Staying healthy in a world moving faster than ever is tricky enough, but neglecting yourself will not only have an impact on your health, but on all other aspects of your life.
Your health – both mental and physical – are still of vital importance, even when it feels like the world is spinning too fast to get a handle on them. Here are a few tips on how to look after your mind:
Searches on Google for the term ‘mental health’ have shot up by nearly 40% in the past two years
There is a lot of talk about mental health nowadays and we feel it is important to understand that having a balanced mental life is as important as a physical one. Searches on Google for the term ‘mental health’ have shot up by nearly 40% in the past two years , meaning that people are beginning to understand the importance of a balanced life.
One of the most important things to understand is that just as much as your body needs rest, you mind does too. The Mental Health Foundation says that 'being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. If you’re in good mental health, you can make the most of your potential, cope with life, play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.'
'being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. If you’re in good mental health, you can make the most of your potential, cope with life, play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.'
Equally, there are practical things you can do to enhance your mood and feel better overall. In the same way you exercise your body, practicing mindfulness can help you live a calmer, more fulfilled life.
What is mindfulness?
According to the charity Mind, mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.
It aims to help you:
become more self-aware
feel calmer and less stressed
feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
be kinder towards yourself.
Mindfulness exercises to try
Here they provide a few exercises you could try. You don't need any special equipment:
Mindful eating. This involves paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat. For example, when drinking a cup of tea or coffee you could focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
Mindful moving, walking or running. Notice the feeling of your body moving. You might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or nearby surfaces, and the different smells that are around you.
Body scan. This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of the body, starting from the top of your head moving all the way down to the end of your toes. You could focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling or relaxation of different parts of your body.
Mindful colouring and drawing. Focus on the colours and the sensation of your pencil against the paper, rather than trying to draw something in particular. You could use a mindfulness colouring book or download mindfulness colouring images.
Mindful meditation. This involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, your thoughts, sensations in your body and the things you can hear around you. Try to bring you focus back to the present if your mind starts to wander. Many people also find that yoga helps them to concentrate on their breathing and focus on the present moment. See our page on types of alternative and complementary therapy for more information meditation and yoga.
Different things work for different people, so if you don’t find one exercise useful, try another. You can also try adapting them so that they suit you and are easier to fit in with your daily life.