Investing in your mental health
Corona, war, and climate are just three of the current issues that have us stuck in permanent crisis mode. Daily stress and global escalations can cause our emotional, psychological, and social well-being to falter – especially when the (inner) stress level is constantly high, mental health takes a hit. Before this happens, however, we can take remedial action and recharge our batteries before they are completely exhausted. For the term, mental health encompasses more than the absence of mental impairments and disorders such as exhaustion, burnout, depression, or cognitive impairment. Mental health also includes positive aspects such as well-being, job satisfaction, work engagement, and personal and work-related resources that we can positively influence. Together with a psychologist from our mental health support partner Openup, we hosted a virtual session to learn about the concept of mindfulness.
Mindfulness, the opposite of “autopilot”, living in the “here and now” without being distracted by streams of thoughts, or strong emotions, helps promote mental health. By incorporating small exercises into everyday life, we can learn to live more mindfully and reduce stress – we tried this out in the joint session with Openup.
First, we started with a mindfulness exercise to strengthen the general ability to concentrate. Each person picked a small object and had a few minutes to look at it, hold it in their hand and feel how it felt. We had to concentrate on the thing without letting our thoughts wander. The following exercise was a guided meditation where we were allowed to relax with the help of an imaginary ball of light. After the session, some Spexies described feeling more energized, calm, and relaxed. However, it soon became apparent that many of us had difficulty concentrating, our thoughts wandered off and we had trouble recapturing them. Quite normal, the psychologist assured us, because mental well-being can be trained as a body or muscle. If you take good care of your psyche, it becomes more robust, more flexible, and better able to manage stress or crises. It is essential to recharge your own battery before it is empty, for example, through short mindfulness or relaxation exercises that you integrate into your everyday life.
We thank Openup for the joint Mindfulness session and the partnership that gives all Spexies anonymous, free, and direct access to certified psychologists. We look forward to the next session.
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