In our day-to-day routine, one of the many things we take for granted is kindness towards oneself. Observing the theme of kindness this Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (from May 18-24), here are some tips to consciously practice kindness to stay cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy, from Rachna Muralidhar, psychologist and outreach associate, Mpower–The Centre, Bengaluru.
Mindfulness is the ability to come back to the present moment despite all mental and physical distractions. This ability teaches us to harness the present moment to its full potential in terms of ‘what we are thinking/feeling’ as opposed to ‘how could this happen to me’. It keeps us in contact with ourselves in kind, non-judgemental and accepting ways. It might not be very easy to begin with, but you can take small steps like:
*Simple deep breathing exercises.
*Choosing a chore in the day to be mindful.
*An art form like doodling/mandala art or Zentangles.
This, in very simple terms, refers to how we treat ourselves in troubled times. We unconsciously move to hypercritical evaluations of ourselves in the face of distress. And, if we are mindful that this happens on auto-pilot, we can turn this reaction into a response.
*Difficult situation – (reaction) – This is what I am, a good-for-nothing!
*Difficult situation – (response) – I have messed up, but let me see how I can set this right!
Fundamentally, treat yourself like you would treat a friend!
This is a highly neglected practice simply for the reason that we tend to focus on things that are unfinished, rather than those that are finished. A simple gesture to thank our body and mind for pulling us through the day fosters a positive influence. Many researchers also link gratitude to higher levels of happiness and well-being.
Practice can be through a daily gratitude journal, which includes a daily dose of appreciation toward yourself and the world, and may include anecdotes that made you feel good.
This comprises eating and sleeping adequately. Adding a regular exercise routine of 30 minutes at least four days in the week can contribute significantly to both physical and mental health.
Hobbies have a strong potential to activate ‘feel good’ hormones in the body that directly impact our emotions.
Active social life
Do not miss out on keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis. Social support is an essential element of our lives. Work may keep us busy, but do ‘make’ the time.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines