Mental Health

It is Mental Health week so my post today is about mental health, through yoga tinted glasses of course.

There is such stigma still associated with mental health conditions, I think things have improved but there is a long way still to go. I have a friend who was suffering depression and confided in me that she felt ashamed of having to take medication to manage it. I told her that I had no shame in using an inhaler when my asthma played up so why should she feel ashamed for treating a medical condition with medication? Yet she did, and I’m sure she was not alone.

Yoga gifts us with many tools to manage our mental health, from meditation, to slowing down, to tuning in or even losing yourself in the flow of surya namaskar for a while. My own mental health has been much more stable since I found yoga. It is not that I no longer have sad days or feel anxious, it is just that when these things happen I can pause, recognize, acknowledge and work through what is happening rather than getting caught up in the turmoil that comes from these situations. I feel so much more in control.

Here is a quick technique I use for anxiety which I find really helps me to stay calm. Hope you like it, please let me know if you have any feedback!

Step 1. Recognise – as soon as you notice thing getting slightly off balance recognize what’s happening. Say it to yourself, “I’m worried I’m going to be late.” Just putting that out there helps to put whatever’s happening and your reaction to it into perspective.

Step 2. Push the pause button – imagine, just for a while, pausing those thought processes, count to 30 or 100 or any other number that suits.

Step 3. Breathe – while you are counting let your breath slow down and deepen, when we are upset or anxious the breath speeds up, by doing the opposite you slow down those feelings and reactions.

Step 4. Acknowledge – give yourself a pat on the back for recognizing what was happening and acting to reduce the impact of it. The more you practice the above the sooner you’ll start to recognize the signs, the earlier you catch these reactions the less power they will have.

Step 5. Get on with your day – keep going where you were going or doing what you were doing, from a calmer, more in control place.

Love and light and good mental wellbeing,

Belinda

xxx

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