Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Mental Heath ~ Daily practices




I mentioned briefly in a previous post, the daily exercises/practices I do, to try and keep a strong, healthy, positive mind. Here I'm going to go into a bit more detail.

I believe they should be done daily. Have a little you time, to recharge. Obviously it isn't the end of the world if you don't do these everyday. Don't kick yourself. But the benefits are amazing, you will end up making time. And with most of them, you can do them anywhere, anytime and or throughout the day.
 
Here is what I do:
 
Meditate for 10-30 minutes
Get plenty of sleep
Fresh Air, even if its just opening a window
Read
Practice Gratitude
Be Mindful and Present 
Surround myself with positive affirmations
Do something you love
Morning Pages
 
Meditate

I have already shared my advice and tips on Mediation in a post HERE. Please check that out.
I like to meditate for 10 minutes in the morning before I get out of bed.
Meditate before I go to sleep. And if I need to I will at any point during the day. Just to bring myself back to the present moment and switch off my brain.
 
Sleep
 
I like my sleep, I try and do get 7 - 8 hours of sleep. There are a lot of benefits of getting a good nights sleep.
Your body gets to repair/recover. You have more energy. Keeps your heart healthy. Reduces Stress. Makes you more alert and helps improve your memory.
To get a good nights sleep; I make sure all electrical items are switched off. The room is dark. I have the air vents in our windows open. I no longer check social media before I go to bed, I actually make sure I leave my Ipod in the living room. I no longer have it in the bedroom. That habit was quite hard to break. And once I'm comfortable. Meditate :). 
 
Fresh Air
 
I work from home, in a flat, in London. So I don't get outside much, and you are probably thinking how do I get fresh air living in London. Well, all I can say is I get what I can. I'm lucky where I live there is a lot of Trees and plants. And my home is full of plants. If I don't get the chance to leave the house, I will open the window. Getting some fresh air, clears my mind and it makes you happier.



 
Read
 
I like to sit and relax with a proper (not a kindle) book. I like to switch off from a screen. And apparently reading helps sharpen your brain. The range of books I read vary. I'm a big fan of 'self help' books they help keep myself motivated.

 

 
 
Practice Gratitude
 
For years I've seen / read / heard people talk about Gratitude. I always thought I'm always thankful for what I have. I just thought that was what it meant, why are they consistently going on about it?.
So I researched, and found it really is so much more. You need to practice gratitude daily and whenever you can.
Being grateful helps you keep present and focus on the positive. I've heard people mention, think of at least three things you are grateful for in the morning and or in the evening and it sets your mind in the right direction. I thought I would give this ago.
I have seen gratitude journals a lot so I decided to make my own, in my own journal. Every evening I will write down the 'highlights' of the day. I will only write down positive things, whether they are achievements, things that happened or received. Or just what I'm grateful for. 
Some evenings I go to write and I can't think of anything, then all of a sudden I can't stop writing. 
Its true what they say ~ Positive Attracts Positive. Think positive and positive things will happen. Some days I run out of space to write things. I actually look forward to writing it.
 
 
Mindful and Presence  
 
When you do the above and along with everything else you do, being mindful and present is the main point. Being in the moment helps you concentrate and pay attention to what really is going on, in and around you.
 
 
Have you ever been with someone and they are just glued to their phone. Have you ever felt the person you are with is distracted, and/or not paying attention. It doesn't feel great, does it?
I try my best to be in the moment. I'm no way perfect at it, but I really do my best.
 
Presence is the best Present. Your time and presence means a lot.
 
I try and be mindful in everything I do from working out, watching T.V., eating and even brushing my teeth.
 
Giving your full attention, really paying attention to the task helps complete them correctly, and when that happens you feel happy and accomplished.  It is really calming and can make you aware of your body and can help switch off the self talk. Which we all know we need to pay attention to that.
Trust me even with the little things when you have given your full attention you will feel it. And you will be surprised with what you have missed. Pay attention to your mind, body and surroundings. It will always tell you what's going on.
 

 
Positive Affirmations
 
The more you say things, the more you will believe them. It's how your subconscious mind works.  Surround yourself with positive affirmations, even set alarms or notes on your phone if you need to. Make sure one or more positive affirmations are relating to what you desire. Repeat them every day.


 
Remember: What You Think, You Become. Make sure its Positive.
 

Do something you Love

For me that something is being creative. Everyday I do something crafty, whether its crocheting, card making, upcycling or just some doodling in my journal. Its never a day wasted when I create something :) Crafting makes me happy.



Morning Pages

Morning pages is new in my life. I came across it by accident and thought it was a good thing to start. In other words you could call it conscious writing. Every morning, before you start anything. You write 3 pages. Yep, write 3 pages. At first I was like, What??? 3 pages of what? How will I write 3 pages? What do I write about?
Well, let me tell you it is easy. Well, I ended up finding it easy. I found it so surprising what falls out on to the paper. Yes, there is the occasional, I don't know what to write, written amongst my 3 pages. But I have been shocked at what is on my mind and more surprisingly I get my answer. I don't do this every morning. I do my best too though, and I really notice a difference in my day when I miss it. And I normally time myself. I sit there for 30 minutes. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on what I write and sometimes I don't make it to 3 whole pages. I really recommend you give morning pages a go, even if you don't do it every day, or even not write in the morning, whenever you feel like it. You will be surprised what is going on in your head and the clarity it gives you.

All you need is a notebook or scrap paper and something to write with.
You don't need to keep them. Or re read them. I believe, along with others, its best to write by hand than type. Because

"When you write by hand, you connect more deeply to your thoughts." ~ Julia Cameron

But like with everything else, what ever works best for you.

Here is a video from Lavendaire talking about morning pages.

  

I hope you have found something helpful, and can take something away from this. I'm one to admit and I even said in my meditation post, I never thought any of this would work and its not for me. But I proved myself wrong. I'm not saying I'm an expert in this. We all have days when we just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing and think nothing will help. Just take each day as it comes and do one of the things I have mentioned above.

I'm not a psychologist, I have and still do study psychology and the brain.
A little mindfulness and positivity can go a long way.
If you find that none of these things are working or can't find your own. Please seek medical advice.

What do you do to help keep you mentally strong? 

Till next time ~ Stay Healthy

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: My Fitness Journey update ~ Yoga & Anxiety and or Meditation 

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