Mental health is a term we have heard a lot lately, but what does it actually mean? Contrary to popular opinion, mental health is so much more than a diagnosis. It includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life.
Today, we discuss six little things you can do for your mental health, no matter how old you are. Even if you feel strong and feel like your mental health is doing great, you can find a couple of tips from this article and try them today!
1. Try Box Breathing
The Box Breathing Technique (also known as Four-square breathing) is a simple yet effective technique to bring your breathing back to its normal rhythm. This exercise can be done anywhere – at work, in bed, while travelling or even when you are winding down after a long day.
The exercise is called “Box Breathing” because it consists of four counts of four. Picture a square in your mind, with each side representing a different count to four. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for the next four, then exhale for four and hold for four. Repeat this cycle for at least 5 minutes to get the full effect.
2. Speak to yourself positively
How you think about yourself and perceive yourself has a powerful effect on how you feel. When you speak to yourself negatively and think of your life as a failure, you are viewing experiences in a way that confirms this notion. Try to practice positive words that make you feel good and promote feelings of self-worth.
Instead of saying, “I messed it up. I will never get this job!”, say “, I didn’t do as well in the interview as I would have liked, but it doesn’t mean I won’t get the job. I will keep trying!”
3. Be mindful of the present moment
We’re only human, and our past experiences do weigh us down from time to time. Being mindful of the present moment allows us to let go of these negative and complicated feelings.
Focus on one thing in the present moment. Pay attention to smells, sounds and tastes. If you are drinking coffee, note how it smells, how wonderful it tastes and how warm your mug feels. It is that simple. Remember, when you feel your mind wandering, just bring it back to what you are currently doing.
4. Practice gratitude
We’re all guilty of sometimes focusing on the negatives rather than the positives. A great way to feel better is by practising gratitude. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes daily to do the following.
Think of 5 things you are grateful for. These can be a mix of little things and bigger ones like beautiful weather, completion of a project, compliments etc. Try to be as specific as possible, and you will see how it helps you be more empathetic.
5. Challenge yourself
We all feel like our lives have somewhat become stagnant during the pandemic. But there still are things that you can do to challenge yourself. Even if you think you are in a great place mentally, it’s always a great idea to learn or try new things.
Whether it is going out for a run daily, practising your guitar or simply trying to finish that book you’ve been trying to read for a year now, work towards a meaningful goal every single day and make it a part of your routine.
6. Fix your posture
With most of us working remotely for the past year or so, we’re sitting — a lot. Like we have said many times before, excessive sitting has detrimental effects on our health. Posture is directly linked to how we feel. Studies show that a poor posture can lead to lower self-esteem and energy levels, while a straight posture makes us more confident and alert. If you have a desk job, try to get up from your desk and take a walk every 30 minutes. Take calls standing and do some stretching to get the kinks out of your shoulder and neck.
You can also invest in ergonomic products designed for the office worker like ergonomic desks, chairs and footrests.