Mental Health Break

Feeling stressed or anxious? Trying to maintain family harmony during the Summer holidays or long weekends? Wishing to maintain your composure?

Mental Health Break

Mark Hodson, Ealing resident and the borough's only Wim Hof Method instructor, suggests five things you can do to help yourself:

1. Cold water on the face / wrists. In a stressful moment or in anticipation of a difficult situation, splash your face with cold water or run your wrists under the cold tap. Both tap into deep-rooted sensory mechanisms that help to calm the body and mind.

2. Cold showers! Cold showers help you feel invigorated at the start of the day and help calm the body at the end of the day ready for sleep (do one or the other, or both). Increasing the time under cold water each day is a super simple way to build up your stress resilience over time and help you feel fabulous.

3. Focus on your breathing - counting. Focus on your breath to reduce your stress. There are many “counting” methods. A favourite traditional method is to inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 6 … giving you a total of 5-6 full breaths per minute.

4. Breathe through your nose. Our mouths are designed for eating and talking, and our noses for breathing. Breathe slowly and deliberately through your nose to lower blood pressure and increase nitric oxide in the bloodstream. Deeper, slower breathing calms the body. Look away from your screens, relax the shoulders, and practise this frequently during the day for prolonged health benefits.

5. Take yourself into nature. A garden, park or a patch of grass will suffice. Put your phone in your pocket and walk barefoot if you can. Let your senses admire the nature around you - colours, sounds, smells, textures and space. Breathe slowly and deeply, as described above - let the calm settle over and through you.