With mental illness and substance abuse on the rise due the rise of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, I thought it would be useful to talk about how we can improve our mental health in as little a 5 minutes a day!
Mental health is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his/her/their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community", according to the World Health Organization.
The reason why anxiety disorders are on the rise today is that we are no longer experiencing “normal” stressors. It feels as if we are all in a pressure cooker and many of us are not able to cope with the increase in ”temp”.
What we need is in these current circumstances is mental/psychological resiliency. Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. And the good news is, this is a skill anyone can develop!
Whether we do it or not, we all understand that an exercise routine is necessary for our overall health, the same goes for our mental well-being. It’s important to have a consistent regimen that not only provides us with some calm and clarity daily, but will also set us up to quickly find our way back to peace when the emotional storms come.
There are many factors in our daily routine that affect our mental and emotional well-being like getting good quality sleep, exercise and a clean diet and then there are some, less obvious, practices that can make a big impact over time. These include:
connecting with family, friends or colleagues. We are social creatures and, even if you consider yourself an introvert, we all need to feel like we “belong” to and relate to other people.
learning something new. One of our human needs is to evolve, to learn and to grow. Studies have shown that feeling stagnate for long periods of time can bring on feelings of sadness and/or depression.
Giving to others. Another human need is to contribute, we love to help and uplift other humans, it makes us feel fulfilled on a deep level. It’s amazing how quickly people will jump to the need of others they‘ve never met before during natural disaster or similar tragedies. Helping others is like comfort food for the soul.
Paying attention to the present moment AKA mindfulness. Our minds are on overdrive in todays environment because of the news, social media, netflix, apps, etc, most of us rarely look up from our technology. This means our brains are always “turned on”. Too much technology can lead to heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impaired brain development, and disrupted sleep according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. If we are not already, we need moments throughout the day when we are still or when we are fully present and engaged with a “real life” activity.
Based on these factors, we can build a new routine to improve our mental health by choosing to spend as little as 5 minutes a day doing any of the following:
phoning a friend
listening to a podcast/reading on a subject you are curious about
writing a thank you letter
taking some deep breathes
enjoying the outdoors
Or get creative and add a 5 min activity to your day that boosts your mood or makes you feel peaceful.
After a few weeks/months, once this has become a habit, try adding more time and adding another exercise. Small changes to our routine have a big impact over time and when we start to see positive changes, we get encouraged and healthy habits begin to dominate.
And who doesn’t have 5 minutes for their health?
If you’re having trouble prioritizing your time, need more clarity on how this will work for you or if you need an accountability partner, I may have a coaching package that will work for you, just reach out for a complimentary clarity call.
What do you do for your daily for your mental health? I want to hear from you!
🤍 your coach,