STAY MENTALLY STRONG WITH RESEARCH-BASED ACTIVITIES

Day to day we face stresses of varying degrees which have varying effects on us as individuals. With the current global pandemic it could be easy to become complacent; finding ourselves stuck in a rut. Now more than ever it is important to keep connected, proactive and appreciate the positives. There are many things to be positive about and a number of ways we can keep ourselves mentally strong.

Now is the perfect time to grow, maintain or improve your health, and strengthen your connections to family and friends. Here are just a few suggestions :-

*Meditation:

Meditation, among other things, assists mindfulness and a healthy sense of perspective. It’s a great exercise that helps to bolster resilience and to feel grounded in times of stress. This can be done whilst sitting in the comfort of your own home or, to some extent, whilst out for a walk.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Get Settled: Find a comfortable space to sit, quiet path to walk or stand comfortably
  • Breathe Deeply: Take five deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. On the last exhalation, allow your eyes to close (not while you’re walking!)
  • Check in: Take a moment to settle into your body and notice any sensations, smell, touch, noise, taste and sensations of hot or cold.
  • Scan your body: Scan your body from head to toe observing any discomfort. Simply take note of it.
  • Observe the breath:  Begin silently counting the breaths: 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale, 3 on the next inhalation, and so on, up to 10. Then start again at 1. While doing this, it’s completely normal for thoughts to bubble up. You don’t need to “do” anything – just guide your attention back to the breath when you realise the mind has wandered off.
  • Allow your mind to be free: Spend 20-30 seconds just sitting. You might find yourself inundated with thoughts and plans, or feel calm and focused. Whatever happens is completely fine. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be
  • Prepare to finish: Become aware once more of the physical feelings: of the chair beneath you, where your feet make contact with the floor, your arms and your hands resting in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste or feel. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.
  • Take it with you: Before standing up, form a clear idea about what you’re going to do next. It’s so easy to just jump up off the seat and lose the calm and spacious quality you’ve just created. Try to carry this awareness with you to the next activity

 

*Three good thing – Gratitude:

During your day to day or if you find yourself going through a difficult time, attending to what is good in your life can shift your perspective and decrease negative emotions.

Adding a daily practice of gratitude helps improve:

  • Physical Health
  • Builds strong relationships, new and old
  • Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Improves Psychological health
  • Better sleep
  • Improves Self-Esteem
  • Increases Mental Strength
  • Feel more positive emotions
  • Relish good experiences
  • Deal with adversity

Starting your day by making a list of three things you are really grateful in your life, helps you clarify and focus on priorities. By doing this first thing in the morning it’s really difficult to have a bad day when you start it by writing how lucky you are! If you start feeling negative or loose perspective throughout your day, you can look back on the list you made in the morning.

 

*Get active in mind and body:

We all know the benefits to physical exercise like Stronger bones, Lower risk of heart attack, More energy, better mood just name a few. There are also many other ways to keep your mind and body active such as:

* Gardening – Who doesn’t like spending time out in the garden under the warm sun, not only does it prompt your body to make vitamin D but is also good for your bones. Besides the physical exercise you’ll get tending to a vegetable garden, a productive plot can also promote a better diet by supplying fresh, healthy produce

*Learning something new – Keeps you healthy, body active and your mind engaged. It can open new doors, increase adaptability, enhance skills. Everything taught can be fun especially when you’re shown real case studies and examples that resonate with you and make your learning that much quicker and effective.

*Music – Have you ever had your favorite song come on in the car or on the radio at home and it has changed   your whole mood. Well imagine making a playlist of all your favourite songs and playing it first thing in the  morning when you get ready for your day. Hard to think you would have a bad day after singing your favourite  tune at the top of your lungs.

 

*United in strength:

At a time like this it is more important now than ever to stay connected and support one another. We fortunate to live in a time where there are multiple platforms available that make it easier to stay connected.

Whatever you are feeling, you are not alone. Without your usual routines, you may be wondering what to do while social distancing or quarantining. Here are a few suggestions to keep you connected:

  • Video calling loved one – Ever since the lock down there have been more and more apps popping up that enable you to video call friends and family, such as zoom, houseparty (also has a few games you can play together online) and of course the old favourites Facebook messenger, Facetime and Whatsapp. Why not mix it up a little and watch a movie together, cook a meal together, crafts whilst on a video call or why not a family reunion have online.
  • Online yoga/Pilates classes – missing the community connection you used get when going to your local yoga studio? Why not join on of the many online classes and not only get your yoga/Pilates fix but also connect with the community too.
  • Online quiz – Want to keep the brain ticking, why not join a trivia quiz team online or better yet create your own group. Take it in turns to run the quiz, one week you could do the research and create the questions and the next week someone else can do it. Why not add a little extra and give the team a weekly task to recreate a movie scene using what you have at home

 

As nice as it is to connect with people who you are not able to see in person, there is also the other side and spending too much time with the people who are in your household and it is important to maintain healthy relationships. Having the forced physical closeness can sometimes be a little overwhelming so it is important to give each other space. Create a little space somewhere in your home you can go to when you need some you time and spend it doing something that makes you happy and can then re-join the family refreshed.

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