Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Be aware, take notice to improve wellness
The Deniliquin Mental Health Awareness Group continues to challenge the community to take part in the Deni 5 in 5 challenge, based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.
Next week, we explore how being more aware and taking notice can improve wellbeing.
Being aware refers to the concept of mindfulness, gratitude and meditation, yoga and a whole lot of other activities that focus one’s attention on the present moment.
Being aware means to be aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise, without getting lost in them.
This can increase our ability to keep calm, reduce stress, think clearly, cope better with difficult situa- tions and improve mood.
Many studies have shown that thinking about the past too much, and worrying about the future, is strongly linked with anxiety and depression.
Although it is natural to respond to the stresses in our lives by thinking about them, it has been shown that by focusing on the present moment, we reduce negative thoughts and maintain a level of calmness, which is good for one’s mental health and wellbeing.
‘‘Although the concept of mindfulness might be new to some, it has been around for centuries,’’ private mental health practitioner and MHAG member Lourene Liebenberg said.
‘‘There are simple and easy day-to-day things we can all do to become more aware.
‘‘The simple act of breathing and focusing on this breath, slowing it down and feeling it move through our body can make a big difference.
‘‘Slowly releasing the breath, dropping our shoulders and saying the word ‘relax’ when doing so enables us to take control in that moment.
‘‘The wonderful thing about using our breath as a ‘tool’ is that we have it with us every minute of every day.
‘‘We can simply grab hold of it, to instil a sense of control and calm, in that moment. As many times a day as we can.
‘‘We do not need an app for this. We do not need to stop doing what we are doing, we can do it on the run. Do this at home and at work.’’
Mrs Liebenberg said doing yoga or tai chi can help the body to stretch and move, and each has an emphasis on being aware of our breathing which relaxes and tones our bodies as well as improving our mood.
‘‘There are many online tools available to help with this practice, but we also have fitness and wellbeing centres such as Evolve and Motiv8 providing classes where we can learn these skills.
‘‘Lesley Hills, known as The Laughter Lady and who runs the Deni Laughter Club, offers laughter yoga for free to anyone in the community.
‘‘You can also visit https://www.denimentalhealth.org.au/wellness for more ideas.’’
Anyone requiring crisis support can contact Accessline on 1800 800 944, Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Information is also available at