By Kate Downes, LAc TCM Practitioner
October 10th marks the 31st annual World Mental Health Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, promoting mental well-being, and advocating for the importance of mental health care and support. This day is an opportunity to bring attention to the global mental health crisis and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
While improving our mental health is on many of our to-do lists, the truth is that emotional balance isn’t so much a goal as it is a lifestyle – and a lifestyle driven by access to sustainable, nurturing self-care rituals.
So, in honor of World Mental Health Day, we’re sharing a few of our favorite self-care rituals that have been scientifically proven to improve mental health and support your emotional well-being.
5 Self-Care Practices Proven to Boost Your Mental Health
Meditation is an age-old practice that has powerful benefits for our modern lives. When you practice meditation, you're essentially giving your brain a break from the constant chatter and stress of daily life.
By studying how the brain reacts during meditation, researchers have been able to pin down why meditation or mindfulness practice is so good for our mental health. Studies show that regular meditation can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and enhance the emotion-regulating areas of the brain. Together, these benefits help reduce symptoms of anxiety, alleviate depression, and improve attention and focus.
Make it Your Ritual with…Mystic Monday Tarot Cards
For some, meditation comes easy. For others, the thought of trying to “clear your head” stresses you out even more. If you’re someone who struggles with “monkey mind,” giving your brain a focus during meditation can help. Tarot cards (like this beautiful deck designed by AAPI artist, Grace Duong) are a simple way to stop aimless mind wandering and bring deeper meaning into a meditation session. As you sit (or lie) down for a few minutes of meditation, take a few deep breaths and pull a tarot card. Spend the next few minutes thinking about the meaning of the card, and how it relates to your thoughts, feelings, or experiences at that time.
Not much of a meditator at all? Journaling with tarot cards is a great alternative, and gives your mind the same stress-relieving benefits.
Reiki is a holistic practice that involves the transfer of healing energy with help from a trained practitioner. The idea is that the practitioner channels positive energy into your mind and body, helping to clear blockages and restore a sense of harmony.
While the benefits of Reiki vary from person to person (or even session to session based on what kind of support you need most at the time), science shows some common threads. Various studies show that Reiki helps reduce stress and burn-out, while others link Reiki to several physical and psychological improvements, including pain, drowsiness, tiredness, nausea, appetite, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and overall well-being.
Make it Your Ritual with…Distance Reiki with Lin
Whether you see Reiki as a spiritual practice or a form of energy healing, this practice offers a gentle and calming practice for anyone seeking emotional and mental clarity and resilience.
Make it a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly self-care ritual by booking a session with Reiki practitioner (and our own Pink Moon founder) Lin! Over an hour-long distance Reiki session with Lin, you’ll embark on a gentle healing journey through an intentional journaling exercise, oracle card reading, visual meditation, breath work, and the distance Reiki experience. After the session, you’ll debrief what you experienced and get a few recommendations for moving forward with clarity and ease.
Using aromatherapy is a luxurious way to tap into the soothing power of scent. The ritual itself (whether doing aromatherapy self-massage, setting an intention and turning on your diffuser, or even spritzing a therapeutic spray into the air around you) can trigger relaxation responses in your brain, helping you unwind and find peace.
But it's not just about the enjoyment you get from beautiful scents. Studies show that certain essential oils can reduce stress and anxiety levels (like lavender or chamomile), lift your mood and energy (like sweet orange or spearmint), or even help you find emotional balance (like rose or clary sage).
Make it Your Ritual with…Pink Moon Perfume Oils
Aromatherapy is easy to work into whatever self-care ritual you already love – especially with our formulated blends that you can roll right onto key pressure points on your wrists, neck, or over your heart. We love to roll on a Pink Moon perfume oil of our choice before sitting down for meditation, during a 5-minute breathing break, or as the last step of a slow and relaxing evening skincare ritual.
- Sweet Sunshine Perfume Oil for Joy & Creativity
- Midnight Melody Perfume Oil for Intuition
- Over the Moon Perfume Oil for Love
Exercise isn't just about keeping your body fit; it's a powerful tool for maintaining good mental health too. In fact, studies show that exercise is an effective way to combat stress and depression (sometimes outperforming antidepressants) when practiced regularly.
When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Regular exercise also promotes better sleep, boosts self-esteem, and provides a healthy way to manage stress.
Make it Your Ritual with…Relato Nativo Botanical Bath Salts
Whether it's a brisk walk, a yoga session, or hitting the gym, finding an activity you enjoy can make self-care through exercise a fun and sustainable practice. After you’ve worked up a sweat, soothe your tired muscles with a healing botanical bath. Epsom and sea salts help your muscles recover quickly while relaxing essential oils and pure copal resin support mental relaxation and a peaceful heart.
Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese technique involving the use of a smooth tool, often made of jade or rose quartz, to scrape the skin gently. While it's primarily used for physical benefits like improving circulation and reducing muscle tension, it can also support your mental health.
In TCM, the mind and body are considered one. Mental tension and stress can settle in the body as neck and shoulder tension, headaches, frown lines, and other physical woes. Using gua sha to “iron out” these tensions also helps you process mental stress and emotions more easily.
Science agrees – research shows that gua sha helps transition the nervous system from a sympathetic state (or fight-or-flight) to a parasympathetic state (rest-and-digest). It slows heart rate and breathing rate and relaxes the mind and body.
Make it Your Ritual with…Over the Moon Gua Sha Duo
Receiving a gua sha treatment from your acupuncturist is a worthwhile self-care treat. But, you can also learn to use the tool on yourself at home for a more regular form of self-care. Our Over the Moon Gua Sha Duo gives you a high-quality rose quartz gua sha tool and a skin-smoothing gua sha facial oil for a gentle experience from face to neck to feet.
Self-care is an essential part of mental health care – but how we practice is as unique as we are. Experiment with different practices and hold on to the ones that resonate with you most to create your own path to peace.