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Deep Breaths - World Mental Health Day

Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
edited October 2017 in Mental health issues
It was World Mental Health Day this week and Mind have been giving tips to keep calm, they say:

Learning to breathe more deeply can make you feel a lot calmer and increase your sense of wellbeing. Take five minutes to try out this simple breathing exercise. Once you've got the hang of it you can use this technique anywhere - at work, at home or on the bus or tube - anytime you feel your stress level rising or need a moment of calm.

You can read some of our top tips about mental health here, they include tips like:

Try meditation and mindfulness exercises

While some may associate meditation with religious practices such as Buddhism, it is in its essence simply a technique for quietening the mind whilst increasing awareness of the world around us. Meditation is a focus on the present moment, without judgement or reaction.

It can help to reduce stress by allowing the mind to release those worrying thoughts that trigger the stress response, and by promoting a calmer state of mind.

You can find a short introduction on meditation and how to meditate here. There are also some handy apps for your phone or tablet, such as Buddhify and Headspace, which feature a range of short audio-guided meditations for different circumstances. These can be a simple and accessible way to give meditation a try, and you can also find a great many meditations videos by searching for ‘guided meditations’ on YouTube.

Get more physical exercise

When our ancestors fought or fled, not only did they remove the threat they faced, they also burned off the stress chemicals that had built up with a burst of intense physical activity. By getting more physical exercise of any kind – this can be difficult if you have mobility issues, but anything that builds up a sweat can do the job – you can help to reduce the build-up of stress chemicals in your body, and promote the release of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins.

Try a stress ball

Stress balls can be a simple yet effective way of dealing with stress, and can be purchased online for just a few pounds. Though they won’t deal with the root causes of your stress, the act of physically tensing and then releasing your muscles can help to relieve some of the tension you feel, and this in itself can have a calming effect.

Lose yourself in music, art or literature

Focusing on something that you enjoy and find engaging, whether by listening, looking or reading, can be a great stress reliever and can help lift your mind from your worries. Because mental health issues are often 
rooted in the thoughts we have (such as worries about physical health or benefits claims), simply focusing on something else for a while can help to alleviate some of the detrimental effects of dwelling in negativity.
 
Doing something you enjoy and really engaging  with it is also known to again promote the release of feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins.

Spend time with animals

Some people find interacting with animals very therapeutic. Even if you don’t have a pet such as cat or a dog, you might try visiting a local wildlife sanctuary or similar destination. Animals can also be very soothing for children with mental health issues, and one community member has even talked about how pet rats have been very calming for her daughter.

Try yoga

A member of the community described how practising yoga had helped them to deal with stress and mental health issues. They commented that, “yoga helps me with controlled breathing, and when I do it, it helps me to relax. It might not help everyone but there are plenty of yoga demonstration videos on YouTube if you fancy giving it a try.”



Please be aware that nothing presented here should be viewed as professional advice or guidance, and if you require immediate help, please refer to the links to the Samaritans and Mind websites and helplines. If you are feeling suicidal please ring the Samaritans for free on 116 123. If you believe you are a currently a danger to yourself, please visit your local hospital immediately.

There are many charities and other organisations that can provide support and advice for anyone experiencing mental health difficulties.

The Samaritans

If you need to talk to someone about your problems or mental health issues right now, call the Samaritans for free at any time 24/7, on 116 123. Though they are well known for talking to people who are suicidal, the Samaritans stress that their line is open to anyone who needs to talk.

Mind

Mind’s website has extensive information about different mental health conditions and the support available. You can also call their infoline on 0300 123 3393 to get advice and support, and they will be able to advise you on steps to take to get appropriate professional help as required.


What are your top tips for aiding positive emotional well being? Share with us now.

Scope
Senior online community officer
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