fire measure for gaining an inner calm. Hiking, trekking, mountain climbing are activities that innately require mindfulness in large measures and are gaining much popularity.