October is celebrated as the Mental Health month across over 100 countries to promote mental health and wellbeing. The 2019 Mental Health Month theme for ACT is ' Conversations and Connection’ promoting the idea that intentional conversations are crucial in supporting mental health and wellbeing and reinforce the notion that we are not alone. Feeling connected to each other and our communities builds confidence, gives us a sense of belonging and brings meaning to our lives.
We can strengthen our connections with others by first focusing on more personal connection that can help us in nurturing a state of mental, emotional wellbeing. And that is the connection with the self. There are various ways through which to build a state of wellbeing – yoga, meditation, mindfulness, exercising, and other forms of self-care. Whatever the means, let it make a positive difference in your life in terms of supporting your own mental health and of those around you.
CONNECT WITH YOURSELF
If you can connect with yourself, you will feel a deep sense of inner calm and wellbeing spread all over you. Calm that you can carry into the most demanding and challenging situations. While there are many ways to look after one’s mental wellbeing, here are a few handy tips and exercises that can be practiced on-the-go to stay connected with ourselves and carry the inner calm.
The power of a single deep breath is more than one can imagine. So just breathe! Learn to use the power of breath to counter your body’s natural response to stress. When anxious or stressed, our breathing tends to become shallow and short. You can combat signs of stress by deepening and improving the quality of your breath. Here is an exercise on mindful breathing, which can be practiced anytime, anywhere, on-the-go.
- Close your eyes and place your hands on your abdomen.
- Inhale deeply – feel your breath travelling downward and the rise in your belly as you inhale deeply.
- Exhale – feel the breath travelling up through the belly out through your nostrils as you exhale fully and completely.
- Imagine all the stress leaving your body with your breath.
- Repeat steps 2,3 and 4 ten times.
“When we observe the flow of our breathing, we transcend our thoughts and are able to bring mind and body into harmony with each other. Thus, we create calm.” – Christopher Dimes
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Be Here Now. Here’s how you can be present in the moment and make each moment calmer and more peaceful. Simply check in with yourself by taking a few moments to just notice.
Look out the window – it could be out of the window of your house/workplace/moving car – Notice the colour of the sky. Notice the view. Take in the colours and movement you can see from the window.
Drink mindfully – Take deliberate and slow sips of your drink. With each sip, notice the sensation it causes inside your mouth. Feel the warmth of the tea as you take a sip and let it flow into your body.
Feel the cool of the drink as it flows into your body.
Mindful walking exercise – Take a walk, look around you and notice your surroundings. Take considered conscious steps and with every step feel the stable ground beneath your feet. Feel the warm sun on your skin. Notice how the air feels on your face, is it cool/ warm? Notice the other people around you. look our for birds. The one the just flew across the sky, the one sitting in a tree.
Notice it all and you will return with a quieter mind.
“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” Rumi
Meditation helps us to find our inner silence. Follow the steps of a visualising meditation to cultivate
calm and serenity:
- Close your eyes, breathe gently and imagine yourself in a comfortable and peaceful place.
- Build a scene for yourself. You could be at a beach, top of a mountain, by a stream in a garden.
- Notice this place and your surroundings in this place. Notice how it feels in this place. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell?
- Spend a few minutes in this place until you are ready to open your eyes.
- Gently open your eyes and come back out of the visualisation.
- Reflect on how this meditation has made you feel.
Use this visualisation technique whenever you feel the need to quieten the chatter and chaos within you..
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.” Pema Chodron
There YouGo! Some handy tips on how to connect with yourself in the midst of chaos. Let us
befriend ourselves as we find our inner calm and form better connections with others to help them in their journey of mental wellbeing.
Yours in wellbeing
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