Mindful Action World Mental Health Day
Reach out and support each other for world health
Today on World Mental Health Day 10th Oct, 2019, it’s more important than ever that we support each other.
1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness in Australia, yet many don't seek help because of stigma. Being able to reach out for help depends on each one of us having at least one, preferable a few people we can trust in our lives. When we have a circle of trust we no longer need to protect ourselves and healing can begin.
While statistics for mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression are increasing we also have an emerging field of stress in the way of climate trauma. All of a sudden our boundary of responsibility has widened. No longer are we responsible for our own lives and household. The goal posts have shifted to include the entire planet.
Mindfulness is a state of being fully present in the here and now. Mindful living comes from a place of heartfelt awareness and engenders you to participate in life in ways that are consistent with your values.
Mindfulness allows you to live consciously.
In times of stress, despite best of intentions we can find ourselves either withdrawing / avoiding life (flight) or getting agitated / lashing out (fight). This is a normal and natural part of the bodies stress response. If the stressor continues over time it can affect your body, thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Over time, the repeated way you respond to stress can become a new ‘norm’. So instead of being conscious, able to monitor and regulate your attention, thereby enabling you to control your actions, you begin to live on auto-pilot.
When stress is present and persists, most people desire change. Problem is that we are also very resistant to change. This resistance is born from both external factors like our habits and routines and internal factors such as our beliefs, rules or judgements.
No matter how small or extreme your crisis, it’s important to reach out to others and to create a new norm.
How to reach out to others
Notice what your problem is and how you think, feel and behave because of this problem. Think about the people in your life, your family, friends, neighbours, teachers, priests, doctors… notice who comes to mind. Reach out to this person, call them, message or email them and ask for support.
How do you feel about doing this?
Do you feel resistant? It could be a fear of change which is normal and natural and happens to everyone. Our sub-conscious mind likes to keep the status quo because it seems safe.
Remember, you are not alone. It takes courage to change and can feel like it has to be done on your own but it doesn’t have to be that way.
How to create a new norm
Value how you live your life NOW, not what you desire.
Find ways to magnify love, courage, truth.
Make meaningful connections with all of life; people, plants, animals and your environment.
Adopt a willingness to commit no-matter what and balance this with an openness to accept when change is not possible, needed or helpful.
Recognise the mini-miracles that happen everyday. Believe that things can change.
Begin practicing mindful action with small everyday activities of life, like mindfully drinking with water with gratitude and love.
Build trust into your life.
Find new ways of being in life.
Adopt positive mindset and carry yourself in the way you want to be.
Make wise choices.
What you practice grows stronger
Neuro-scientist Donald Hobbs coined the term ‘neurons that fire together wire together” which means that wherever your attention goes, you are strengthening the nerve pathways that enliven it. If you feel upset or anxious about something, this neuronal circuit is switched on. The catch is that all associated neurons in your whole body are simultaneously activated. This is one explanation for how persistent pain, stress, anxiety and depression manifests.
The challenge is then to find ways of training your whole body, moment b moment to move, think and feel the way you desire until it becomes a ‘new norm’.
Do you want to join the game of life? Throw yourself into the pool of happiness where meaningful experiences matter. It can seem daunting and hard but when you start with little everyday things that matter the most to you, a gradual subtle change starts to grow within. You begin to live your rich and meaningful life.
Do you want to make a difference and make you life count?
Mindfulness is about living your rich and meaningful life despite the pain and stress that inevitably comes with it. This doesn’t always sound reassuring to someone with mental anguish or chronic pain but when you start to participate more in the things you need, want or are expected to do, life begins to matter. This is at the heart of an occupational therapy approach.
Whether you have a mental health concern or not, reach out to someone today. Ask for help or ask someone if they’re OK. It doesn’t take long but could save a life.
If you are struggling please feel reach out to us at Next Wave Therapy phone 93376460. Or call
Lifeline 13 11 14
beyondblue 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service* 1300 659 467
Written by Sasha Wray
Sasha Wray, Principal Occupational Therapist provides focused psychological therapies and chronic pain care at Next Wave Therapy. She has extensive experience using acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness based therapies for individuals or groups. Mindful Living group program runs weekly.
Copyright Sasha Wray (2019) Private Health and Medicare Rebates may apply