Its mental health awareness week, which is the perfect time to check in with our thoughts, minds and emotions.
We’re taking this time to reflect on our mental states, finding ways of tending to the delicate ecosystem that is our mental garden.
Nurturing the mental garden has never been of such importance in this time. Collectively, we find ourselves amidst a climate of fear and uncertainty, which has been testing even the most mentally grounded people.
We face separation like never before. The connection we depend on for mental and immune health has been truly tested, as our tribal roots are shaken to the core. Social distancing, a concept new to a lot of us, is sure to have an impact on the connection we thrive on as human beings.
Whether its COVID-19, or afflictions of everyday life, the modern world poses challenges to us which we must ensure against. Some of us may be more susceptible to mental anguish than others. But no matter how susceptible we are, we can still take measures to enjoy life to the fullest, by cultivating a rich and plentiful mental garden.
We’re going to share a few ways in which we like to dig out the weeds, sew supportive seeds and tend to our needs in our own gardens. There’s no one sized fits all approach to keeping a healthy garden, but we thought we’d just share a few with you.
Meditation has to be up there amongst the most powerful tools out there. It costs nothing, you can do it anywhere and it can be effective from as little as 10 minutes a day. Making time each day to change everyday waking consciousness is a powerful way to nourish your mind.
Just taking a break from that same whirlwind of thoughts that dominates the psyche on a day to day basis can do a lot. Its like a vacation from the part of yourself you’d rather not be hanging out with 24/7.
It’s not just a brief moment of respite from stressful thoughts, but a practice which can give birth to a new you over time as well. Sitting, existing, being with ourselves, with intention, can breed powerful changes to the way we think, act and feel.
Studies have shown that we can create new neural pathways by meditating (1). This means we are less likely to continuously follow the mental highways that lead to depressive and anxious thinking. With more practice comes the building of new neural highways, which train us to think in a more positive and peaceful way.
CBD is a natural way to bring the body back into balance. Many people use CBD to bring a baseline of calm into their lives and help manage stress.
This practice originated in Japan, and is a literal translation from the word shinrin-yoku – Forest Bath. Traditionally, forest bathing was practiced in Japan to nourish health holistically – mind, body and soul.
It may be quite intuitive to most of us, but for a lot of us who have grown up in urban environments may not know any differently. The Japanese have long believed that spending mindful time in the woods supports a healthy mind, which is just the ticket for us right now.
Since our separation from nature, we’ve distanced ourselves from its nurturing and grounding benefits. Its no coincidence that the distancing from our natural environment is met with increasing rates of mental illness.
Studies reflect the grounding properties of forests in particular, by showing that walks amongst trees can reduce the physiological markers for stress, such as blood pressure and cortisol, whilst also improving cognitive functions such as memory, and mental wellbeing in general (5), (6).
Time amongst trees has also been found to support the immune system (7), which has never been more important at a time like this.
Find a park, take the time for yourself, everyday in a small way. 20 minutes should do the trick, or as much as you can spare goes a long way.