Sunday, November 13, 2011

Five ways Google calendar can improve your mental health

Google calendar, specifically Google calendar reminders, can be an incredibly helpful tool. I often recommend text reminders to clients. If you don't have a Gmail account, go get one - it takes about two minutes to sign up - and start experiencing the benefits of regular reminders, delivered right to your phone or your email.

Setting up reminders is as easy as clicking on a date and time, then entering the words you'd like to see in the "what" field. After that, click the "repeat" box and "daily." Then click "add a reminder," and choose an email or text reminder. Then, just save your reminder. Text reminders work great if you're like me and you carry your phone everywhere with you. Repeat as needed during the day if you want to be reminded more than once.

Here are five ways that reminders can work to bolster your happiness and balance every day.

1. As a reminder to BREATHE. This one is the simplest, and the most often-needed, not to mention the most often-ignored. Deep, cleansing breaths can help tame the worst of days and the scariest of crises. Set up a text reminder that will have you inhaling deeply a few times a day. Really easy, really helpful.

2. As a source of centering tips. Set up a few reminders that will have you doing easy grounding exercises - "Take your shoes off and feel your feet on the floor." "Do a five-minute walking meditation." Schedule these reminders for when you know you'll have a few minutes, and follow them daily.

3. For affirmations. Affirmations are much-maligned, often-ridiculed ("gosh darnit, people like me!") and consistently helpful. Who doesn't want to see "You are beautiful" or "Stay strong" every day? Affirmations are a way of re-wiring your brain, and repetition is an important part of this learning process.

4. As one-time booster shots. Sometimes you've got something in your day that is going to take everything you've got to get through. Set up a reminder that will arrive partway through, encouraging you to keep going, relax and get it done.

5. As a reminder that things get better. Sometimes when I have a client who struggles with recurring depression I'll have them write a letter from their "happier" self to their depressed self. As silly as it sounds, simply remembering that you've felt better can help you stay on the path until things get better again. A recurring note from that part of yourself might help if you're susceptible to down days.

That should be enough to get you started. I'd love to hear other ideas - let me know what you plan on doing with your reminders!

1 comment:

  1. wow, jeff......
    These are excellent suggestions. In fact, I've done the letter to your future self thing a couple times through FutureMe, which is a neat little time capsule site.