lobally, one in six people has at least one mental or substance abuse disorder, with anxiety disorder ranking #1. Addressing the need to find something that helps you reduce stress, psychologist Dr. Veronica Shead, said doing at least one thing can actually save your life.
“It can be that simple, she said. “And sometimes—and here’s the big truth for that is that—if we don’t have something specific that we are consciously working toward or that we have consciously added that we know is healthy in our lives, then we unconsciously have something else.
And that something else is food, or that something else sex, or alcohol or drugs. Some people have work.”
“We might think we don’t. But we have something else. And that something else might be more harmful and is kind of doubly impacting what’s going on.”
“So that one thing literally can be lifesaving, it can be life changing. Especially if it’s substituting for something that could be damaging. So whether it’s – for instance, you taking a walk. Nobody said that you have to go to the gym and do x, y, and z. You can walk, or stretch. You can sing. You can pray. You can call a friend. There are ways to do things that can be impactful and effective.”
“Again, taking at least that one thing, or concentrating on one change that you want to make, or just being able to take that a moment – I can promise you, taking that moment for somebody, can probably save somebody’s job, and save somebody’s life – if we just take it.”
Dr. Shead said walking and playing with her dogs bring her joy. Here, four other St. Louisans describe their thing.
Imani: Entrpreneur, social activist
I enjoy notebook journaling. I find that notebook therapy allows me to do personal planning, in addition to remembering what’s important, my goals and it stores my memories.
Some people use it for emotional release. I use it for all of those things, all at once. I don’t always write a lot. Sometimes just a paragraph.
I started in 1995. I can still put my hands on that first journal. Sometimes I go back and read an old journal. All of my memories are there.
I don’t need to be in a special place with a particular view. I’m a lover of stationery and pens. It’s more about having those special tools when I can. Pens, paper, stickers, colored pencils.
Tracy: Personal shopper, jeweler
There’s a lot of beauty and beautiful healing power in precious stones and crystals, which can really help reduce stress and anxiety.
Three years ago, my daughter and I were brutally attacked outside of a Chicago nightclub. We were celebrating my birthday and a man attacked us with the kind of raw violence you only see in movies. I ended up with a broken collar bone and shattered ankle. But the anxiety really set in afterward, as I wondered why, WHY didn’t anybody—not the bodyguards, not the people standing around watching, not the police called to investigate, not the prosecutors in charge of giving me and my dughter justice... why didn’t anyone help?
Honestly, I couldn’t even deal with a psychiatrist. I tried but he was horrible.
Thankfully, I had my jewelry. I’d already been working a lot with precious stones to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
Then, while I was laid up in neck and ankle braces for months, I could feel my anxiety calming down in my heart and my mind as I sorted through certain stones and crystals. Working with amethyst, jade, unakite, garnet and other stones, as well as crystals, metal and even lava stones brought me peace. I even created a pendant using half-inch chunks of rock salt.
High-fashion wellness jewelry is my art, my creative outlet. I’ve done extensive studying in order to best combine a balanced combination of beautiful, naturally sourced material to create client-specific pieces. And people really embrace it. They know my jewelry isn’t just a look, but it’s absolutely a source of calm, or motivation, or energy.
I work primarily online, over the phone, and through face-to-face appointments. Sometimes I also join pop-up events. Anyone can email me at email@example.com
Alice: Executive assistant
The one consistent thing I do is indulge in the calming, healing benefits of a long soak in a hot bath.
I started years ago when I began working out pretty heavily. I was sore all the time. My trainer told me that the best thing for that is proper nutrition and epsom salt.
When I was doing the epsom salt thing, I wanted something that had a little punch. So I began researching how to make my own bath salts. For instance something that reduces stress or boosts my mood.
And I discovered that making them is equally therapeutic.
It’s a very holistic approach that helps my body recover from the workout process. Now, my bath salts are a staple of my self-care routine.
I started sharing them with my friends, and then I began getting orders as word started to spread. The most popular ones for wellness are Lavender Journey, for anxiety, and Soulful Dream to help you sleep better. I sometimes sell at pop-up shops, and take orders on email at firstname.lastname@example.org
DeAndre: Concert promoter
I have exercise and my faith in God. Exercise is something I do for me, personally. Everything else, I’m putting plans into action, doing everything for my business, and my family. Exercise is for me. Where I can put me first.
When I’m exercising, I’m at peace. When I’m outside running around the track, that’s when I feel closest to God. And when I look to God, I’m good.
In fact, I go into every new endeavor with no fear. Because I know God wants me to win. I know it. As human beings, we are made up of positive and negative energy. While you have one part that’s telling you can do it, you have another telling you that you can’t. That doubt gives you every scenario why it won’t work. But since I know and believe that God wants me to win, I don’t listen to those things. I only deal with the positive.
Even if it doesn’t go exactly the way I think it’s supposed to go, then I know maybe it’s a detour. If it doesn’t work out the way I envisioned it would, I say it’s a detour that God wanted me to take. And in that detour, maybe He wanted me to pick somebody up and maybe take him to the finish line with me. That’s how I look at it. I take a step back and think “alright God, what are you trying to show me?”
And then I do self-reflection. I look at my life. If something happened or is supposed to happen. Am I good? Am I treating everybody with respect. Am I showing love to people? Am I being real? Am I being up front with people? And that’s important to me.
Because my thing is, it’s so many people out here being so crooked and being so foul. How can you expect for something positive to happen in your life when you’re putting negativity out. People really in their heart think they’re gonna make something happen, materialize something even though the last three people they talked to, they lied to them, cheated them, deceived them. But now you want something. You want God to bring something to you, but you’re not putting that energy out in the world.
And I’m conscious of that. I’m 100 percent conscious of that. I make sure I put that energy out in the world.