Mental Health Awareness week
Mental Health Awareness week
This week (11.-17.5.) celebrates the Mental Health Awareness week. You might find the ‘celebrates’ -word a bit of an odd choice of a word to be used in this case but why shouldn’t we celebrate mental health? We all have mental health. It is as important as the physical health - one can’t function without the other. Good mental health means feeling good – about life and yourself – and being able to get on with life in the way you want.
But how to maintain a good and balanced mental health? There are various ways you can help yourself. Mental Health Foundation has listed several effective and useful ways to improve your mental health – talk about your feelings, eat well, keep active, drink sensibly, and so on; click here for more information. NHS Choices have also listed very useful information on their website – click here to check more information.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness week specifically focuses on Mindfulness. You may have heard about it. I previously wrote a blog entry about Mindfulness, so please read it for further information; the blog entry also has a link to a very good Mindfulness exercise. According to the MHF: “Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness can be practiced standing, sitting and walking. It can be practiced both indoors and out; at home, in schools, at work or simply out and about. You can practice mindfulness for 5 minutes or 5 hours – that’s the great thing about mindfulness, you can tailor it to suit your own needs.” Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Welcome principal research fellow at the University of Oxford, says: "Mindfulness means non-judgemental awareness. A direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment." Professor Williams says that mindfulness can be an antidote to the “tunnel vision” that can develop in our daily lives, especially when we are busy, stressed or tired. "It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling, and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment. Awareness of this kind doesn’t start by trying to change or fix anything. It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives."
I have found Mindfulness to be very beneficial – both in my personal and professional life. I try to use Mindfulness techniques as often as I can; I have found it reduces stress and anxiety, and helps me to stay more focused. I also teach Mindfulness techniques to my clients, and many of them have found them beneficial.
Take a moment to focus on your being, and acknowledge what you are feeling – both physically and mentally. If your thoughts go wondering, just acknowledge that, and bring your attention back to the main focus. And don’t forget to breathe…
I want to wish you all good mental health. Don’t ignore it; you need it. If you feel your mental health is suffering, seek help – there is no shame in it. Celebrate your mental health!
Thank you.