Updated: Oct 4
May is Mental Health Month, and this year, Mental Health America (MHA) is focusing on how our environment and surroundings can impact mental health. MHA is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting everyone’s overall mental health. This year, they are calling for individuals to “look around, look within.”
To explore this idea further, we reached out to our local Behavioral Health Navigator at Chelsea Hospital, Kathy Walz, to learn more about how we can use the environment around us to improve our mental health.
“Giving our brain a break is one of the easiest ways we can improve our mental health,” said Walz. “Taking just a few moments to be present and appreciate the world around you, without other distractions, can help us reset and move forward with our day.”
For more information on how you can give yourself a quick brain break, view the linked video, or read the entire article from Walz below.
Spring is here – the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming – and it seems like we have been waiting a long time for this! If you've taken a minute to notice the green surroundings or the music in the trees, then you have experienced a Mindful Minute!
These moments can be helpful to our mental health in many ways. They help us be present and appreciate what is going on at that very moment. It also gives our brains a break from the many thoughts that occupy the space – if only for a moment. In that short time, we can slow down, take a deep breath and experience a quick mental burst of gratitude. It may be a surprise even that short amount of time can make a difference in our mental health.
Often, people I work with are hesitant when I mention mindfulness as a preventative mental health tool. "I don't have time for that." "that sounds complicated" or "where would I even start?" are comments I hear frequently. While there are many good applications on your phone to help introduce you to the concept of mindfulness (CALM, Headspace, Breath2Relax, to name a few); you don't have to download an app to give your mind a break.
One of my favorite places to be is on a beach with the sand between my toes, feeling the sun shining down on my face with the sound of the waves and seagulls in the background. Can you picture it? Yes? Then you just had a mindful moment – and a visualization of a mini vacation in your mind. The amazing thing is, if I close my eyes, I can take this mini vacation and use it any time I need a break from the endless "to-do" lists. Try it – it's like a deep breath for your brain!
Video link: https://app.animaker.com/video/TOGF0C4H79Y3QGLH