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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Mindfulness Exercises To Fight Stress & Anxiety

Given the health crisis that we currently find ourselves in and how it has completely taken over our lives, it is hardly surprising we are feeling stressed, anxious and panicked.

No matter who you are or what you do for a living, your life will be affected by the pandemic and it seems as though it’s going to be a top concern for us all for the next few months, so there’s never been a more important time than right now to focus on your mental health and wellbeing.

While the UK is on lockdown, it’s important to make sure that you stay as active as possible and get outside when you can.

Luckily, the weather seems to have improved just in time so, even though you’re on lockdown and only supposed to leave the house for essential tasks, you are allowed out to exercise once a day… and it would be wise to make the most of it, as exercise can do so much to boost your mood and help you retain a positive outlook, which is essential at the moment.

What about starting Couch to 5k, the running initiative set up by the NHS to encourage people to be more active. There are podcasts and running playlists, as well as training plans and tips to help. The programme is designed for beginners to build their running ability up gradually so they can then do a 5k without stopping.

As well as exercising your body, you need to exercise your mind to keep it healthy and there are different techniques you can try to help you combat high anxiety, panic and fatigue.

Box Breathing, for example, is a simple exercise designed to combat panic and anxiety. You exhale to a count of four, hold your lungs empty for a four-count, inhale at the same pace, and hold the air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern again.

Or you could try to Notice Five Things every day, a simple exercise designed to help you re-centre and feel more connected with your environment.

If you feel yourself getting caught up in intrusive thoughts or feelings, stop and look around you to notice five things you can see in your immediate area. Then listen carefully to find five things you can hear and then notice five things you can feel in contact with your body.

Here at The Mindful Therapist, Alex has been working alongside senior NHS nurse and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist Slee Parrish to compile some free resources for NHS staff to access and use to help safeguard their mental health and well-being at this difficult time.

It’s vital to do these exercises because when experiencing fear and anxiety as we go into fight or flight mode. This means that non-essential functions, like the thinking brain, are switched off because our attention has narrowed… and everyone needs to be on top form at the moment if we’re going to navigate our way through this crisis successfully.

If you think you could benefit from speaking to a mindful therapist online, contact Alex today to make an appointment.

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