Dr Addie Wootten, our CEO here at Smiling Mind discusses the importance of World Mental Health Day in raising awareness of the impact of mental illness and provides 10 ways to care for our mind.
Today, the 10th October, is World Mental Health day. It’s a good day to reflect on the importance of raising awareness of the impact that mental illness has on almost 50% of our population and opening up a conversation to try and reduce the stigma that most people experience.
It’s also a good day to take a moment to reflect personally on your own mental state. How are you feeling and what are you doing to take care of your own mind?
It often surprises me when mental health is framed in a way that marginalises those who are experiencing problems – it can lead to people feeling like it is only something that a few of us need to do something about.
But if you think about it most of us have either experienced, or known someone who has experienced a period of time where mental health was a concern. Just like we have all experienced times where physical health was a concern.
On the flipside I am sure we can all think of a time where we felt on top of our game – but what were the things that you were doing at that time that helped you feel that way?
I like to think about my mental health in the same way that I think about my physical health – I know I need to exercise and eat well to feel physically healthy – but I also know I need to be aware of and look after my mental state.
10 ways to do you this World Mental Health Day
There are so many ways to find 10 minutes for your mind, below I will list 10 of them. The challenge lies in how we make decisions about what we spend time on. It’s often easier to go to our default – we almost reach for our phone automatically whenever we have a spare moment.
We’re challenging you to take notice of where you spend your time, and make a choice to reduce something by 10 minutes a day, and instead, do something for your mind.
1. 10 minute challenge
Today is World Mental Health day and we’re here to remind all of us that we can find 10 minutes for our mind. We’re challenging you to take notice of where you spend your time, and make a choice to reduce one of your everyday routines by 10 minutes a day, and instead, do something for your mind.
Choose from any of the remaining 10 ways to care for your mind this World Mental Health day.
2. Guided meditations
Access them in the palm of your hand on your phone! Simply plug in your ear phones and take 2-10 minutes to reconnect with your mind and become more mindful.
3. Allocated time away from technology
What time have you allocated for screen free time in your home? Schedule in at least 10 minutes a day where no screens are allowed - by anyone. This could be over dinner, after school or after dinner.
4. Go find time to spend with family and friends
Make a date with a friend or family member you adore, go out for a walk, to a cafe and just catch up. Ask what's going on in their world and share what's going on in yours, it is very beneficial to focus on those social aspects of being human.
5. Turn phone onto airplane mode
A simple yet effective tip to block time with your family or for sleeping. Even if you put it on airplane mode for just 10 minutes over dinner. The result will mean you are more present for your family and friends.
6. Practice meditation before bed
There are plenty of 10 minute guided meditations for sleep that will help switch your mind off at the end of the day. Often it is not our body that prevents us from sleeping, but our mind. On World Mental Health Day take the time to switch off this bedtime and reap the benefits of a restful nights sleep.
7. Enjoy a mindfulness exercise each day
Spend 10 minutes being curious about your surroundings and try and notice something new each day.
8. Explore the principles of mindfulness
Our Smiling Mind app doesn't just provide guided meditations each area also has fantastic explanations on how and why the mindfulness programs will assist you in caring for your mind.
9. Go out into Nature
There is scientifically backed research that shows us being amongst nature hugely benefits our mental health. Living in Australia we are blessed with incredible opportunities to be close to nature. This World Mental Health Day visit your local park, walk barefoot in the yard, visit the beach.
Try walking or sitting quietly in nature for at least 10 minutes of your day, a great option is to get outside in your lunch hour - especially if you work in an office. Be mindful of how much more revived you feel when tackling the afternoon workload.
10. Encourage friends to join you
You don't have to do this alone. World Mental Health Day is all about bringing awareness to everyone around you about the importance of our own and others mental wellbeing.
Share your progress via our app with friends or invite them to download the app and sit with you for 10 minutes a day together listening to meditations that improve your mental health.
So how easy is it to find time to care for your mind?
We all have good intentions….. But we all know how hard it is to do things that are good for us! It’s funny to think that on average we spend about 10 hours per day on our devices, yet we still feel as though we don’t have time to look after our mind.
Imagine if you counted all the minutes you spent on social media, or watching TV, or driving the car, or waiting in line… if you added these minutes together you would probably find that there’s actually a couple of hours per day that you could consider switching over to something more mentally healthy and rewarding.
Challenge yourself to 10 days of incorporating at least one of these 10 ways for just 10 minutes everyday. Be sure to share your results with us by connecting with us below.
We want to help every mind thrive!