NURTURING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING LOCKDOWN Part 3
Provided by Mindfulness and Resilience Expert –
Cheryl is working with memcom and Associations Week to provide seminars and downloads on practical help for nurturing your mental health.
In the current challenging times we are all living in at the moment, we at Giraffe Resilience would like to offer you some suggestions to boost your resilience.
In current circumstances anxiety may be raised in lots of people you know and interact with and moods are contagious! These sensations and feelings may be new to you or they may be very familiar but more intense.
Here are a few more techniques that you may like to focus on to help build your resilience and lessen your anxiety.
Research has shown that grateful people tend to experience greater positive emotions, such as more frequent contentment, happiness and hope.
This exercise involves expressing gratitude to someone you may not have properly thanked, for something specific they have done for you. Just the act of writing a GRATITUDE LETTER & never sending it will have powerful psychological benefits, but if you add the step of reading the letter to the other person, it becomes the GRATITUDE VISIT and the benefits are amplified.
Make it special, maybe using a beautiful note card or high quality writing paper.
Be specific. Try to think of any thoughts or feelings you’ve had but never expressed to the individual. Explain how they have made an impact on your life.
Read the letter out loud to them. It will add a personal touch & add to the sincerity, via phone or video call.
You may also want to write a letter to yourself during this pandemic, what would you like to say to your future self about what you are going through and how grateful you are for the way you are dealing with the situation.
Nurture & Deplete
What we actually do with our time from moment to moment, hour to hour and one year to the next, can be a very powerful influence affecting our general well-being and our ability to respond skilfully to the challenges in our lives. Now might be the perfect time for reflection on what truly Nurtures you and what Depletes you and how you would like to change this going forward.
You might like to ask yourself the following questions:
Of the things that I do and take in, what nourishes me? What energises me and makes me feel calm and grounded? What increases my sense of actually being alive and present, rather than merely existing?
( N activities)
Of the things I do and take in, what depletes me? What pulls me down, drains my energy, makes me feel tense? What decreases my sense of being alive, what makes me feel as if I am just existing?
( D activities)
Now make a list of your daily activities and mark which Nurture you and which Deplete you.
How can you choose to increase your time and effort in the things that nurture you? How could you learn to approach the things that deplete you in a different way?
Pink Bucket Thinking
Imagine a future goal that you are trying to achieve. Start by listing all the unhelpful thoughts that may prevent you from reaching this goal.
‘I’ll never make it happen’
‘I’m not up to the challenge’
‘What if people think…’
This is you standing in your green bucket.
Now flip your thinking and stand in your pink bucket. Take each unhelpful thought and flip it into a helpful thought. Ask yourself
‘What If I could…’
‘I don’t need to know everything right now; I can discover the missing pieces as I go’
‘What other people think doesn’t matter…’
People with a growth mindset are more likely to make an effort when things don’t go according to plan and are more resilient when faced with setbacks or failure.
Reflect on how you are dealing with the current situation. Think about how you would feel and what sort of things you would think if you had a fixed mindset. What problems might your fixed mindset cause you?
How would it be different if you had a growth mindset and believed that skills can always improve, challenge is an opportunity to grow and feedback is something to learn from?
‘What can you learn from this?’
‘What mistake did you make that taught you something?’
‘What strategy could you try now?’
The Butterfly Hug
If you are suffering from anxious thoughts and symptoms of anxiety at the moment the butterfly hug is a simple and very beneficial technique to help calm both the body and the mind.
First begin by bringing the focus of your attention to your breath.
Then pay attention, and notice any emotions that are coming up, any physiological indicators and judgments of yourself and continue to breathe.
Imagine your hands are the wings of a butterfly and cross your hands over your chest where the wings are resting just below your collar bone. I like to hook my thumbs as a place to feel anchored.
Begin slowly tapping, alternating left and right, left and right and continue tapping for 30 seconds to a few minutes if desired and it feels calming and grounding.
Continue to hold awareness with yourself, slowing the mind and the body with each breath, being with any and all emotions that come up for you moment by moment.
Please see my other blogs for further tips.
Cheryl Harrison, Mindfulness Teacher & a Counselling Psychotherapist