Master mindfulness with this week’s Healthy-ish Daily Check-ins

Master mindfulness with this week’s Healthy-ish Daily Check-ins

Boost your mental health by tuning in with Nina Young every morning on our Healthy-ish podcast.

With the stress and anxiety caused by the current coronavirus situation, there’s a good chance you’ve let your mental health go by the wayside.

We understand working from home with kids or a partner is difficult. You may feel pressured to upskill since you have more time on your hands. Then there’s the added financial stress and uncertainty of what the future holds post-coronavirus.

Which is why the body+soul team want to help you through this difficult time. Every morning Nina Young hosts a special daily check-in as part of our Healthy-ish podcast to keep you mentally healthy and happy, and set you up for the day ahead. You can subscribe to Healthy-ish on Apple Podcasts or whenever you get your podcasts.

Here’s what went down on this week’s Healthy-ish Daily Check-Ins…

Day One: Mindfulness and its benefits

Listen to the daily check-in here.

Mindfulness. It’s a word you say and hear regularly, but do you actually know what it means?

Well, it’s the idea of simply being aware and paying attention to what you are experiencing in the present moment. Pretty simple, right? It can take be through a formal meditation or just informally throughout your day. It’s not about making judgements or decisions about the feelings you might be having in that moment, and it’s not about stopping or controlling our thoughts; it’s simply paying attention to the moment you’re in right now.

When you do this, it allows you to get a sense of clarity in the moment without getting tangled up in emotions, worries and judgement. Your intention in mindfulness is to embrace yourself and your mind with curiosity, openness and acceptance.

The reason why it’s so important to remember all this right now is because we are currently living in such an uncertain and anxious time. Mindfulness helps us stay centred in the current moment, not worrying and trying to anticipate what might come next. It helps us to relax, find some calm and more compassion for ourselves and others.

Day Two: How to maintain your iso-quite in a loud world

Listen to the daily check-in here.

So you’ve adjusted to your new normal life at home. You’re comfortable and content. There’s a good chance you might be developing anxiety around the thought of returning back to your high-stress fast-paced life.

If you can relate and want to hang onto some of this iso-quiet, all you have to do is practise mindfulness.

A study by Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, documented that mindfulness meditation can change the brain’s grey matter and brain regions linked with memory, the sense of self, and regulation of emotions.

So, how can we use mindfulness to quiet things down when they get hectic? All it takes is the following three steps:

1. Move

2. Breathe

3. Ground

And you can find out how to master each of these by listening to the check-in.

Day Three: Why mindfulness equals success

Listen to the daily check-in here.

Therapist, presenter and author Leanne Hall joins Nina Young to talk about why mindfulness equals success.

“We’re so in our heads – we’re always thinking 10 steps ahead and what we’re going to do tomorrow, what we’re going to cook for dinner – that we’ve lost the ability to actually connect with the moment, and what that does is contribute to increasing levels of stress and even distress and depression,” Hall explains. “So what mindfulness does is that it breaks that habit and creates opportunities where we can actually be in the moment and learn to relax and stop getting stuck in our head, and the what if’s, and the future scenarios and past scenarios.”

There’s no doubt life has slowed down while we’ve been forced to practise self-isolation and social distancing, and Hall says this comes with many positives for your mental health.

“Boredom means that we kind of get to reflect and turn inwards a little bit, and I think understanding and recognising the need for self-care and the need to actually slow down and the benefits attached to that, I think most of us are starting to realise that that’s something we don’t want to lose once restrictions lift.

“It’s finding that balance between getting back to normal but also retaining those skills and the advantages we get from actually slowing down.”

Day Four: Navigating change with mindfulness

Listen to the daily check-in here.

With all this change and uncertainty, the one certainty that we currently have is stress: whether you’re aware of it or not, stress is impacting all of our lives to some extent. Chronic stress causes prolonged raised cortisol levels, which have a negative effect on your body. If cortisol is chronically elevated, it can result in fatigue, sugar cravings, weight gain, muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping and lowered immunity.

But instead of using formal mindfulness (where you sit, close your eyes and focus your attention on one thing) to alleviate stress, try using informal mindfulness. Informal Mindfulness is about using that improved sense of attention that you gain from those formal sessions and bring it into everyday life. This simply means directing your full and non-judgmental attention to the activity you’re undertaking at a particular moment – it might be washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, chatting with a friend or studying.

It’s not about trying to predict or worry, or be scared for the future. It’s about what is happening right now in your mind and your body. Living in the moment.

Listen to the full daily check-in for expert tips on mastering informal mindfulness.

Day Five: Checking in with yourself every day

Listen to the daily check-in here.

In Nina Young’s very last Healthy-ish Daily Check-in, she discusses how you can check in with yourself and recognise mental health warning signs.

The best way to do this is the first thing in the morning. Every morning ask yourself the following – how did I sleep? Well? Or not? Why not? Am I worrying about things? What’s bothering me? Are any of these things immediately solvable? If they are, what’s the first practical step I can take to solving them? Is it something that isn’t immediately solvable? If it is, take a moment to acknowledge that worry, but accept your worry can’t change the outcome so you have to let it go. And that should be your morning check-in.

Remember, it’s not about trying to judge yourself or feel bad about your feelings; it’s about acknowledging those feeling and accepting them.

This week’s episodes of Healthy-ish have been brought to you by Panadol. Let’s rethink care for our minds and establish a mindfulness practice this June. Sign up to Mindful Month with Smiling Mind, supported by Panadol to join the movement.

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