We all feel different levels of worry, concern, stress, fatigue, or feeling a bit flat here and there, some more than others. No matter what it is you’re feeling, your mental health is important!
There are simple things we can do to care for our mental health and feel better – simple but important and effective things.
We reached out to counsellor and psychotherapist, Heather Bunting from Melbourne and asked for her professional tips on how to help anxiety, depression, positive self-talk, and overall mental health for a calmer and happier mind.
Have a read of her wonderful and simple advice below. You will be sure to find at least one take-home tip that you will be able to incorporate into your life and wellbeing.
- WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS THAT WILL HELP RELAX A BUSY MIND AND A RACING HEART?
“When you find your heart racing and being unable to relax, here are a few things you might try:
Take some deep breaths – perhaps count 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 while you breathe in, then hold for the same count, breathe out for the same count and hold for the same count. If you do four of these slow breaths with concentration you will find your body will calm down and so will some of your thoughts. Practicing this four times a day will mean that when you start to feel your heart racing or you can’t relax, this practice will come to your mind.
Do a grounding exercise – This could be picking up an object near you, describe it in your mind as though to someone who is blind and cannot see the object. Describe the shape, color, texture, size and any other aspects of the object that you think will convey to the other person what that object is. Continue to focus on the details of that object until your anxiety calms.
Go for a walk – No matter how long or short (longer is better to get the endorphins activated but short if you are physically not able to walk far). As you walk, look around you – notice your surroundings. If you are outside, feel the air on your face, be aware of your footsteps on the ground, see the trees or plants or grass or roads, connect with as much as you can.
Listen to some music or a meditation app – Really give it your attention rather than having it playing as background. We can distract ourselves from our thoughts so we’re not nourishing and growing our negative thoughts.”
- HOW CAN POSITIVE SELF-TALK BE IMPROVED?
“Practice, practice, practice. This is the only way to improve our positive self-talk. Think of a sentence that works for you, for example, “I will get through this”, or “I am capable”, and use it to counter the negative thoughts.
You may need to repeat it over and over or write it in a journal (research has shown that 15 minutes of journal writing a day is good for our mental health).
If you find you can’t remember, give yourself the task of writing it 100 times a day in a journal or exercise book. It’s surprising how much we can do to help ourselves.”
- HOW DOES EXERCISE IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH?
“Exercise activates endorphins which are our ‘happy’ hormones which work in our brains to reduce pain and boost pleasure. They contribute to a sense of well being and good mental health.”