Five to thrive. Five tips on being kind to your mental health in the run up to Results Day
Results Day looms and while some students look forward to picking up their grades to plan their future, for others it is a really stressful time.
For those suffering with mental health conditions the worry is magnified.
NHS statistics show one in four people experience mental illness at some point in their lives, and many know and care for people who struggle.
Sadly, mental health services in the UK are overstretched and, in some regions, lack specialist services. Public spending is focused almost entirely on coping with crisis rather than prevention.
Luckily, according to a survey from You Gov, 74% of students are sympathetic to mental health and would be supportive of a fellow student suffering.
However, this doesn’t take away the need for coping strategies, not just for Results Day, but also everyday life.
MONDAY TO FRIDAY – FIVE TO THRIVE
So, with that in mind, we have compiled a five to thrive list of one a day coping tips. One for each day of the working week.
Download a Mindfulness app to your phone.
These have a range of music and distractions to help stop your mind from wandering into anxiety.
We recommend CALM https://www.calm.com/
We also like this link to advice and support https://www.keep-your-head.com/cyp/CP-MHS/self-help/self-help-what-can-i-do-right-now
Write a daily gratitude list.
The positive effects include lowering blood pressure, reducing risks of depression and anxiety and setting the right conditions for better sleep.
To get you started:
1. Buy a notebook and every day write down five things for which you feel grateful.
2. Writing in a journal is important. Don’t just do this exercise in your head.
3. The things you list can be small eg “a tasty ice cream I treated myself to today” or large eg “My sister gave birth to a healthy baby.”
4. The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life—then enjoy the good emotions that come with it.
Studies suggest a connection between gratitude and feelings of wellbeing
Slow down your breathing.
Breath is the king of the mind. When we are stressed and anxious, our breathing sub consciously becomes rapid and shallow.
This stimulates our adrenal glands to race, which puts our bodies into fight or flight mode. We then feel anxious.
By breathing more deeply and slowly, we can bring our adrenal glands back to normal function, slowing our heart rate, reducing stress and inducing calm.
- Place one hand on your stomach, and the other hand over your heart. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a count to two. Exhale slowly, for a count of four, feeling your stomach fall. Always double our out-breath eg In for 2, out for 4. In for 3 out for 6.
Spend time in nature every day, even if it is just a short walk, or going into your garden for a couple of minutes.
The Finnish Forest Research Institute, says blood pressure and heart rate are lowered by being in nature, which decreases the production of stress hormones like cortisol.
Being in a natural setting also reduces muscle tension. If you can’t get to real greenery, research shows that sounds from nature like waves crashing on the beach or leaves rustling in the breeze, have a restorative effect on our minds, by physically altering the connections in our brains, reducing our fight-or-flight instinct.
You Tube is full of serene calming music like this Relaxing Sleep Music:
Find the reflexology points on your hand so you can massage your worries away.
Use a rotating motion with your thumb.
Try doing this on the tip of your thumb, forefinger and middle finger as this is the reflexology point for your head.
Next massage the fleshy part at the base of your thumb to calm your adrenal glands.
There are lots of reflexology hand charts online to help you find pressure point areas.
Follow this link below to find out more about reflexology on the hands: