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Mental Health Awareness Week: Mindfulness and how it can help destress

Mental Health Awareness Week: Mindfulness and how it can help destress
Mental Health Awareness week’s primary aims are to encourage and facilitate conversations around mental health, and to challenge the silence and stigma around it.

However, a big part of developing and maintaining good mental health is to keep stress levels low, and to positively connect with yourself and your environment.

This is where ‘Mindfulness’ comes in! We caught up with Jason El-Kaleh - City in the Community Outreach Officer for Mental Health, to learn more.

So Jason, what is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing.
It’s a quality that everyone already possesses, so it’s not something you have to conjure up. You just have to learn how to access it.

Why can it be important?

It can be a great technique to connect with yourself, your body and your feelings, as well as to connect with the environment around you.
It can be a helpful tool to lower stress, and to help people not to be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

How does it work?

Mindfulness in this instance, is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.
Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

Jason and CITC colleagues produced a number of videos throughout lockdown, that share mindfulness techniques. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re hosting them altogether for the first time!

Mindfulness Technique 1: The Mindfulness Minute

Here Jason shows us a simple breathing exercise that help us relax, destress and unwind. It’s a lovely gentle start, and best of all… it only takes a minute!

 

Mindfulness Technique 2: Mindful Observations

This technique emphasises the benefits of taking more notice of what we are watching and listening, and better connecting with our environment. So find a quiet place, grab your headphones and relax…

 

Mindfulness Technique 3: 5-4-3-2-1

This technique is similar to the previous, encouraging us to connect and engage with our environment. There’s more of a focus on sensory mindfulness here too, but a great activity for taking time out and pressing the reset button.

 

Mindfulness Technique 4: The Body Scan

Here, Jason shows how to centre your energy, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, via a simple breathing exercise. So close your eyes, and embrace your energy!

 

Mindfulness Technique 5: Mindful Eating

Grab your favourite healthy snack, a quiet space and get ready to focus on the relaxing, calming joys of mindful eating. You’ll never munch down on your favourite snack the same way ever again!

 

Mindfulness Technique 6: Fitness

So you’ve mastered the Mindfulness Minute, Observation and Body Scan? You’ve even approached your snacking in with a newfound zen? Well for our last technique, Lisa McKay, CITC Senior Operations Manager, takes it up a notch! Here Lisa shows us how the benefits of good fitness can help support your new found approach to Mindfulness!

We hope you enjoyed these techniques, and that they help destress your week!

Why not let us know how you get on at our Facebook page, or on Twitter, tweeting us using #MentalHealthAwareness and #CityThrive!

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