Three ways to spend 5 minutes that will do wonders for your mental health.

by Laura Gale

Working on your mental health can take many forms, many of which can take years to master.  But what can you do today, or right now? Life is hectic (even, somehow, in lockdown), but finding five minutes is not only possible, it’s easy.  Invest a little bit of time every day and I promise you’ll reap the rewards. Here are my three recommendations on ways to spend 5 minutes to improve your mental health. 

Go outside.

Take your shoes off, grab your favourite cuppa and head outside.  Turn your face to the sun and just be for five minutes.  For mental health, the power of nature is hard to beat.  Being in nature lowers our primary stress hormone, cortisol.  Not only that, being in nature can also increase attention span and focus and can also reduce symptoms of depression.

Breathe.

Spend five minutes concentrating on your breath.  Place one hand on your belly button and the other on your chest and practice ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ (there’s lots of videos of YouTube if you need some help).  When you breathe, try to breathe into your abdomen rather than your chest.  As much as you can, breathe in and out only through your nose.  The way we breathe is directly related to how well-oxygenated our bodies are.  Breathing through the nose and into the abdomen increases the oxygen saturation of our bodies, including our brains.  A higher level of oxygenation of our tissues improves energy and concentration and reduces fatigue.

Move to the beat.

Think of a song you love, put it on, turn it UP and dance like no one’s watching.  Bonus points if you sing along.  Having a dance and getting a bit silly can be hard to embrace if you’re not feeling great, but it can be an absolute game-changer to our mood and feelings of wellbeing.  It’s a fantastic one to try if you’ve got little kids at home that are glued to their screens or getting a bit ratty.  Music brings us together and creates a really engaging shared experience that is FUN!

When you’re feeling flat, it can be tough to consciously undertake any extra activities.  That is why these exercises are short and sharp but they’re still very effective, especially if they become habitual.  If you feel like you need some extra help, please get in touch and we can work out a plan specifically for you.  I don’t know about you, but I’m off to have a dance!

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, and are looking for personalised support with a naturopathic and functional medicine approach, book an appointment with Naturopath Laura here, or call the clinic on 03 5977 0177.