From June 15-17, SELF hosted Feel Better Right Now: a virtual event series meant to help you move forward in uncertain and anxiety-provoking times. Over the course of three sessions, SELF editors, mental health experts, and other knowledgeable guests shared their tips and tricks for how to navigate today's extra-chaotic world with peace and purpose. If you weren't able to make it to the events, no need to worry. You can catch up on everything you missed right here. Keep reading to soak up all the goodness of Feel Better Right Now, presented by Halo Top—and watch the actual videos of the sessions, too!
On June 15, the Checking In event series kicked off with Harnessing the Power of Gratitude. Science routinely emphasizes the centering power gratitude can have in our lives—it's a cornerstone of the resilience we all need to push through difficult times. But it can be tough to actually practice gratitude—especially without accidentally veering into toxic positivity territory.
To help attendees learn why gratitude can make a meaningful difference in their lives and how to implement it, SELF's editor in chief Leta Shy moderated a panel featuring three guests who really know what they're talking about when it comes to this whole gratitude thing. Actor, author, and producer Kristen Bell relies on gratitude as one aspect of her mental health “toolbox” day in and day out. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is science director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, where she studies the psychology of gratitude among other similar practices. And Ivy Kwong, LMFT, is a psychotherapist, life coach, and author who helps people take better care of themselves in a holistic way.
The group covered everything from the physiology of how gratitude helps us feel better, to a 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise that can make it easier to tap into emotions like gratitude, to which specific gratitude practices research says are most helpful. Bell also treated the audience to a truly heart-warming moment after finding out that Dr. Simon-Thomas's daughter was a fan of hers. Watch the full event recording below!
For the next Checking In event, on June 16, SELF's executive editor Zahra Barnes caught up with a new set of panelists to discuss how to cope with anxiety about re-entering society during this phase of the coronavirus pandemic. It's of course an understatement to say this health crisis has turned our collective world upside down. But with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out comes the chance for many people to start re-engaging in a lot of the habits and activities we've been avoiding for safety reasons. And with that comes a lot of potential anxiety. But there are ways to cope.
To figure out exactly what those techniques are, SELF asked three experts to share their perspectives and insights. Thema Bryant-Davis, Ph.D., is a psychologist, minister, artist, and director of the Culture and Trauma Research Lab at Pepperdine University. Jessi Gold, M.D., M.S., is an assistant professor and the director of wellness, engagement, and outreach in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (and a writer for SELF). And self-care advocate Bre Mitchell is the founder of Brown Girl Self-Care and host of the Brown Girl Self-Care podcast.
Together, the panelists explained why acknowledging trauma is the first step to moving forward, exactly how to set boundaries for your comfort without feeling guilty or selfish, and strategies for coping with anxiety in the moment. (Deep diaphragmatic breathing demonstration? Yes, please!) Tune into the video below for all the tips.
That brings us to this Checking In event series' final session, which ended the series on a particularly sweet note. The final event, Break Free From Pressure, presented by Halo Top, featured SELF's digital director Amy Eisinger talking with panelists about how to savor the moment and manage the stress that can come with day-to-day pressures. Because life today comes with a lot of pressures. It can be hard to tune out all the noise and figure out how to live in a way that honors what actually matters to you rather than what you feel like you “should” be doing.
With the mission of helping attendees break free from these (and other) all-too-real pressures, Eisinger sought insights from certified trainer and nutrition coach Minna Lee, along with Latham Thomas, doula and founder of maternity lifestyle brand Mama Glow. They discussed how to go about tuning into when you're unnecessarily “shoulding” yourself, how to deal with constantly shifting obligations of modern-day life, how chronic illness influences these experiences, and more. If you're the type of person who constantly feels tugged in a million directions—and feels overwhelmed by the notion that you somehow find a way to do it all—chances are the advice they shared will be right up your alley.
After that illuminating chat, yoga instructor and industry disruptor Jesal Parikh led a soothing yoga session, offering attendees a chance to check in with themselves and tap into the present moment. It may seem like such a small action, but even a few minutes of focusing on yourself in this way can be such a gift. Whether you're in need of self-prioritization guidance or a grounding yoga flow, watch the video below.
Although this Checking In event series is done, be sure to look out for future SELF Checking In events to help you feel as healthy and happy as possible as you move forward.