It only takes a minute to improve your mental wellbeing
On Sunday the clocks are ‘fell back’ by an hour, meaning fewer daylight hours and darker evenings. You may have noticed that you tend to feel a little out of sorts during this time of year but not really questioned it. However, it has been found that the clocks changing impacts our circadian rhythm (our internal body clocks) and increases our melatonin levels, leaving us feeling a bit groggy and hazy. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also often spikes at this time of year, likely due to the cold, rainy weather and reduced sunlight.
How the clocks changing affects our bodies;
- Sleep cycles are disrupted making us more tired and more likely to be involved in a road accident
- Risk of heart attacks and strokes increases due to our circadian rhythm being disrupted
- Hormone changes can cause bad moods and skin break out
If you do find that the clocks changing impacts on health either physically or mentally, you could find great benefits in practising mindfulness. Anne Bowdin, Health and Wellbeing Adviser at Reed in Partnership has some mindfulness information and tips to help you not only adjust to the Daylight Saving Time, but reconnect with your body and understand yourself better.
What’s one thing we can do ourselves today to practice mindfulness?
There are different ways to practice mindfulness;
Mindful Breathing– focusing on the breath
Mindful Observations – focusing intentionally at an object
Mindful Listening – Designed to open your ears to sound in a non-judgemental way and to train your mind to be less swayed by influence of past experiences and preconceptions.
Mindful Awareness – Designed to cultivate a heightened awareness and appreciation of simple daily tasks. E.g. each time you think of a negative thought you might choose to take a moment to stop…. Label the thought as unhelpful and release the negativity by changing the negative thought to a positive one.
Be kind to yourself – Take a moment to take a moment. As little as 1 minute a day can have a positive effect on our mood. This is especially important as we are entering winter and the days are getting shorter.
Repeat this exercise several times, then return to your normal breathing. Your improved breathing will help regulate the oxygen flow to your blood, making you more alert. With a sharper focus, you can stay on task and make fewer mistakes and improve your mood.