World Mental Health Day: 3 Mindful Techniques

Today is World Mental Health Day, observed annually to bring awareness to mental health disorders and to emphasize the importance of resources. Having regular conversations about mental health evolves how we practice supporting ourselves and others. Here are 3 mindful techniques to practice daily:

· Having someone to talk to as a part of your support system is important, however, ask your loved one if they are in the appropriate mental headspace to listen when you need to vent. If someone is showing you support, they may not express that they are already feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

· Express when you are needing to take time to decompress and enforce boundaries to protect your energy and private spaces. Practice mindfulness so that connecting with your mental health needs and listening to your body becomes a normal habit. I think it's important that during these times, pay attention to how social media and the internet may be impacting you. Know when to disconnect!

· Check in with yourself a few times throughout the day, especially if your day to day work and activities are stressful. Deep, mindful breaths will help you avoid the build-up of anxiety which could come to a head. Engage in deep, slow breaths to release your body from going into a fight or flight state in response to stress or to avoid a panic attack, which can be indicated by an increased heart rate and shallow breaths (chest breathing).

An effective breathing technique that can be practiced in any setting:

*Pay attention to your current breathing state to establish that awareness.

*Gently breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Then proceed to elongate those breaths.

*Breathe in deeply and steadily counting from 1 to 4.

*Then exhale slowly and gently, counting down from 4.

Repeat this pattern for a few minutes and take moments throughout the day to practice this exercise.

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