It’s ok to take a break
There are several factors that can impact one’s mental health like our finances, work stress, family pressure, worrying about the future etc. and that is why it is important that every now and then one must take a break and focus on their well-being.
According to the NAMI organisation, mindfulness practices can help relieve stress, improve sleep and reduce chronic pain, blood pressure and symptoms of heart disease. It also has the power to change the way your brain functions. Studies have also found that activities such as meditation and yoga increase the number of signalling connections in the brain and provide better control over processing pain and emotions.
So, as we go through the second month of the year, the simplest changes are the way to boost our moods, like simple brain-based exercises that will gradually and permanently shift our outlook. We have a lot more control than we may believe over how we perceive the world around us. Simple shifts of thought and daily affirmations are two additional keys to unlocking a more energised and optimistic state of mind. You have the power to influence your own happiness.
Being optimistic has also been proven to improve the immune system. Finding authentic positivity and hope often requires active effort.
Studies have also shown that being optimistic can improve the immune system and switching your default to “positive” can influence your brain chemistry and have a surprising effect on your daily life.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Focus on yourelf – Whether you practice mindfulness, meditation or prayer, taking the time each day to concentrate on your thoughts without judgment will help you feel calm and present.
- Look for the good side – When you find your thoughts dwelling on the negative parts of your day, try deliberately shifting your focus to the positive aspects. Consider what you enjoy about your life situation, whether you work from home, or go into the office a couple of times a week- find the parts of this new normal that excite you. Perhaps you now have more opportunities to practice hobbies or finally get the chance to tackle your next home improvement project.
- Be kind to yourself – More than just saying nice things to inflate our egos, affirmations can reinforce our strengths, help us address challenges with gusto and keep our brain churning out positive neurochemicals. Speaking affirmations aloud to ourselves can strengthen our resolve and legitimise our ambitions.
- Remember your values – Daniel Henderson, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, says values are like “your heart’s deepest desires for how you want to behave as a human being.” Focusing on your values as you practice mindfulness is an effective way to re-orient yourself to what you find important and reconnect with positive, supportive thoughts and emotions that drive your values.
The next time you’re having a low moment ask yourself:
- Is this thought a fact or opinion?
- What is a more reasonable explanation?
- How important is this?
- How important will it be in 6 months time?
Always remember this too shall pass. If you’re feeling depressed, lonely or unhappy and would like someone to talk to, in your language, Our AskNelson counsellors are here to listen for as long as you need. Talking to someone about things that are worrying you can help you see your situation and options more clearly and make you feel a lot better.