Let’s Talk: Mindfulness & Mental Health

Mental health and minfulness
Photo by: Lexi Wright

Lexi here.

Mental health is at the forefront of the media nowadays. With recent news such as the suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it seems everyone is talking about mental health…but are they really talking about it?

See, we’re relying on our iPhones and other technology to reach out to people when a huge part of depression has been linked to technology. Don’t believe me? Here are a few scholarly articles to give you a headstart on the discussion:

You might even call me a hypocrite for writing a blog post about mental health instead of sitting down with a close friend or family member and talking about it in person. Don’t get me wrong: I’m understanding of the fact that we do sit down with our peers, especially those advocating for mental health, but we can do better.

The phrase “how are you?” isn’t working anymore. The next time you want to ask someone how they’re feeling, try using one of these options instead:

  1. What are you looking forward to this week?
  2. What new thoughts/ideas are giving you energy lately?
  3. What is one thing you’ve learned recently that inspired you?
  4. What is one thing we could do right now to make this (day, event, moment) even better?

Oh, and if you’re going through some tough times, don’t forget about mindfulness. It’s a 100%, always, totally, free tool that you can start utilizing right now. 

The word “mindful” is actually an adverb that can describe any action you are taking. It doesn’t always mean 45 minutes of silent meditation. To discover how mindfulness fits into your life, ask yourself: What are you most motivated to make a regular habit?

Are you the type of person who goes on walks each morning? Or maybe you’re a snacker (like me) and are able to turn that evening snack session into 10 minutes of mindfulness?

If you’re stuck, mindful breathing is always a good option. Here’s a great video introduction if this sounds like a foreign concept to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK_OYKAHsdU

Essentially, follow your motivation (oh, and your iPhone does not count as motivation…sorry!)

And with that, I’ll end on some of my favourite Leonard Cohen lyrics, a man who understood depression more than most:

‘If the sea were sand alone, and the flowers made of stone, and no one that you hurt could ever heal. Well that’s how broken I would be, what my life would seem to me, if I didn’t have your love to make it real’ – Leonard Cohen

 

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