Healthy mind, healthy body
Have you ever stopped to think about the way your mind and body speak to one another? For centuries, researchers have explored the inextricable connection between mental balance and a healthy, happy body. So if you’re on the path toward health and wellness, it’s a good time to start paying more attention to your mind and body balance.
Finding time to improve your mental health can be tricky, but here are some simple daily habits you can try to start your journey to a healthy mind.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
Feeling overwhelmed by your to do list? Having too much to do can lead to anxiety and stress; take control by breaking down your day into easy to achieve tasks with the Pomodoro Technique. This technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work tasks into 25 minute intervals, with a 5 minute break at the end of each interval. This approach will help you take control of your daily activities and manage your time.
The Pomodoro Technique includes five steps:
- Choose a task
- Set your phone or timer to 25 minutes (one ‘interval’)
- Work solely at the chosen task until the timer rings then record the interval against the task
- Take a short break lasting 3 to 5 minutes
- After 4 or5 intervals take an extended break
Using this technique will help you to focus on the task at hand, help you to better plan your day and improve productivity.
There’s not only anecdotal evidence that meditation is good for your mental wellbeing, there’s also scientific evidence that you should give it a go. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It also helps to improve focus and memory. Simply find a quiet space, without any distractions, and take time to clear and declutter your mind. If you’re a busy person, get into the routine of meditating for 5 to 10 minutes every morning or evening.
3. A good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as simple as getting to bed early, it’s also about making sure the sleep you do get is restorative to your body and mind. Being well rested has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity and improve muscle recovery and memory recall.
The secret to a good night’s sleep is to practise good sleep hygiene – the habits that help you to have a good night’s rest. The first step is to stick to a schedule of when you go to bed and when you wake up each day. The environment you sleep in is also conducive to sleep if it’s set-up properly. Make sure your bedroom allows you to be comfortable and relaxed. Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep. This means no more late night movies in bed. Using your bedroom as an extended lounge room will make it hard for your mind to distinguish between the two uses.
4. Reduce the amount of time using media
Australians spend almost 10 hours a day online. That’s a lot of Facebook and Netflix! Spending too much time looking at a friend’s holiday photos, status updates and general news can be mentally draining and distract you from the things that matter. Spend time away from your phone so you can concentrate on living in the present moment.
If you’re finding it hard to give up your digital habit, just remember that the blue light emitted from your phone can prevent you from having a good night’s sleep. Try to switch off your phone an hour before bed to ensure you’re not affected. Also consider leaving your phone and any other mobile devices somewhere other than your bedroom.
If you have trouble implementing all of these habits at once, look at introducing them slowly over a matter of weeks to help you on your path towards a healthier body and mind.