This week is Queensland Mental Health Week, a week where we look closely at individual and community mental health and wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing is the unique way in which we manage our thoughts and feelings and respond to stress. It encompasses the outlook we have on life and helps us achieve the most out of our lives. A healthy mental wellbeing enables us to feel more confident in ourselves and be more resilient when confronted with challenges. It helps us have a sense of purpose, improves our mood and aides us in building and maintaining relationships.
So how can we help create a healthier sense of mental wellbeing?
Some ideas are:
Look after our physical health
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a balanced diet of whole foods
- Aim for 30mins of physical activity each day, preferably in an outdoor environment
Maintain relationships with others
- Connect with those around us including friends, neighbours, colleagues and family – this helps build confidence in ourselves and aides our self esteem
Look after our mental and emotional health
- Take a few moments for ourselves each day
- Actively listen to a piece of music, or sounds in nature
- Participate in activities or tasks that give us meaning, purpose and joy
- Celebrate the small wins each day – small things we have achieved during the day that help us manage our day to day lives eg going for a walk, making time for lunch, tidying up, putting the clean washing away
- Recognising what is and is not in our control and acting accordingly – So much of what we worry about is actually out of our control and when we recognise this, we can learn to respond differently to these concerns and take action over the challenges that we can do something about
- Be mindful of our internal experience (thoughts, feelings, body sensations etc) and respond in a kind and compassionate way
Dropping an anchor
At times life is overwhelming for all of us. We experience difficult thoughts and feelings, as well as situations where we can feel out of control. At times it can feel as though we are the only ones struggling with life.
When we are feeling vulnerable our ability to respond flexibly to these difficult times can be challenged. We often find we react to situations, responding in ways that are not aligned with who we want to be as people. It’s almost as though our thoughts and feelings are pushing us around and controlling our behaviour. This is extremely normal!
Being able to drop an anchor enables us to hold ourselves steady, notice the emotional storm that is building inside us and let it come and go in its own time – just like an anchor on a boat. It helps us to pause, remind ourselves of how we may want to respond in this given moment and helps us behave with our arms, legs and mouths in ways that are important to us, even though we may be experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings. Below is a recording of a dropping anchor exercise for you to give this a go.
If you feel you would like more information or would like some support with how you are managing, counselling is available at Kids That Go.
B.Nursing, GradDipNursing (Mental Health), M.Counselling, a Nurse Counsellor in Brisbane and mother of 2 kids.