How to stay active in the workplace

Since the 1950s, our workforce has increasingly moved from physically active jobs to sedentary jobs. Many of us work in places where we’re sitting in front of a computer or desk for 8 hours a day, which can have significant health drawbacks if we don’t address them. A moving body is a healthy body, we should be mindful of how much each day we’re prioritizing that movement.

The downsides of sitting down

Studies suggest that sitting for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity comes with similar risks of dying as obesity and smoking. Since many jobs are office jobs, these workers are often spending ~15 hours a day sitting—nearly twice the recommended healthy amount. Here’s some things that excessive periods of inactivity can lead to:

  • Offsets the health benefits of exercise.
  • Increases risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Sedentary lifestyles are linked to muscle, tendon, ligament, neck, and back problems.
  • Poor posture, compression of spinal disks, and increased risk of herniated disks.
  • Long periods of sitting can lead to various issues in the glutes, legs, and even bones, including conditions like deep vein thrombosis and osteoporosis.

It can sound scary, but maintaining some sort of movement once an hour can help offset the effects of sitting and keep your body in motion.

How to keep active in the workplace

Keeping active in the workplace is not as hard as it seems, and just takes a bit of conscious thought to implement. Here’s a few ways that you can prioritize your health while sitting for long periods of time:

  • Every 10 minutes or so, do a posture check. Are you sitting up straight? Relax your muscles and joints so you can straighten out. A chair with lumbar support or a chair cushion with tailbone support can help you maintain this good posture.
  • Every 60 minutes, take a stretch break. Stand up and touch your toes, or bend your knees into a few squats. This keeps your muscles moving and alleviates the tension you accumulate while sitting.
  • Take short walking breaks. If you’re able, spend 3-4 minutes just walking a bit—either around the office, or to the bathroom/water station. It keeps the blood flowing and decompresses your spine and muscles.
  • Work standing up. If you have a standing desk, or can find somewhere to prop your computer, working while standing keeps your body flowing but also doesn’t put strain on your hips and joints from sitting all day.
  • Walk over to a coworker to talk instead of emailing. This might be 30 seconds of walking, but it makes a difference. If you’re able, opt for an in-person conversation over an email thread, to get some steps in and save you both time communicating.

Even doing just one of these tips can make a difference and turn your body from sedentary into active. When you’re consistently spending 8+ hours in a chair, those effects can add up over time. Prioritize your body today and make a difference for your health!

Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

Subscribe to receive blog updates!

Subscribe to receive blog updates!

    Hidden ways you’re wasting time and how to stop

    Managing our 24 hours is one of the most important things we can do, because our entire lives revolve around what can be done in the day. Whether that’s balancing a busy school schedule, or fitting in a workout after your 9-5 job, we all benefit from learning effective time management techniques.

    The hidden ways you’re wasting your time

    The obvious ones are procrastinating and choosing to not start tasks, but there’s a lot of ways you’re unconsciously wasting time without realizing it. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Being too available. Saying ‘yes’ to others all the time, or even just entertaining conversations when you know you have to get things done can affect your work and slow you down.The hidden ways you’re wasting your time
    • Not having an organizational system for ideas or thoughts. If you don’t have a central place to write things down, or don’t write things down at all, then you’re wasting time trying to find where you put it or attempting to remember what it even was.
    • Not having a place for everything. This is an organizational one as well: if you are spending time trying to locate items you need, you’re wasting time. Have a set place for everything so you can quickly remember it and get on with your day.
    • Refusing to adapt. Life is always changing, and it’s up to us to change with it. Using outdated techniques or sticking to habits and schedules that no longer serve you is a sure way to waste time. Don’t try and fit something in your life that you have to force. For example, if a paper calendar doesn’t work because you’re always forgetting it at home, switch to digital.
    • Bad communication. This one is likely one of the biggest ways to waste time, because the constant email back and forth can take way longer than it needs to. Before pressing send, read over what you said and make sure it conveys the point you’re trying to make, or that you’re asking the right questions in a clear way so there’s no misinterpretation on the receiver’s end. You’ll save so much effort with one message compared to a long email thread.
    • Not setting up for tasks in a way you’ll succeed. Taking a quick moment to set up everything you need in one place really expedites the process of doing what you need. For example, before running errands, put your keys, grocery bags, shoes, sunglasses, and wallet near the door instead of having to go back and forth to find all these things as you’re trying to leave.

    How can I stop wasting time?

    Let’s get into the practical ways to save time (because let’s be honest, many of us don’t have time to develop an elaborate planner routine). You can start off small by simply setting yourself up to do well for the next day. Here’s some examples:

    • Plan your next day. Jot down the major things you need to do and roughly estimate when you’d do them by.
    • Figure out what you need for that day. Lay out your outfit the night before, make sure you packed lunch if you need it, and put everything into your bag for work/school. These little things can save you the time and decision-making in the morning.
    • Batch your tasks, so that you save yourself time and effort. If you have an errand to run, do all the things you need to do at the same time, so you don’t have to keep leaving the house.
    • Use deadlines. We all hate them, but they keep us on track. It’s much easier to work within a schedule, because finding ways to motivate yourself when you have too much time is difficult.
    • Don’t wait until the last minute to do things. It can be really easy to put those chores off, but not doing them just makes the task more tedious later on as things pile up. Save yourself the stress, do it a little each day, and it’ll prevent the anxiety of looking at it.

    There are a lot more ways to become better at time management, but those a few a practical things you can do to help yourself out during the day. For more wellness tips, check out the rest of the SoundMind blog!

    Three ways to unlock wellness through music

    Music’s ability to move us is undeniable. Tender melodies and tunes can stir tears and evoke memories while rhythmic beats can transcend language and cultural barriers to unite thousands in dance and celebration. Recently, music has been found to present a multitude of benefits— from helping with information processing and retention to increasing mood by stimulating your brain’s reward center— and has been proven to be a simple, yet impactful mental health tool. Here are three ways you can channel the transformative power of music to support your own wellness journey:

    1. Building Specific Playlists 

    Have you ever created playlists or chosen specific songs that resonate with your current emotions? As it turns out, this practice has considerable influence over your feelings, and you can harness this impact by crafting a playlist that employs the Iso principle. Begin by tuning in to songs that resonate with your present emotional state, then gradually transition towards music that encapsulates the mood you aspire to achieve. By curating diverse playlists tailored to the spectrum of emotions you might encounter and strategically listening to them, you can manage and shape your emotional state with the music you listen to.

    2. Harnessing Binaural Beats

    Listening to binaural beats provides a unique and scientifically grounded way to modulate mental states for improved well-being. These beats leverage the brain’s response to two slightly different frequencies played simultaneously in each ear, resulting in a perceived third frequency, which can be used to create a desired mental state. Research suggests that these differences can influence brainwave activity, with different beats promoting relaxation, focus, or sleep. into If you want to incorporate these beats into your listening routine, be sure to check out the SoundMind’s diverse selection of more than 85 unique beats.

    3. Learning a New Instrument

    While listening to your favorite tunes can certainly lift your spirits, there’s nothing that immerses you in the world of music quite like creating it yourself! When you start learning, you’re not just tapping into your musical talents; you’re also firing up multiple regions of your brain that have crucial functions like motor skills, processing auditory information, and memory recall. This all-encompassing mental symphony doesn’t just make you a better musician; it sharpens your cognitive abilities and builds stronger neural connections between the various regions you’re engaging. Here are three beginner-friendly instruments you can start learning to begin your musical journey:

    • Ukulele: Strumming the ukulele’s gentle strings can be an uplifting and soothing experience that’s wonderfully accessible for newcomers. Its small size, lightweight build, and relatively simple chord structures make it easy to learn.
    • Piano/Keyboard: Learning the piano or keyboard offers a versatile musical journey, with its musical reach stretching across different genres from classical to jazz. With a clear layout of keys, beginners can easily grasp the foundations of music theory such as scales and chords, laying a foundation that seamlessly translates to other instruments.
    • Handpan or Steel Drum: The handpan or steel drum produces resonant and harmonious tones that can instantly evoke a sense of tranquility. These instruments require minimal technical expertise to produce beautiful sounds, making them ideal for beginners seeking a meditative outlet for their emotions.

    Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

    Subscribe to receive blog updates!

    Subscribe to receive blog updates!

      The loneliness epidemic

      The loneliness crisis is growing, spurred by a rise in being ‘chronically online’, the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased reliance on virtual communication and social media. We are spending more time alone and engaged in solitary activities, leaving less time to socialize in-person with friends and family.

      More ‘friends’, less ‘relationships’

      The internet and social media facilitates us to talk to others in real-time, but it also may lend a false sense of connectedness among us. With the option to catch up with people over text, we lessen the priority and urgency to see them in person. Additionally, as we get older we have less opportunity to experience life together with friends… turning many hangouts into update talks and being less about activities done together.

      Think about how it was in high school—you’d see your friends every day, go to school events, get lunch together, and learn in the classroom side-by-side. Everything you experienced was in tangent with at least one other person, bringing your connection to a comfortable friendship based on proximity, shared experience, and time together. But now? For many adults working a 40-hour week (or more), it takes effort to pencil in spending time together. You have to go out of your way to meet with someone, because it requires scheduling around your own responsibilities and while also giving yourself time to rest after work. Our friendships that were initially built off proximity and shared experience become something we actively have to seek out and nurture. Many of us cannot dedicate significant time anymore without falling behind on other aspects of our lives.

      Lonely youth, lonely adults

      In 2018, the average American spent ~11 hours a day on solitary activities (ex. watching TV, scrolling on social media). And less than half (43%) saw their friends, in-person, on a daily or weekly basis. In fact, during 2021, a survey found that time with friends decreased to ~2.75 hours/week, compared to 2013 levels of ~6.5 hours/week.

      It comes at no surprise that 33% of people reported that they often or very often feel lonely (2018), with a 2019 study even suggesting that ~75% of adults feel moderate levels of loneliness.

      However, youth are the ones that tend to feel the loneliest, with 40% of 16 to 24 year olds reporting regular feelings of loneliness. Lonely adolescents means lonely adults, which means that taking care of their socializing and mental health is more important than ever to prevent a worsening trend.

      The tangible effects on a lonely body

      Loneliness isn’t just a negative feeling—it can have profound effects on your physical self. According to US surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy, chronic loneliness is an ongoing ‘public health crisis’. The effects of loneliness can include:

      • Increased risk of cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and death (by 26% in any given year).
      • Can make people more sensitive to pain, suppress their immune system, diminish brain function, and disrupt sleep.
      • A connection between loneliness and poorer health/self-care in youth.
      • Increased reliance on negative stress coping strategies.
      • Higher risk of poorer mental health levels.
      • Lower levels of trust in others and lower expectations in a friendship.

      Socializing is a fitness skill (dubbed ‘social fitness’) and has to be nurtured accordingly, just like physical and mental fitness.

      The benefits of good ‘social fitness’

      The Harvard Study of Adult Development—the longest in-depth longitudinal study still running—has collected over 2,000 individuals to participate over its 80+ year span. The most important takeaway: strong, healthy, close social relationships are the biggest factor in long-term health and happiness. Those that nurtured their close relationships and regularly socialized rated higher on overall health, happiness, mental health, and sense of community support. It goes to show that social fitness isn’t just an option—it’s an essential part of our holistic fitness.


      Loneliness is affecting many of us, and it’s time to take social fitness seriously as we look inwards to nurture all aspects of our holistic health. Engaging in community activities (ex. wellness clubs, gym classes, community social events, shared hobbies, etc) can help us dial back the loneliness levels, in addition to also prioritizing in-person socializing. Although it can be difficult to make time for all these converging life responsibilities, socializing is worth the benefits—for your long-term physical and mental health.

      Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

      Subscribe to receive blog updates!

        Outdoor exercise and brain health

        You’ll often hear the phrases “get some sun” or “take a walk and you’ll feel better”, but did you know there’s actually a scientific reason that these help improve your mood? This study published in January 2023 found that the environment in which we exercise and spend our time in can be just as important as what exercise we’re doing, and that being in nature can actually boost our benefits to a significant degree. So how does this nature power empower us?

        Nature Heals… Literally

        The outdoor study group in this study showed a variety of benefits over the indoor control group, including:

        • Far greater cognitive attention scores, which means increased activation of the prefrontal cortex and restored mental capacity
        • Increase in indexed task performance
        • Improved reaction time (it was double the control group’s!)
        • Increased cognitive performance

        It goes to show that even spending a little bit of time outside in nature each day can really make a difference. Think of it like a cognitive refresh—we’re meant to be enjoying nature, and nature soothes and heals us in return. Many people choose to hit the gym as a form of destressing and relaxing after a hard day, so combining that exercise with being outdoors can only amplify those benefits. For the non-gym enthusiasts, even pairing a leisurely walk outside with some calming binaural beats in the SoundMind app can reap the benefits of the outdoors for your mental health. Try getting out in nature today, and let us know how it affects you by tweeting us @soundmindapp!

        Have you tried out our research-backed binaural beats on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

        Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

        Subscribe to receive blog updates!

          Talking about mental health to others

          In a world where our social media feeds overflow with carefully curated content, presented to us by those who seem to have perfect lives, the realities of mental health often remain hidden and suppressed. This makes it hard for us to not only understand who’s struggling, but also how to even approach these delicate conversations offline. We fear saying the wrong thing, offering inadequate support, or potentially making matters worse. To overcome these barriers, here are some helpful tips on how to create a safe, empathetic, and supportive environment for these conversations, so you can be there for your loved ones when they need it most.

          Be Fully Present

          When someone is opening up about their mental health, the most valuable gift you can offer is your undivided attention. Put that smartphone away, resist the urge to check your messages, and show them they have your complete focus. Make eye contact; it’s a simple yet powerful way to communicate that you’re engaged in their words. Nod along as they speak; this non-verbal cue tells them you’re actively listening, absorbing every word they say.

          Validate Their Emotions

          When emotions run high, your initial instinct might be to offer immediate solutions, but often what’s most needed at the outset is emotional validation. Recognize their feelings without feeling compelled to solve everything right away. Let them know that you acknowledge their distress and that their emotions are entirely valid. Your presence and understanding can be remarkably comforting.

          Avoid Minimizing Their Struggles

          When you find yourself in a conversation with someone sharing their mental health challenges, it’s crucial to approach the situation with care. While the instinct to provide perspective might be strong, it’s essential to refrain from downplaying their emotions. Remember that each person’s experience is unique, and what may appear trivial to you could be profoundly distressing for them. Instead, extend a compassionate presence, listen attentively, and acknowledge their emotions without judgment.

          Empathize with Shared Experiences

          If you’ve personally faced similar mental health hurdles, opening up about your own journey can establish a meaningful bond and serve as a positive example for dealing with wellness challenges. When you share your experiences, emphasize the similarities between your situation and theirs, all while discussing healthy coping strategies. Remember, it’s essential to avoid overshadowing their emotions or making the conversation about your own story. The goal is to demonstrate empathy and solidarity, rather than shifting the attention to your personal experiences.

          Be Patient

          Engaging in discussions about mental health can be emotionally taxing for both parties. These conversations often don’t lead to immediate solutions or relief. Healing takes time, and it’s essential to be patient throughout the process. Understand that they might need multiple conversations or ongoing support. Avoid rushing them or pressuring them to “get better” quickly. Your patience and willingness to be there for them can be a vital source of comfort and stability during their journey toward improved mental well-being.

          You can also use these tips as a guideline on how to teach others about mental health conversations. The more we destigmatize mental health talk, the more open we can be with each other. Remember, not everyone may need your help, but being able to support others and show others how to approach these conversations can make a difference for all of us. You got this.

          Have you tried out our research-backed binaural beats on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

          Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

          Subscribe to receive blog updates!

            Declining Student Mental Health

            The rundown on student mental health

            A study conducted by the CDC from 2011-2021 showed:

            • 29% of students reported experiencing poor mental health
            • 42% of students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
            • 22% of students seriously considered attempting suicide (and 10% attempted to do so)
            • Nearly 60% of female students and 70% of LGBTQ+ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
            • Multiracial, Hispanic, and Native American students were among the most affected by mental health problems
            • In the past 10 years, the percentage of female students experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased from 36% in 2011 to 57% in 2021
              • For male students, this increased from 21% in 2011 to 29% in 2021
            The youth mental health crisis

            The youth mental health crisis is worsening, and without taking any action, the current trend shows that percentages will continue to increase. This starts with making changes now, in the classrooms, to give students the tools that they need to thrive and be confident in themselves. To be active listeners, show them genuine support, and be willing to make changes, is to truly care about the wellbeing of our students, and is something that every educator should prioritize. When students succeed, they feel empowered to keep going—if they’re constantly made to fail, it only sows doubt and leads to low self-esteem.

            What can bring down the risk of poor student mental health?

            Students that feel more connected at school to their peers and teachers are less likely to experience risks related to substance abuse, mental health, violence, and sexual behavior. It’s important for all students to feel like they belong somewhere and that they are connected to their peers—because this has long-lasting effects on their success, socialization, and mental health in general. Teachers can help students feel more connected by having activities in the classroom to help them get to know other students, having check-ins with students, and monitoring their classroom’s overall mood using the SoundMind Administrator Hub.

            What else can students do to help their mental health?

            Students are often busy, tired, stressed, and growing into adults alongside their education, which can lead to a lot of overwhelming feelings and pressure. As educators, we can equip our students with the mental health tools and the resilience to make it through life’s challenges, by being supportive, understanding, empathetic, and reasonable in the classroom. By making time for students to talk about their mental health and discuss with peers in a supportive environment, educators can create a safe space in which students can grow in non-academic ways.

            Tools like SoundMind’s Hub allow students to access mental health tools and guided listening lessons, as well as give teachers a way to see the overall mood of their classrooms with AI-generated suggestions on how to improve. This can be a valuable resource to teachers who want a deeper insight into their classroom, without compromising student privacy.


            Student mental health is declining, and without taking action, the trend shows it will only get worse. Educators can make a difference in the classroom by being active listeners and supporting their students in non-academic ways. Holding space for mental health talks or weekly check-ins with the classroom can be a great start in getting students to prioritize self-care alongside academics and their personal life. By teaching students to take care of themselves, teachers can give them good life-long habits that extend far beyond the classroom, and fight back against the youth mental health crisis.

            Have you tried out our research-backed binaural beats on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

            Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

            Subscribe to receive blog updates!

              Breathwork Matters

              “Just breathe”. How many times have we heard that phrase? How many of us roll our eyes at it? What’s so important about the breath?

              Breathwork… works

              Breathworks is an ancient technique originating from a variety of practices, from Buddhism and Taoism to Yogic practices. Cultures from across thousands of years and various different continents had breathwork practices. Even language conveyed the importance of breath—for example, the Chinese word for breath and air we breathe is “chi”, which also means “universal and cosmic energy of life”. In English, the word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin ‘spiritus’, meaning “a breath”.

              Many of these cultures often worked with the breath to encourage a non-ordinary state of consciousness, facilitating healing, transformation, introspection, self-discovery, and relaxation, among many more.

              Modern-day Breathwork

              How can breathwork be relevant to you today? It appears that Americans are at an all time high level of stress. 41% of adults have reported being increasingly stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with citing inflation (65%) and the economy (76% for adults aged 26-43).

              Recently there has been a re-emergence of breathwork in Western cultures, pioneered in the 1970s by Leonard Orr (Rebirthing Breathwork movement) and Stanislav Grof (Holotropic Breathwork). In the 50+ years since then, there has been a development of many new techniques that incorporate breathwork for the modern practitioner. Many of these focus on reducing stress and finding ways to re-center the self, even in times of crisis.

              Below are some practices that are applicable for easy, daily stress reduction:

              Simple Techniques for a Big Impact

              “Diaphragmatic Breathing”: This is the most basic of breathwork exercises, which focuses on the diaphragm and the lungs. It’s very simple and works great in the morning when you wake up, making a difference in waking up mindfully rather than stressfully. There are four steps:

              1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent
              2. Place one hand on your upper chest, and the other on your stomach, just below your rib cage
              3. Inhale slowly through your nose, letting the air move towards your lower belly. The hand on your stomach should naturally rise with your inhalation, while the hand on your chest remains still.
              4. Tighten your stomach muscles and let them fall inwards as you exhale slowly through your mouth. The hand on your belly should move back to its original position. Practice for at least 10 deep breaths (or for 10 minutes, 3x daily).

              It’s been shown that this technique can strengthen the diaphragm, reduce blood pressure, improve relaxation, and center your mind, among other benefits.

              “Box Breathing”: There are many different counting patterns that you can implement, but a common one is ‘4444’—meaning inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 after inhale, exhale for 4, and hold for 4 after exhale. This one in particular is suited for stress; studies have shown that regulating your breath has a calming effect and can get you out of that ‘fight or flight’ mode.

              Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT)”: this one is especially good for those with asthma (prone to hyperventilation) and panic attacks. It’s similar to diaphragmatic breathing since it focuses on the diaphragm, but has different steps to achieve diaphragm activation. There are four steps:

              1. During this exercise, you should breathe exclusively through your nose. In a relaxed sitting position, elongate your spine and sit upright. Start with some easy, deep breaths.
              2. After a calm and relaxed exhale, hold your breath and gently plug your nose with your thumb and index finger. This is called the ‘control pause’. Hold for as long as possible without panicking.
              3. When you feel the need to take a breath (and begin to experience “air hunger”), gently release your nose and take a slow, easy breath in. Your diaphragm might involuntarily move. Remain controlled during your inhalation.
              4. Breathe normally and evenly again for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this three to five times each session.

              It’s been shown that this technique may reduce asthma symptoms and help lessen anxiety symptoms. It was originally developed to combat the effects of poor breathing habits—namely, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

              When to Practice Breathwork

              Breathwork can be done at any time—as long as you have 10 minutes a day, you can practice! Pairing theta binaural beats in the 4-8 hertz range on the SoundMind app can help you get into a meditative and relaxed mood if it’s difficult, or can help you maintain your peace of mind during practice. Try out breathwork with a binaural beat today, and let yourself be carried away into the calming movement of air through your body!

              Have you tried out our research-backed binaural beats on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

              Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

              Subscribe to receive blog updates!

                The Negatives of Sleep Deprivation

                One-third, or 70 million Americans, are sleep-deprived, on top of being chronically stressed and burned out. So how exactly is this affecting us?

                What we know
                • Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injury, loss of productivity, and even a greater likelihood of death.
                • It can interfere with school, work, driving, socialization, focus, and mood.
                • Sleep disturbances are linked to higher levels of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression—in fact, the current rates are double of what they were pre-pandemic.
                • 1 in 3 participants had clinical insomnia symptoms, and nearly 20% of those individuals met the criteria for insomnia disorder (from 2021 study published in Sleep Medicine).
                • College students are suffering: at least 60% of them are not getting adequate sleep, and over 15% of them reported having poor sleep quality.
                • 73% of students reported issues falling or staying asleep, with a higher frequency among women than men.
                • Individuals with ADHD and/or depression are significantly more likely to experience problems with sleeping.
                Complications of sleep deprivation

                Poor quality sleep increases negative emotional responses, decreases positive emotions, and increases the risk of mental health disorders. Sleep problems can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions—leading to a vicious cycle that seems to never end. However, the vicious cycle is not exclusive to mentally ill populations; poor quality sleep can affect even the healthiest individuals by increasing anxiety levels and elevating feelings of distress. For adults, sleeping less than 7 hours a day can lead to adverse health outcomes like weight gain, hypertension, heart disease, risk of stroke, impaired immune function, depression, and anxiety. So, how can we avoid this cycle?

                Get ahead with a sleep routine

                Developing a healthy nighttime and sleep routine is key and it all starts with making it a priority. Having a reliable sleep routine is really important, because it makes healthy sleep a habit and helps optimize your body’s natural ‘wind-down’ time at night. Here’s how to get started on making a sleep routine that works for you:

                • Decide on a set bedtime and stick to it.
                • Schedule a time to start your bedtime routine (ie. 30 mins before sleeping).
                • Put away electronics for at least 30 minutes. Blue light from our screens keeps our minds awake, which can hinder your sleep cycle.
                • Have a light snack to calm your stomach (think fruits, yogurt, or a non-caffeinated herbal tea).
                • Take a quick, warm shower to relax your muscles.
                • Listen to some calming delta binaural beats (check out SoundMind’s app for the best ones).
                • Read a book or journal about your day to sort out your thoughts before bed.
                • Prepare your bedroom for sleep—ie. turn off anything noisy, put things away to reduce clutter, turn off your lights, and make sure you’re not overheating (these can all hinder your sleep).
                • Once you’re completely ready for bed, close your eyes and focus on your breathing to help facilitate sleep.
                Key Takeaways

                Good rest is important and essential to making sure that you’re at your best every day. Although it can be hard to keep those set sleep boundaries with yourself and others, it really makes a difference in the quality of your days and your mood—make sure that healthy, uninterrupted sleep is a priority for you!

                Have you tried out our research-backed binaural beats on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

                Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

                Subscribe to receive blog updates!

                  Gut and mental health

                  “Trust your gut”. We hear that phrase when we’re in the midst of making a big decision, but it may have another, more literal application: mental health. According to Dr. Shebani Sethi (founder of Stanford Medicine’s Metabolic Psychiatry Clinic), the diet is something that needs to be addressed.

                  “For a long time, doctors thought of nutrition as mostly a secondary therapy… But we realized that nutritional metabolic therapy can serve as a significant medical intervention for mental illness, one that can change the structure and function of the brain.”

                  Gut health for great health?

                  It’s long been known that taking care of your gut health is essential in holistic health, but it’s been shown that it actually has links to mental health as well. The gut is responsible for producing over 90% of the body’s serotonin and is a home to 100M+ nerve endings (it’s referred to as the ‘second brain’). This study has shown that certain gut bacteria levels are higher in those with depression—and that there was a higher quality of life rating from participants who had a better ability to synthesize certain biological products due to their improved gut health. The levels of certain bacteria is important, so taking care of your gut and stomach cultures can improve your mental health because of how they interact with your brain’s neurotransmitters.

                  What else for the gut?

                  Beyond depression, gut health can also have links to obesity, anxiety, immune response, and even dementia. Indeed, over half of our immune system is housed in our gut system. Since food is how we nourish our body, it’s important that we take care of our gut so we can get the most out of our fuel. Good fuel and gut health means we can pull nutrients out better, so that our brains and bodies are able to use more available resources!

                  How do we take care of gut health?

                  There’s a lot of solutions to maintain a good gut balance, from probiotics to supplements to even just eating a wide range of health foods. Here are some basic tips on how to keep up your gut:

                  • Exercise—this gets your colon moving, which leads to more regular bowel movements and can help manage symptoms of IBS.
                  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to prevent from overwhelming your gut with food.
                  • Eat probiotics to increase the amount of good bacteria in your health (think yogurt, probiotic supplements, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and pickles)
                  • Fiber, fiber, fiber—helps keep blood sugar levels stable and regulates hunger
                  • Drink lots of water (~8 eight oz. glasses a day)
                  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can be digestive stimulants that hinder gut function

                  A healthy gut means a healthier mind and body. Focusing on your holistic health can be hard, so if you find yourself experiencing negative mental health symptoms, try starting with improving gut health!

                  At SoundMind, we believe in taking care of your mental health in many different ways, including sound therapy. Have you tried our binaural beats out on the SoundMind app? Download for free here!

                  Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

                  Subscribe to receive blog updates!