Like the weather this time of year, our emotional and mental wellbeing can be polarized. But what if you are struggling to find the sun breaking through the clouds? The first port of call is to speak to your GP, but there is some affirmative action you can take yourself too.
Try these easy, practical things you can do to help.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS – REDUCE ANXIETY
Do you find yourself worrying about things that “might” happen? Do you replay things that went wrong over and over in your head?
How much of your stress and worry could be eliminated if you just stayed focused on the moment? Mindfulness teaches you to concentrate on the now, leaving the pains of the past and worries of the future for another time.
Many people miss out on the small joys in life because they fail to connect with and enjoy the moment. When we live too much inside our head’s life can feel stressful, dull, and empty.
So how do you live mindfully? Pay attention. Focus on your breathing, pay attention to your senses and fully engage in the task you are partaking in. Going for a walk? Notice how the air feels as it hits your lungs, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and appreciate the beauty of the colours in the leaves. By connecting fully with the present, you can let go of your worries, release your past anxieties, and find peace living in the moment.
LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING
Life is messy. Things do go wrong and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to avoid it. You might not have a choice that can stop problems from arising, but you can choose how you handle them. When things do not go as we would like it can be easy to slip into a negative spin, focusing on all that’s wrong, unfair or awful because of it. But all this does is amplify the problem. Instead, look for the silver lining. Often there is something good that comes out of every curveball. Sure, it may not have been your first choice, but focusing on the good can help you feel less stressed and more positive about the future.
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
Everyone makes mistakes. When you get things wrong it can be tempting to beat yourself up about it. But this only makes things worse. Next time you get something wrong, cut yourself some slack. Even the smartest people in the world make mistakes! Instead of ruminating on your mistake and revelling in guilt, look for the lesson that you can learn from it. What did you misjudge? What can you do differently next time? Learn from it, forgive yourself and move on.
TALK TO SOMEONE
When you are feeling flat, down or stressed it can be tempting to bottle it all up. But the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” really is true. Sometimes just talking about how you are feeling can reduce the overwhelm and make you feel better. You do not need to find solutions to all the problems in the world, just a friendly ear to listen. But no one wants to hear about your problems, right? Wrong. Your close friends and family are there to support you, through the good times and the bad. They will not want you to suffer in silence.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
And finally, your physical health can have a big impact on your mental health. If you are in pain, lacking energy or suffering from poor health then it can be hard to keep a positive mindset. By eating healthily, exercising regularly, and ensuring your body is in alignment then you can increase your energy, improve your mood, and enjoy a more positive life.
IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP
All these things can help you to feel the love again and start to enjoy life but if you are struggling with depression or experiencing suicidal thoughts then please do ask for help. The Samaritans helpline is open and ready to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you never need to fight your feelings alone. You can reach them on 116 123. MIND is a charity created to support and empower people struggling with mental health. Visit www.mind.org.uk to find out more.