By Christine Schulz on Mon, May 4, 2020
Mental Health Awareness Month is all about taking the time to bring attention to your mental health and well-being. But when we live in a fast paced society that’s obsessed with technology and getting things done in record time, it can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes, we push ourselves a little too hard and we begin to feel the negative impact it creates on our mental health.
So is there anything you can do when you find yourself in situations like this? Perhaps you need to clear your mind while at the office, but can’t because you’re on a tight deadline or constantly running to meetings. Or maybe you need to destress at home, but there’s no quiet place for you to go to meditate. The good news there are several quick and easy things you can do to help bring attention back to your mental health.
Stop and Focus
When you're staring at a computer monitor or glued to your phone all day, anxiety tends to creep up on us. You might be asking yourself, "How long until I get an answer to that email?" or "How am I going to get this project done by the end of the day?" Before you know it, negative thoughts are bubbling in your mind and you lose focus and productivity. When you find yourself in this situation, take 30 seconds to focus on something else. While you're doing this, control your breathing in slow, deep breaths. This will reset your mind so you can go back to what you were doing. Gather a positive thought in your mind, and try focusing using the following exercise:
Boost Your HRV
Heart rate variability is simply a measure in the variation in time between each heartbeat. When someone is in a relaxed state, this measure is normally high. As you might imagine, stress and anxiety will likely impact your HRV and functions like sleep, blood pressure, and even digestion. To increase your HRV to reduce stress and improve resilience, take 60 seconds and regulate your breath by breathing in and out deeply at six breaths per minute. The exercise below, found within our Total Brain platform, will guide you through this.
Find the Positive
Negative thoughts can spiral out of control quickly, since our brains tend to gravitate toward negativity. When we’re faced with uncertainty, our minds begin to fill in the blanks and it usually involves the worst possible scenario. You can stop this process by simply focusing on the positive. Take a minute to step back and analyze the situation, and search for something positive that might come out of it. You can use this worksheet, an adaptation of an exercise in our platform called Thought Tamer, to help.
Try a Meditation
Meditations don't always need to be extremely long, although if you have the time we recommend setting it aside. In less than two minutes, though, you can try this meditation, "Body, Breath, Thoughts." It's one of many meditation and breathing exercises found within the Total Brain platform. It will help you increase your overall awareness and presence across all three of these areas.
Here at Total Brain, we’re dedicated to stopping the stigma associated with mental health and helping those who struggle get the support they need. Want to do more for your mental health? With just 10 minutes a day using exercises like these, you can begin to see improvements in areas like resilience, focus, productivity, and reduced stress and anxiety. Individuals can sign up for a free three month subscription to the Total Brain platform, while organizations can contact us about taking advantage of three free months for their employees.