You probably have heard that our childhood affects our adult behaviors. Dr. Gabor Mate, a Hungarian-Canadian physician, author and expert on addictions among others, is a firm believer. In a recent speech in London, he talked about how childhood trauma – big or small – colors how we act and express ourselves as adults and focused on the direct relation that exists between our way of living and our physical and mental health.
It’s true that our lives today are more hectic and stressful than ever. We run around so many different directions we hardly have the time to take care of ourselves let alone our inner needs. With the occasion of World Mental Day on October 10th there’s been a lot of talk about how resilience helps us cope with stress. Here are nine effective and easy to follow ways to nurture your mental well-being and live a less stressful life:
- Create an “Every day is a gift” empowering morning routine. When you wake up in the morning, instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to think of this new day as a gift to yourself. You are here, alive on this planet for one more day. Take advantage of this day to do great things.
- Drink enough water. Water keeps your body hydrated and alive. If you are not naturally into this habit just schedule water breaks during your day. A small tip: it helps to have a bottle next to you right on your desk.
- Take technology breaks. Take small breaks from your mobile, computer, or tablet screen. I have often fallen into the trap of doing mindless scrolling, especially when I’m tired. What I now do – and you can certainly do it as well – is that I plan these breaks and put them in my calendar just as I would for any other meeting.
- Take small, regular breaks during your day every 40 mins or 60 mins. Get up from your chair and stretch. You can even walk for 5 minutes whether it’s from room to room or getting out of the building if possible.
- Keep a gratitude journal – morning or evening. Think of at least 5 things you’re grateful for whether it’s the fact that you have hot water or that you have good friends or that you’re healthy. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you keep focused on the good things in your life.
- Meditate for 10-15 minutes during the day. Meditation helps you to empty your mind and to concentrate better. Whether it’s guided or not sit still and offer yourself this time as a gift.
- Celebrate your wins, big or small, every day. Especially the small ones as we do not usually pay attention to them and consider them as a given.
- Get connected. Healthy relationships offer quality to our lives. Build strong positive relationships with loved ones and friends to get support. Volunteering is one way to get connected when for example you move to a new area.
- Talk to a therapist, a life coach or a person that suits your needs. You will feel relieved and at the same time empowered talking to someone who’s only there to listen to you and understand you without any criticism.
With time and practice you can build your resilience, learn to stay calm when facing pressure and live a happier and more balanced life. Needless to say you will be a positive example for your children, if you have any, and your friends’ children who will thank you for this gift.