Close up image of woman’s hands in lotus position by the lake
Find your corner of calm when stress levels hit the roof
In today's world, life seems to fly by at 1,000km/h and fear and stress surrounds us; Covid 19, climate change and staggering climbing house prices are just some of the headlines of stress-inducing articles that many of us will read on a daily basis.
It has never been more important to look after our health - both physical and mental. Taking a little side step to property news and information, and with it being Mental Health Awareness week, we wanted to give you some of our tried and tested methods to finding mindfulness that you might like to try, to help you to find some peace amongst the noise and to remind you that there are amazing resources out there and people you can speak to.
Here are some things you can do to practice mindfulness and help manage everyday stress
There is no order in which you should follow these techniques, you can try all of them or simply focus on the ones that jump out at you.
And, the aim of these suggestions isn’t to make you feel like you need to be happy right now - mindfulness is just about recognising your emotions and accepting them. Ultimately, these exercises aim to help mindfulness and can help you to feel better and happier, but don’t rush yourself.
Take time in nature
Nature has a wonderful way of grounding us. Taking us away from our screens and the hustle, bustle and noise of our modern lives helps remind us that we’re part of the world.
Find a nice quiet spot by the lake or go for a walk through the Botanical Gardens and just take in your surroundings. Make a mental note of the things you see and the sounds you hear. Watch nature go about its business - watch the waves lap the shore, the clouds fly by in the sky and the trees move in the wind - feel relaxed already?
Tip: to help relieve your mind, try walking to work or going for a walk in your lunch break.
While breathing is an automatic bodily function it often does require some extra attention.
Every system in the body relies on oxygen and boosting your supply through proper breathing techniques can have a number of great benefits, including improving mental clarity, sleep, digestion, immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress levels.
Try: diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing). As the basis for almost all meditation or relaxation techniques it helps strengthen an important muscle that helps you breathe - your diaphragm. You can do this at home or at work - whenever you feel like you need a little break and a boost.
Feeling down can make you feel very isolated. Those who are struggling with their mental health often don’t wish to talk about it. If you are struggling, or know someone who could be, reaching out to someone you trust, or a professional, can help.
Whether you share your thoughts and feelings with friends, family or need the support of a professional, there are plenty of resources out there that can help you - it doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day or have been struggling with your mental health for a while, speaking to someone can help.
Your local medical or health centre may have resources and counsellors available to you free of charge, for example the Health Improvement Practitioners at the Taupo Medical Centre or Taupo Health Centre, or you may prefer to speak to a life coach, who can help you overcome personal challenges, help implement healthy thinking and can help you achieve your goals.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little”
Jon Kabat-Zinn - founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction)
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn - founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction)
Did you know that as an adult, water makes up roughly 60% of your body weight? Water is essential for every bodily function; it’s a vital nutrient to the life of every cell, it regulates our internal body temperature, metabolises and transports carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use, assists in flushing out waste, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord, forms saliva, and lubricates joints. So pretty important, right?
Every day, humans must consume a certain amount of water to maintain a healthy body and brain - and basically to survive.
If the kitchen seems like too far to walk to refill your bottle every hour, or if you’re out and about a lot, why not invest in a larger, reusable bottle. Healthish have a fantastic 1litre bottle with the hours of the day so it’s easy to make sure you’re consuming a healthy amount.
“Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy; happy people just don’t kill their husbands…” - Elle Woods, Legally Blonde, 2001.
While the “killing their husbands” part may be a bit extreme, we’ve all had those days where we are so overwhelmed with stress that we feel like we could flip a desk. If only there was a way to channel that pent up energy in a positive way…
Boxing, jogging or anything high intensity are just some great and healthy ways to release any pent up energy or emotions and replace them with the mood-boosting neurotransmitters, endorphins. Or simply go for a walk around the block!
Make a note
Write down how you’re feeling - whether you’re happy and you want to make a note of this feeling or if you’re feeling sad or anxious write it down.
Write down the reason for your current feelings - e.g. receiving some great news, or finding yourself overwhelmed. Sometimes getting the thoughts and emotions out of your head and onto paper can help you to process them.
Then write down three things that could help you feel happier right now, such as speaking to a friend or family member, eating some chocolate or enjoying a nice soak in the bath. Basically, anything that could make you relax and/or smile.
Or, if you’re already happy, write down three things you can do to remember and refer to it at a later date.
Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.
The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn - founder of MBSR (mindfulnesss-based stress reduction)
Tidy up the space around you
“A tidy home makes for a tidy mind”. Plus, the satisfaction you can get from a job well done is a great mood booster!
Try some healthy food
If your gut is happy and functioning well, your brain is healthier. Think about decreasing your processed foods and increasing your natural and organic food.
Listen to some relaxing music
Whether your definition of relaxing music is classical or rock, put some headphones on, zone out from the world for a bit and just listen to the music.
Give meditation a go
It’s not just about sitting cross-legged on a cliff-face humming “ohm”, meditation can be done wherever you are. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and find some inner calm. Find some great guided meditation clips from the list of apps and resources below.
Try out a new hobby
Test your own ability and see what you can accomplish. Try out knitting, bake a cake, try out a new fitness trend - the possibilities are endless. Find something that makes you feel happy and feel proud of what you have accomplished.
Catch up with your friends and/or family
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to hear from your loved ones. At times, they know you better than you know yourself. Ask for advice if you aren’t feeling yourself or simply enjoy a good catch up.