MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
Hi everyone, hope you all had a great weekend!
As many of you know, it was Mental Health Awareness Week this week and it has been such a challenging year for all living through a pandemic with so many changes to our everyday lives.
Many of us are experiencing high stress levels, which can contribute to a rise in mental illness such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Individuals with underlying health issues such as diabetes and obesity seem to be even more at risk of experiencing mental illness because of low self-esteem and a reliance on medication. I aim to give guidance and useful information to get everyone through these unprecedented times and bring back feelings of happiness, balance, good health and calmness!
Let’s start with 13 tips…
Maintain a healthy diet filled with vegetables, fruit and protein.
Eat lots of high vibrational red and green foods such as strawberries, watermelon, oranges, apples, carrots and broccoli.
Avoid alcohol, smoking and processed fatty foods. Overconsumption of these could lead to having an addiction and this is more evident in individuals that suffer from mental illness.
Keep a gratitude journal and write something you are grateful for in your life daily.
Keep connected with family and friends via Skype or Zoom, phone and social media.
Keep active (1 hour a day of exercise).
Get enough sleep (7-8 hours a night is recommended).
Read, read and read – you can gain so much information from books.
Join online support groups in your community.
Do an online course that you have always wanted to do.
Find a hobby and incorporate that into your day.
Help others as they will give you a sense of purpose.
Keep a timetable of daily activities to provide structure to your day.
I would now like to explain the science and connect the dots and explain why mindfulness techniques are so important in managing our mental health!
Our brain is the most sophisticated structure in the universe because of its complexity and function. It is the centre point of thought, intelligence, movement, learning, emotions, hormone regulation, among many others.
The brain connects the mind to the body.
The cells in the brain are called neurons which carry electrical messages around the body.
Electrical transmission occurs when two neurons communicate with each other and pass on their messages. Chemicals known as neurotransmitters in the synaptic vesicles are released from the terminal end of the axon of one neuron and bind to the receptor site on the terminal dendritic end of the other neuron to produce the response.
Different neurotransmitters are released to produce specific responses: for example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that, when released, causes a happy response in our mental state. This can occur when there is a stimulus: for example, when essential oils such as orange, grapefruit and lemon are inhaled, our sense of smell instructs the brain to release serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters, which bring feelings of joy and calmness. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can affect your mood, sleep, memory and libido, and can cause addictions to drugs, alcohol and food. Serotonin contributes to our well-being and happiness, and dopamine contributes to pleasure, motivation and learning.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment and enjoying what life has to offer without being judgemental, and reconnecting with the simpler things in life such as being at one with yourself, nature, the earth and the animals. Mindfulness is unique to the individual. It could be reading your favourite book, having a pot of tea, gardening or going for a walk. Mindfulness techniques are a great way to combat mental illness and help to boost your immunity which is critical at this time. There are many benefits in using mindfulness techniques include: being in the present moment, feeling a great sense of calm, having more energy and enthusiasm, activating your senses such as touch, smell, sight and hearing, being one with yourself, showing compassion to others including animals, being yourself, living a peaceful life and having a balance in all areas of your life: work, play and rest.
This quote speaks out to me a lot: in order to have a calm and peaceful life, you must be happy every day, whether it is at work or at home. You can achieve this by being mindful in all that you do.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” - Albert Einstein
I would like to share some mindfulness techniques I use and find beneficial in times of stress and uncertainty:
Focusing on breathing – Spend at least 15 minutes a day concentrating on your breath; when breathing in take in all the oxygen to the mind and body, when breathing out release any tension you are feeling. You may wish to include some slow movements to help with the rhythm of your heart beat. Send gratitude to oxygen, the trees and your respiratory system.
Stretching – Spend at least 30 minutes a day concentrating on stretching all parts of the body. Yoga can be beneficial in this as it also helps you concentrate on feeling calm when you stretch.
Exercise – Spend at least 60 minutes a day walking, jogging or running outside if you are not self-isolating but you can incorporate indoor exercise as well including dancing, stair stepping, lifting hand weights and online workouts.
Find a nice comfortable place, lie down or sit, close your eyes and pay attention to your breath and your heartbeat and stay in this space for at least 20 minutes (block out any outside noise). Below I have provided a health recipe to create an uplifting meditation kit to make you feel vibrant and energised, which you can use to activate your senses during the meditation:
Uplifting meditation kit
• 2 drops of mandarin essential oil
• 2 drops of lime essential oil
• 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil
• 2 drops of lemon essential oil in 4.5ml of sweet almond oil in an amber glass drop bottle
containing a pinch of Himalayan salts and tiny quartz crystals
• Use orange and yellow crystals
•Say affirmation three times: I am vibrant, stress-free and energised!
If you would like to know about bridging the gap between Science and Spirituality and learning how to bring harmony, tranquility and abundance in all areas of your life, click below to purchase a signed copy of the book: