A Place to Reflect

Something Positive for Mental Health Awareness Week

This week, 10th-16th May 2021 is Mental Health Awareness week. But, to be honest, our mental health is something that we should all be looking after all year long. The theme chosen for this week is Nature because connecting with nature is so good for our mental health and there are lots of ways we can do this.

Going for a Walk

As someone who doesn’t get out a lot, I’ve noticed that when I do I take much more notice of the things around me. I used to rush to the shops, get what I needed and rush back, but even on those trips there is something that can make you stop and enjoy. Once, I saw a little robin in a bush and I just felt compelled to stop and look, he was so cute, for a moment I felt my spirit lifted. I connected with nature.

Of course a walk in a place full of nature is much more rewarding than a trip to the shops, and even in my wheelchair there have been places I could visit and just enjoy the scenery. From when I was very young, I’ve always enjoyed the bluebell woods.

For more than five years I’ve been stuck at home for most of the time, but there is nothing I like more than listening to the bird song at my back door when I get up in the morning. Or even just looking at the trees and wondering about the life they contain. I’m not very green fingered, but this year I am actually managing to keep some plants alive. I’m hoping for a garden in bloom for summer.

Mindfulness

One of my main tools for keeping my mental health in check is Mindfulness. I try to spend a little time each day just focusing on nothing in particular. I can be meditating or listening to Schumann Resonance just to ground myself.

But if keeping your mind really blank is a problem their are many other mindful activities. Colouring, breathing techniques, yoga, visualisation or even crafts.

I use my LSW Mind Cards to help me. They now have a New Mums edition as well as a Kids Edition. Their journals and notebooks are also lovely. I am an affiliate for Mind Cards so I may earn a little money if you click through and purchase something, even though it won’t cost you any extra, so thank you.

I’ve had my Mind Cards for over a year now and still use them every day.

Positive Mind Training

I recently tried a Positive Mind Training Course which I found really useful. It helped me to choose how I react to things differently and more positively. I even found some of the things I learned where helpful to my daughter who is currently doing her GCSEs. It’s a really good tool for mental health awareness.

The first part of the course is free, but still worth listening to. The Positive Mind Training course is Part of a bigger initiative called Change a Billion Minds a ‘not for profit’ company that has a big aim of improving the lives of many people and help change the world for the better.

positive mind training for mental health week

Learn Something New

Learning new things can be great for our mental health and I have recently completed a course at The Centre of Excellence. Again, I am an affiliate so if you click through and purchase a course then I may earn some money at no extra cost to you.

The Centre of Excellence offers so many different courses from Child Education, to Beauty Therapy, Life Coaching to Writing Courses, History to Business Marketing. You can even learn how to set up your own online course.

If you need a little extra help with your mental health you could always choose a course on Mindfulness or Reiki.

Some of the courses are expensive, but sign up for the newsletter and you will get some fabulous bargains. I got my course for just £29, and there are free courses on offer too.

What do you do to improve your mental health? If you ever need to talk you can always find me on Twitter or Facebook and message me for a chat.

Take care and stay happy and healthy x

A Place to Reflect, health, Motivation

Ten Steps to Combat Stress in April

April is Stress awareness month and with dealing with the pandemic and now the aftermath and trying to get back to normal, stress is very real for so many at the moment. I hope I can give you some pointers to combat stress today.

I recently did a stress test on Stress.org and it came back that I have high stress in my life. It didn’t really come as a surprise. As a disabled mum of five, three of them have disabilities too, it can be extremely stressful for me.

Combat Stress

There are some simple things you can do to combat stress. I don’t have all the answers, but here are few ideas that may help. Remember, if things do get real bad for you, there is always help available

Ten Stress busting Steps

  1. Try to be more positive
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Get a good nights sleep
  4. Exercise More
  5. Use your technology items less
  6. Get to grips with time management
  7. Drink More
  8. Say No
  9. Practice Deep Breathing
  10. Prioritise your health

I’m not saying it’s easy. Even looking at that list causes me stress. I hate shopping and trying to eat healthy, but I do feel so much better after a healthy meal. It’s hard for me to exercise being disabled, but it’s not so hard to look after myself a little better.

Did you know that if you feel thirsty then you are already dehydrated. Hydration makes your body work so much better. Because of the treatment I have I need to drink a lot of water every day or I end up with terrible headaches. You can always ‘spruce’ up your water by drinking squash or cold tea, a favourite of mine.

Sleep is a problem for a lot of people, but if you try some of the other stress busting ideas, like an improved diet and less tech. Then sleep problems can improve.

The list is not extensive but a lot of the ideas work together, master one or two and the others can be easier. Even exercise, being disabled I find it really difficult, but I do try to move regularly. I definitely feel worse if I stay put for too long. It doesn’t matter how much you do, you just need to do what you can.

Mindfulness

I’m a big believer in mindfulness and wrote a post about it. To practice mindfulness you just need to be in the here and now and stop focusing on the past or the future. Over on the LSW Mind Card Site, you can find lots of things that can help with your quest to become more mindful. By joining the mailing list you can receive some amazing offers and this month, every Monday they are sending out really useful stress busting tips. I am an affiliate for LSW Mind Cards so if you click through any of my links I may earn a commission. It won’t cost you any extra though and I would only endorse the products if I really liked them. I use my Mind Cards daily. Today I picked:

Reflection: Take 10 undistracted minutes to reflect on the following quote and how it applies to your life in this moment…

Our Greatest Glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall

Confucius

Sometimes I spend the 10 minutes writing my thoughts in my journal.

combat stress with mind notes

Over on my Facebook page for this blog I’m going to attempt to share some stress busting tips on a regular basis throughout the month. I do hope you will join me.

I’ll also be asking for your stress busting tips.

A Place to Enjoy, A Place to Reflect

LSW Mind Cards – A Review and Free Gift (but hurry!)

Please note: I am an affiliate for LSW Mind Cards and although I have not been compensated for this post, if you purchase anything in the future from one of my links I will earn a little bit of commission. Thank you so much for supporting my blog.

LSW Mind Cards

CREATE THE LIFE YOU WANT

LSW Mind Cards are a pack of 45 individually designed cards each with a tool or task to help you increase your wellbeing, boost your mood and help you move towards a more fulfilled life.

By introducing positive habits into your everyday, Mind Cards will give you the power to create the healthiest and happiest life for you.

A Free Gift

For the next few days you can get this Relaxation Download worth £2.99 using the code – freelaxation. The recording helps you to relax and drift off for some much-needed ‘me time’.
Why not take advantage this weekend and treat yourself.

I’ve been reading through the e-book, Getting to Know You, by Lili Sinclair Williams, the creator of LSW Mind Cards. I can thouroughly recommend the opportunity for a little self discovery. In this busy world it’s easy to forget who we really are and what we want from life.

The book and the cards both help you to become more mindful, but it’s broken down into manageable chunks. It’s a sad life if you can’t afford to spend just 10 minutes on yourself.

LSW Mind Cards

lsw mind cards spread out

Each day I take a card from my pack of LSW Mind Cards and read what it says, it could be any one of the five catagories, kindness, ritual, gratitude, gratitude, journal or reflection. Then I do what is written on the card. I have started keeping a journal for writing down things that need to be written, but not all the cards require this. Even the Journal cards can just be spent thinking rather than writing down if you don’t wish to.

What do you think? Is this something you could incorporate into your life? Can you take just a few minutes each day to focus on yourself?

Please take advantage of the free download while you can and see what you think.

A Place to Reflect

What is Mindfulness

mindfulness ˈmʌɪn(d)f(ʊ)lnəs/ noun

  1. 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

    When practising Mindfulness you are in the here and now, you are not lost in thought, or being distracted or being overwhelmed by difficult emotions. It is a form of meditation where you are aware of your surroundings.  

We spend a lot of our time being lost in thought, and a lot of those thoughts can be negative making us unhappy. Why do we spend so much time doing something that is potentially harmful to our mental well-being?   It can take as little as 10 minutes per day to make an impact on our lives. Just 10 minutes of mindfulness to give our minds a rest and help it become more clear, to keep us in the present moment and to learn how to deal with the negativity and unhappiness in our lives.  

When you are not acting in a mindfulness way your mind is trapped on categories drawn in the past and characterized  by reliance on distinctions. You see things in a single perspective and are insensitive to context.   

Do you frequently make silly mistakes, even at the most basic level, perhaps you forget to put your teabag in your cup when making a cup of tea? This is a state of mindlessness where you are letting your thoughts override your actions, when you are not in the present moment and thinking about what you are doing but relying on past routine.  

People who are not mindful get trapped by their past thoughts and emotions and find it difficult to move on. They are either thinking about the past or the future so much that they forget about the present. You need to be in the present more for a healthier way of dealing with past and future emotions.   

When you are mindful you are situated in the present and are sensitive to context and perspective. You are guided by rules and routine but not governed by them. You will experience engagement.   It is a fact that most of our suffering, both psychological and physical is a direct or indirect effect of mindlessness.  

By challenging mindlessness we can become more aware of the present and change the way we react to social and cultural cues.We can change ingrained behaviours that sap health, creativity, optimism and vitality from our lives.  

So, how do we become more mindful?

  You need to start with yourself. Ask yourself how people see you and then how you see yourself. Then challenge the differences. Work out exactly what is most important to you in your life right now, write a list, then whittle it down. Once you are more aware of who you are and what you want you can begin to become more mindful.  

To practice mindfulness you need to spend more time in the present, in the here and now. Stop letting thoughts and worries control the way you behave. The more you think about something the more worrying it becomes. It’s like a toothache, your tooth hurts and you become aware of it, so you think about it more, then you rub your poorly tooth with your tongue and there it is again, the pain. It hurts, so you think about it more and the more you think about it the more it hurts. It’s definitely not easy to stop thinking about it, or prodding it with your tongue, but if you become distracted by something else isn’t it a fact that it hurts less, or you forget that it hurts?  

Mindfulness is like that, you know you have problems and worries but you have to spend a little time not letting them dominate your thoughts so you can forget about the pain they cause you for a while.    You need only subtle shift in your thinking, your language and your expectations to begin to change ingrained behaviours.  

How to practice Mindfulness.

  In just 10 minutes a day you can begin to transform your life and learn to spend more time in the present.   This is done by meditation, but don’t worry, you don’t have to get your carpet out and burn the incense. You don’t need to clear your mind and think of nothing. You don’t need to fill your mind with chanting . There is nothing wrong with these methods of meditation but most people find it really difficult, I know I do.   

Mindfulness meditation means putting yourself in the present. You need to spend 10 minutes a day just being in the here and now.   Do nothing for 10 minutes.Switch off your phone and any other distractions.  Maybe go out and sit on a bench somewhere, or stand in the park. Then simply listen and observe and be in the present. Don’t think, don’t talk, don’t plan, don’t judge. Take in your surroundings. If you feel a thought coming up then accept then let it go. Witness your thoughts and emotions coming and going without judgement but with a relaxed calm mind.   It’s not an easy thing to do, but just try it regularly and with time it should get easier.  

The Benefits of Becoming More Mindful.

  Being more mindful means you can stop doing things governed by rules and routine and make less mistakes by being more aware of where you are and what you are doing. You will be able to change ingrained behaviours and learn how to deal with things differently. You will be able to challenge the limits that you assume are real and transform your life. You will have a greater sense of focus, calm and clarity in your life.    All you have to do is spend some time in the present and understand that your thoughts do not control you because you can control them.     

  If you are interested in finding out more about Mindfulness there are lots of books to choose from.    

Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing
The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 minutes a day to less stress, more peace (MBS Little book of…)
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
A Year of Mindfulness – Challenge yourself to be more mindful for a whole year!
You Are Not Your Thoughts: The Secret Magic of Mindfulness
Twin Mummy and Daddy