Tune in to your senses this Mental Health Month

Have you ever had one of those days where everyone and everything annoys you? Maybe your day has been jam-packed with a long list of things that you HAVE to get done? Or you’re just feeling a bit off, but you don’t know why? Stop and take a breath. It sounds like it’s time to tune in to your senses and look after yourself.

Tuning in to your senses is about taking a moment to be present, aware and mindful of the way we feel. Regularly “checking in” with our emotions and how we’re feeling can help you focus your mind, get a new perspective, relax or feel more connected.

Not sure how to get started? We’ve done the hard yards and rounded up a list of tips you can turn to when life gets a little overwhelming or you just need to take ten to get zen.

1. Take 5

We know, we know! In between that big long to-do, kids, study, cleaning the house, cooking dinner and work- who has time to for anything, let alone indulging in some rest and relaxation. But the busy pace of life is exactly why we need to take a beat, pause and make sure we’re ok before we get back to the daily grind.

Tuning in to your senses doesn’t have to take forever. Take a single mindful minute (or 5 if you need it) out of your day. You can always add more if you need them.

2. Be curious

An easy way to start tuning in is to get curious with your own. Beyond Blue suggests asking yourself three key questions:

• ‘How am I feeling?’ (i.e. angry, sad, happy)
• ‘What emotions am I experiencing’ (i.e. offended, lonely, loved)
• ‘How are they affecting me’ (i.e. are these emotions giving you physical symptoms too)

Starting by just identifying what you’re feeling and letting yourself acknowledge it is the first step to feeling better. If you need immediate crisis support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or talk to your GP about finding support to work through your emotions.

3. Get Appy

What’s one thing most of us never have more than an arm’s reach away – our phones! So, it makes total sense to have the resources you need on it!

There’s a huge range of both free and paid apps available for download that can help guide you to tune in to your senses and support your wellbeing like journaling, meditation and emotion identification. We love Calm, Mood App, Daylio and MoodMission

4. Say yes to Yoga

Yoga builds strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. Although there are so many different types of yoga, most sessions typically include breathing exercises, meditation, and postures or poses that stretch and flex various muscle groups and encourage mental clarity and calmness – and common, who doesn’t need that?!

Can’t get to a class? There’s a range of great free online resources to help you exercise at home such as Yoga with Adrienne.

5. Meditation (guided or unguided)

Meditation trains you in awareness and helps get a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And in time, you may start to better understand them as well. It’s hard to shut your brain off from over thinking but keep practicing – after all, they say it makes perfect.

It can be pretty intimidating going it alone. There are a range of guided meditations to help you get into the swing of things. We love the Headspace meditation app.
Want to kick it up a notch? Add some calming smells by lighting your favourite scented candle or adding in some aromatherapy (use of essential oils) in a diffusers or aromatic spritzer. If it makes you feel better- we say go for it!

6. Breathe it out

Deep breathing for even just 1 minute can have a huge effect at calming down the body and releasing happy hormones. The 4-7-8 technique is a great place to start and something you can do whenever and wherever you need to.
Try it out! Here’s how to do it:

• Breathe in for 4 seconds
• Hold your breath for 7 seconds (yep! Hold it)
• Breathe out for 8 seconds
• Repeat this process for a minute (or as long as you need to).

7. Picasso is that you?

Art comes in so many different shapes and sizes, but you don’t have to be Picasso to reap the benefits! And that’s why it’s no surprise, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress and work through their emotions. Join a group and meet some like minded people in the process or go it alone. Painting, writing, knitting, woodwork, photography, drawing – it’s all good!

October is Mental Health Month. A month that encourages all of us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have lived experience of mental illness or not. It also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of good mental health in our everyday lives.

Images: Pinterest, quickmeme, Coffeeme.me