Mental Health Awareness Week

18th May 2020

The theme of Mental Health Week is kindness and having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.
The benefits of kindness
The benefits of kindness

Being kind can significantly improve our physical and emotional wellbeing - whether we are giving or receiving it.

There have even been scientific studies into the effects of kindness, showing that acts of kindness help your immune system, reduces stress, gives you energy and are good for your heart!

The power of being kind goes even further, it has been proven to slow ageing, improve relationships and it's contagious!

 

Kindness can change the chemicals in our body.

Committing acts of kindness produces a hormone in the body called oxytocin, sometimes called the 'kindness hormone' and the 'cardioprotective hormone'. Which means it protects our hearts!

Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which opens up the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. It is the main contributor to keeping our hearts healthy after exercise.

This important hormone also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we're feeling anxious, nervous or shy.

Stress-busting relaxation techniques

Pause - make time during the day to take breaks or pauses. Pausing throughout the day can prevent stress from building up.

  • Stop what you are doing.
  • Look out of the window.
  • Let your shoulders drop.
  • Stretch.
  • Allow your mind to calm down.

If you find yourself in a stressful situation such as a difficult phone call, a crowded train journey home or a looming essay deadline, give yourself time afterwards to pause and calm down.

Deep breathing - Taking deep breaths after a stressful situation and concentrating on your breathing can have a calming effect and help you relax.

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take deep breaths in and out.
  • Think of your favourite place, maybe somewhere that you go on holiday.
  • Focus on the place and picture yourself there.
  • What can you see? What can you smell? What can you feel?

Imagining being in your favourite place can take you away from your current stressful situation and help you relax and calm down. It can also help prevent stress levels gradually rising throughout the day.