Time to fo­cus on men­tal well­be­ing

South Canterbury Herald - - TEMUKA NEWS - CHRIS­TINE MACFAR­LANE

Fo­cus­ing on in­creas­ing our men­tal and emo­tional health is just as im­por­tant as look­ing after our phys­i­cal health.

Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week is a re­minder for us to re­view our well­be­ing, and take time to do an emo­tional ‘war­rant of fit­ness’.

Men­tal Health Aware­ness week fo­cuses on the five ways to well­be­ing with this year’s theme be­ing ‘Na­ture is Key’.

Good men­tal health has a pos­i­tive im­pact on our physcial well­be­ing and life sat­is­fac­tion.

With im­proved men­tal and emo­tional health peo­ple are able to nav­i­gate the chal­lenges of life with more ca­pa­bil­ity and have the reslience to cope bet­ter when faced with dif­fi­cul­ties. On­go­ing in­creased stress lev­els have a long term im­pact on peo­ple which at times can de­velop into into de­bil­ti­at­ing ill­ness such as anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

Coun­selling or Talk­ing Ther­apy is a well re­searched in­ter­ven­tion that helps peo­ple to with stress, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, work chal­lenges, grief and loss, sub­stance abuse and ad­dic­tions, life changes, re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily, friends and work col­leagues, trauma, abuse, bul­ly­ing, do­mes­tic and sex­ual vi­o­lence.

Try some of these healthy mind habits to cor­po­rate into daily life which sup­ports men­tal health: Spend time out­side - take a walk and savour the mo­ment, lis­ten­ing to the birds, be­ing aware of the sur­round­ings.

Slow­ing down and tak­ing a few breaths, this will ac­ti­vate your parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem, your calm down sys­tem de­creas­ing your stress lev­els. Re­la­tion­ships and com­mu­ni­ca­tion - Check in with how you speak to your­self and oth­ers. Do you come from a place of kindess and re­spect? Are your be­ing your own best friend?

Learn­ing skills and strate­gies in com­mu­ni­ca­tion is help­ful for ev­ery­one.

Par­ent­ing can be es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing and it can be use­ful to get sup­port. En­sure you are get­ting enough sleep, go­ing to bed early enough and tak­ing a break from elec­tron­ics for at least one hour be­fore you go to sleep. Healthy work habits - de­creas­ing stress by en­sur­ing you take your breaks, re­view­ing your work load, in­creas­ing the time you spend with your col­leagues talk­ing in a pos­i­tive way. Try im­ple­ment­ing ran­dom acks of kind­ness at your work­place. Mind­ful­ness - mind­ful­ness means pay­ing at­te­nion in the mo­ment, with­out judge­ment. Notic­ing the sounds, the smells,the sen­sa­tions in your body and the thoughts go­ing through your mind.

Mind­ful­ness helps to de­crease stress and in­crease pos­i­tive neu­ral path­waysin the brain. Try 10 min­utes a day for a month. (APPs to try out are Smil­ing Mind, Headspace, Stop Breathe Think) Grat­i­tude - start­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal. At the end of each day write down ‘3 Good Things’.

Three things you no­ticed dur­ing the day that you felt thank­ful for such as - a morn­ing cup of tea, a sun­shine day, a smile from a col­league, blos­som on the tree etc.

Find an coun­sel­lor regis­tered with NZ As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­sel­lors to talk about get­ting an men­tal and emo­tional war­rant of fit­ness.

http://www.nzac.org.nz/nzac_ coun­sel­lor_search.cfm

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