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Improving mental health through mindfulness

Category: Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Week, mental health initiative, Capita, mental, mental wellbeing, mental energy, relaxation

Mental Health.

While worry and anxiety have been around a lot longer than the coronavirus, this unusual time can highlight these feelings and bring them to the forefront, making you feel out of control and unable to know what to do for the best. However, there are certain tricks, techniques and tools you can use to help you feel calmer and more relaxed. It starts with being more mindful. Mindfulness is about giving your full attention to what’s happening, as opposed to getting distracted by other thoughts in your mind. It also helps you to feel less overwhelmed by what’s going on around you – which is particularly useful now with the ongoing pandemic. The good news is that you can practice mindfulness, in a way that you enjoy, helping you to reduce stress and feel more in control and therefore happier.

You can practice mindfulness in all sorts of ways. There are some activities you can do, such as squeezing your muscles starting at your toes and working your way up your body, counting to five and releasing them again. Notice how your body changes. You could also try belly breathing – putting one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, slowing breathing in from your stomach and slowly breathing out.

You could also meditate – which is probably the most well-known approach to practicing mindfulness thanks to apps like Headspace and Calm. These clever tools take you through guided meditations relating to different things like insomnia or anxiety. There are online courses you can take, too.

You can also practice mindfulness in other ways, like blowing bubbles, and focusing on the shapes, or colouring something and focusing on the colours and designs. There is also mindful listening, eating and walking. Each asks you to focus your mind on the task at hand. For example, mindful eating is observing how food makes you feel and the signals your body sends you about taste, satisfaction and fullness.

We don’t know how long the current coronavirus situation will last for or what will happen when it’s over. One thing we do know is that worrying about it won’t help or change the outcome, so learning how to tolerate uncertainty and how best you can cope with it, is a really important life skill.

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