Part Two of Anisha and Philips recent chat about Mindfulness...
Anisha: 'Why are people low during the winter period?
Philip: 'The third week of January is when people’s mood is often at its lowest compared to the rest of the year. There are multiple reasons for this: Christmas has just happened; more people are in debt and feeling lonely; the days are still short and it’s the month with the coldest weather.'
Anisha: 'Do you have any tips on how to combat this?
Philip: 'Emotional problems can often lead us to engage in a range of behaviors and strategies that make things worse not better. Instead of spending money, give your time instead. Whether it’s volunteering or spending quality time with friends and family, this will prove to be much more fulfilling.'
'In January, if it’s practical try to get outside and get some physical exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym obsessively but try small things like taking the stairs instead of the lift. Alter your daily journey to work by getting off a stop earlier on the tube or bus and walking past some nice gardens or finding a quieter route to work. If you’re feeling down, do a little bit of something that nourishes you and makes you feel happy - whether it’s reading a book, listening to music or taking a bath with some relaxing candles. But careful not to overdo it and exhaust yourself.'
Anisha: 'What else would you like to add about Mindfulness?'
Philip: 'Remember that mindfulness is a slow burner, it’s not a quick fix. You can be an expert on it in an academic sense but this won’t change anything until you actually put it into practice. You don’t have to know all the ins and outs. The benefits come from simply giving mindfulness a go as best you can.
It’s also important to practice being kind to yourself – often the person beating you up most of the time is yourself. It’s difficult to get out of this mindset, which is why it often requires an 8-week course like the one we offer. If a course isn’t practical, there are many things that you can do at home to help yourself. Our stress levels are unfortunately rising, often due to an addiction to technology. As a result, people are sleeping a lot less. Changes in sleep patterns can affect the body’s natural cycle which leads to an increase in mental health problems. We need to turn off at a certain time in the evening rather than constantly checking in to emails and social media.
Philip is leading the forthcoming evening Mindfulness course starting on 20th February. To enrol please visit www.stressproject.org.uk/mindfulness