Six Exercises For Positive Mental Health
To celebrate the introduction of our leggings collection we have started featuring the “Leggings Lifestyle”. This has given us the opportunity to get inspired by, and learn from, some of the remarkable women in our community.
We want to use this series as a chance to talk all things yoga, mindfulness, meditation, work-life balance, self improvement, setting goals, travel, wellness, and much more.
Recently we received some tips on physical strength training from Olympic Lifter, Sinead McSorley. Obviously training, staying active and keeping fit is something we really promote here at Gym+Coffee. Another type of training that is less spoken of is mental strength training - training your mind.
We live in such hectic times that it’s important to find time to slow down and clear your head. It’s also important to integrate routines into your life that actively strengthen your mental well-being.
Recently, we got the chance to speak with Miriam Hussey of the Awakening and creator of Soul Space. Soul Space is an immersive one day event full of remarkable workshops, lead by leading minds in mental, physical, spiritual and human performance.
Miriam is an expert in all things nutrition, emotional wellness, mind-body connection as well as having many other areas of expertise. Much like we asked Sinead for tips on training the body, we wanted to dip into Miriam’s wealth of knowledge to get some advice on training the mind.
Miriam guided us through six habits or routines that you can integrate into your life to become more mindful and improve your mental well-being.
1. Start or End Your Day With Meditation
"Meditation is an amazing tool that anyone can use. I often hear people say that they can't meditate or switch off. That is the whole point. As human beings we're not meant to switch off completely or stop our thoughts altogether. What meditation does, is make us become more aware of the noise that is going on in our minds. With regular practice, you can begin to dial down the volume of that noise.
Think of your mind as being like the sky with thoughts as the clouds. Some days the sky will be turbulent and full of clouds. As you continue your practice and strengthen your awareness, it becomes clearer and clearer. The more you practice the closer you get to a centered, blissful state.
For anyone new to meditation, I would recommend using guided meditation. There's some great apps like Calm and Headspace. Ten minutes in the morning or evening is a good place to start."
2. Practice Visualization
"Visualization is a really powerful tool for bringing clarity to your life. Before you start your day, visualize exactly how you want it to go and how you want to be. For example, "I want to see myself being kind, humble, being active and productive." Start to visualize how you want to interact with people, even how you want to eat. As these things become clearer, through the law of manifestation, they begin to manifest themselves into your life.
By visualizing how you want your day to go, you start with a clear intention in mind. This helps bring a flow and ease to your life as opposed to resistance, anger and frustration."
3. Positive Affirmations
"Positive affirmations allow you to look closer at your self-talk and inner dialogue. For me, practicing positive affirmations has had a huge impact on my mental well-being. All it takes is repeating some positive phrases in your mind. For example "I am healthy", "I am positive", "Today is a good day", "All is well in my mind" etc. By doing this you start to plant these positive seeds in your subconscious mind.
Through time and practice, you start to re-wire your brain in a more positive way. By taking the time to do this everyday, it can have a huge impact on your life."
4. Practice Controlled Breathing
"This can be tied into your meditative practice. The power of your breath is one of the most powerful tools you will ever have. You don't need any expensive equipment or gyms. You can do it at any time or place. All it takes is 5-10 slow, deep-belly breaths, concentrating on the inhale and exhale.
Controlled breathing is key to developing calmness, composure and mental agility. When we are in a heightened state of anxiety, we tend to take shallow breaths. Shallow breathing sends a signal to our body that we are in danger, our body acts accordingly and we go into a stressful state. In that state we don't think well, make poor decisions and become more reactive.
Instead, through deep, mindful breathing, you go into a healing state. You are more composed, more focused and perform much better. It has a powerful impact on your overall mental state"
5. Journaling or Morning Pages
"Morning pages are like a mental dump. At the beginning of the day, you put pen to paper and literally write down whatever is on your mind.
Sometimes our mind is full of racing thoughts. It is like having too many tabs open on a computer. This slows everything down and drains the battery. Morning pages allows you to clear all the junk, wipe away the tabs and start your day on a clean slate."
6. Following A More Natural Diet
"For greater mental strength and mental clarity, I would highly recommend looking at what you're putting into your body. A diet that is conducive to greater mental health is one that is full of natural, whole foods.
Whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients that provides a natural source of energy. Keeping well hydrated is also very important. Approximately 1.5 - 2 litres a day is enough but we are all different. Even if you are only 1% dehydrated, this can cause a 5% cognitive decline.
A whole food diet is all about stripping it back to basics. Eating real, wholesome foods that come from the ground rather than processed foods that come in packages, tins etc and are full of artificial additives. This change can have a massive impact on your overall mental well-being."
We're so grateful to Miriam for sharing her wisdom. She is someone that we have learned a huge amount from in recent times. We hope you all get as much out of the above tips as we did. To hear more from Miriam you can follow her on Instagram and be sure to check out her 1-day event.
This article has been part of a series that we are running to celebrate the release of our leggings collection. Check out the entire range by following the link below.
SHOP OUR NEW LEGGINGS COLLECTION