Did you know October 10th is World Mental Health Day?
Did you also know that according to the University of Minnesota depression affects nearly 8% of the population and almost one in five Americans suffers from an anxiety disorder?
There is a growing need for techniques, such as mindfulness, to help us cope and fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can lead to improved mental health and well-being.
Mindfulness can sound complicated and confusing to implement but it’s simply an awareness of the present moment, with on attitude of openness and acceptance. There are two components to it that work together to bring relief:
1. Awareness: allows you to notice emotions, anxieties, negative perceptions and self-talk as they arise. By noticing these early, you can be more flexible in your responses.
2. Open and accepting attitude: allows you to accept whatever arises, rather than trying to suppress or making a big deal out of it. When you accept your emotions, you aren’t struggling with internal conflict; you have more resources to deal positively with the situation.
Emotional regulation is like stopping a train. It works better if you stop before the train, in this case your emotions, starts rolling too fast. Mindfulness lets you know right away that you need to stop and keeps thoughts and emotions from interfering. Next time you feel your emotions spiraling out of control, try a mindful technique called STOP and see if it works for you.
Take a breath
Observe your body, thoughts, and feelings
Process your possibilities, and then proceed.
Mindfulness may be helpful for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or even just daily stress.