“Mental wellbeing” is a phrase that’s enjoyed a well-deserved surge in interest over the last few years. The stressors of our modern day lifestyles have placed our mental health under more threat than ever before, with a billion dollar industry springing up in response, offering pills, recipes, meditation techniques and tools, all purporting to mitigate the effects of our stressful lives.
While the path to mental wellbeing may seem littered with dollar signs, acai berries, and yoga pants, The Mental Health Foundation NZ is holding up a much simpler method. They are encouraging New Zealanders to incorporate five specific actions into their daily lives – give, connect, take notice, keep learning, and be active.
While these are simple actions, it can still be a struggle to incorporate these into your daily life. We’ve unpacked a few ways to make these actions just that little bit easier:
While we know that getting active can be as simple as going for a walk each day, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the lift, finding the motivation can be difficult. If that’s you, you may want to consider enrolling in a group class. Pilates and yoga are great options as they are both gentle and incorporate mindfulness techniques into their practice.
Giving does not need to be money. It can be as simple as taking the time to look outside of yourself each day, extending a smile to someone when you feel down in the dumps, or sending a text to a friend to let them know how much you value them.
Human connection is vital to wellbeing but sometimes accessing this can feel beyond our control. However, there are practical steps you can take. Find a bonding point with others by joining a hobby club or enrolling in a group exercise class, the external focal point can be a low-pressure way to build new friendships. Human touch is also a good mood booster, releasing oxytocin and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, so grab a massage for a quick fix when you are feeling down in the dumps.
Ahhh mindfulness – this is a great one and easy to place on the back burner when you are busy. Take the time to slow down and notice the little things in your day. The taste of your coffee on the back of your tongue, the rise and fall of your breath, the flower that budded by your letterbox. If you struggle to slow down, Pilates and Tai Chi classes can be a great tool for developing those mindfulness muscles.
While this is not something that springs to mind immediately when thinking about wellbeing, setting goals and remaining curious about the world around you is key to promoting good mental health. You don’t need to enroll in a night class or go back to school to do this though. Learn to cook a new healthy meal or set yourself a physical goal, killing two birds with one stone.
To learn more visit: www.mentalhealth.org.nz