Mastering regular maintenance of your mind
We are all busy people, constantly multi-tasking and blurring the lines between work and home life – answering phones while on the job, completing paperwork while supervising staff or minding kids at home, checking our work emails while out to dinner with family.
Running a trades business is a hard and stressful job, and sometimes it can feel like the more successful your business becomes, the less time you have to stop and enjoy life. Did you notice how well rested you felt this morning when you awoke, or how good your coffee smelt? How the sun felt warm on your face as you stopped for smoko? In the rush to complete necessary tasks, we often find ourselves losing connection with the present moment – this means we miss out on what we’re doing and how we’re feeling.
Everybody gets busy, right?
Yes, but alarmingly, males that work in trades and construction are 70 per cent more likely to take their own lives than males employed in any other industry in Australia.
Suicide has long been linked to depression and anxiety, often caused by the pressures that we face in daily life: work, study, family, financial and other environmental and social factors. Along with life pressures, there are some other factors that can contribute to feeling depressed or anxious:
- Physical factors, such as brain chemicals or alcohol and drug use have been proven to contribute to depression and anxiety rates.
- Cognitive and social factors, such as mental health stigmas, particularly for men (“it’s weak if you ask for help”, “you’re making it up”, “you’ll be right mate”), and not knowing who they can talk to about their mental health, often mean that the pressure becomes too much for some people, and they genuinely believe they have no other choice but to end their life.
Here at AroFlo, we recognise that our mental health is as important as our physical health. We promote many wellbeing tactics to our staff and we would like to share one of our proven solutions that you can apply right now, wherever you are, that can assist with relieving some of that pressure.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment – and accepting it without judgement. Mindfulness is being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.
Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. It can also positively affect our physical health by relieving stress and its physical symptoms such as heart disease. Mindfulness can also lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, help improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
How it works
A lot of mental health conditions like depression or anxiety stem from focusing our energy and attention on the past or the future, but forgetting about the present (the now).
By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
How to get started
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment.
- Breathing – Start by taking nice slow, deep breaths through the nose and out through your mouth. Pretend you are smelling your favourite soap, and then blowing a leaf along a path.
- Basic mindfulness meditation – if you can, close your eyes, and then focus on your natural breathing or on a word or ‘mantra’ that you repeat silently. ‘I am focused, I am calm, I am in control’. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on your breath or mantra.
- Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling, without judgment, and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe. Start with, how do your toes feel in your boots? Wriggle your toes in your boots. Continue concentrating on each body part as you move from your toes, all the way up to your scalp.
- Sensory observation – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Name them ‘sight,’ ‘sound,’ ‘smell,’ ‘taste,’ or ‘touch’, without judgment, and let them go.
- Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: ‘joy’, ‘anger’, ‘frustration’. Accept the presence of the emotions, without judgment, and let them go.
Reaching out – If you need to talk to someone about a personal problem you’re facing, or feelings that are getting overwhelming, remember that you can contact BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for immediate, confidential help.