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Five Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Health

Nearly one in five adults struggle with mental health issues, yet the stigma surrounding the topic often keeps people from seeking help – despite the fact that mental health is just as important as physical. In fact, the two are more closely connected than you may realize. Poor mental health can impair your ability to fight off chronic illness, make healthy decisions and ultimately lead to more serious health complications. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, giving us a dedicated time to pause, take a deep breath and dive deeper into the connection between the mind and body and how to ensure you’re taking care of both.

Mental Meets Physical Health

Paralympic Medalist Denise Shindler in Adidas’ Formation Collection / Photo via @adidaswomen

If you want to jumpstart your mental clarity, jump into your favorite activewear and get to work.
Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and depression while naturally boosting your mood and self-esteem.

While you may feel inclined to look at the scale, know that the important work is happening inside your mind.

“I tell [my clients] that it’s not [about] achieving what you want to look like — fall in love with the journey and know you’re doing the right thing: working towards a stronger and more confident version of yourself,” says Sonia Suarez Alonso, a personal trainer at Equinox Aventura and Lululemon ambassador. “This should be a self-esteem booster – you’ll walk differently and feel different,” she continues.

A deep love of helping others led Suarez Alonso to become a personal trainer. “I’m a support system — not just a trainer,” she explains. She reminds her clients that exercise helps not just with the body but also “the mind and soul.”

At Equinox, the team of certified personal trainers builds programs around its pillars of movement, nutrition, and regeneration. Rest and what we put into our bodies are just as crucial to mental wellness.

Try Your Motivation on For Size

SOL Angeles Olive Marble Set and Strut Animal Print Set at Equinox / Photo via @equinox

Did you know that your fitness attire can impact your workout? There’s something special about showing up to work out in a new set of gym clothes. If you’ve experienced the boost of endorphins that comes with slipping into a fresh set of leggings, you’re not alone.

Research has long shown that clothing directly affects our mood, and gym clothes are no exception. A 2018 survey found that, of 2,000 regular gymgoers, 9 out of 10 people reported feeling more motivated when looking their best in gym clothes. The survey found that 79 percent of respondents believed owning “good” gym clothes was an essential step to accomplishing their fitness goals. Case in point: shopping can have a positive impact on your mental health. Now that is a lesson we can get behind.

Breathe in the Benefits

Photo via Lululemon

Breathe in the good vibes. Yoga’s roots can be traced back more than 5,000 years ago, centering itself as a healing and meditative ritual for the mind and body. The ancient practice is still widely popular with lifestyle brands like Lululemon and Fabletics, making yoga fashionable yet functional. A growing body of research has shown the enormous impact yoga can have on mental health. According to Psychology Today, yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, sharpens concentration and calms the nervous system.

Classes like Equinox’s vinyasa yoga coordinate movement with breath to soothe the mind. The act of conscious breathwork is integral to an effective yoga workout. Breathing exercises, called pranayama, are believed to clear our physical and emotional obstacles to free up life force (prana) and extend (ayama) our lives.

Get into the Game

FILA UO Exclusive Giorgia Velour Tennis Dress at Urban Outfitters

It’s time to call the shots on your mental health. Whether you hit the tennis courts on the weekends or partake in a round of beach volleyball, competitive sports can be a positive driver to sustain and improve your mood. We know exercise gives you endorphins, but being part of a team can go even further to boost your self-esteem. Taking on a challenge via sports can boost your human connection with others, unravel your stress levels and teach teamwork lessons that can be applied to other areas of your life.

Get Outdoors

Photo via @thenorthface

Often, a change of environment can work wonders in times when you’re feeling particularly isolated, depressed, or anxious.

The field of ecotherapy has shown a significant connection between time spent in nature and reduced anxiety, depression, and stress. According to Harvard Health Publishing, research shows that brain activity in healthy people walking in nature showed less rumination on negative emotions in the prefrontal cortex than healthy people who walked in urban settings. The serene sounds and soothing visuals of nature can lower blood pressure and stress levels. So, next time you’re feeling tense, gear up for a hike through one of South Florida’s scenic trails or walk along one of Miami’s gorgeous beaches.

Reflect on Your Progress

The Five-Minute Journal at Urban Outfitters

Understanding your emotions and maintaining your mental health requires you to create your own toolkit of coping techniques. Journaling is a tried-and-true method that can help you reduce stress, understand your emotions, identify recurring negative thoughts and track healthy habits.

Logging your gratitude and goals in a journal can help you track your physical and mental health progress. Remember, everyone’s journey is unique and worthy of recognition.

“It’s important to remember that you can never be the same as another person – you have your own body type, goal and life. Strive to be the best version of yourself,” says Suarez Alonso.

There’s no better time than the present to take charge of your mental health. Whether you want support in the form of clothes that bring you comfort and confidence, nature and breathwork that keep you grounded, challenges to connect you with other people or journals to release and track your emotions, there are plenty of methods you can use to help ease and heal your mind, body and soul.

For more information on Equinox Aventura and the retailers mentioned in this story, visit AventuraMall.com or call 305-935-1110.

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