Have you seen this spoof ad for Nature? It is a parody of drug commercials that promotes getting outside in nature. I know that I need time outside on a regular basis. I need to breathe fresh air. When I spend too many days inside, I get cranky, and one of the best ways to un-cranky myself is to take a walk in nature.
There are lots of benefits to getting outside, as it improves physical and mental health. This article from Care.com says that the health benefits of playing outside include:
Promoting social skills
Increasing attention spans
Enjoy the video and then get into nature. Better yet, skip the video and go outside.
Yesterday, I noticed that Michelle Obama wrote for the Huffington Post, where she advocated for a change in the conversation about mental health. She points out that over 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of mental health challenge at some point in their lives. I’m not exactly sure where this number comes from*, but I do know that we all go through rough patches from time to time and could use some help. I also agree with Michelle Obama that the stigma around mental health issues often prevents people from getting help.
How do you know if someone needs help? Our First Lady advocates that we should know the five signs:
1) There is a change in their personality
2) They may seem moody, agitated, easily angered, or anxious
3) They may isolate themselves or withdrawal from others
4) They may stop taking care of themselves or do risky things
5) They may seem overwhelmed or hopeless
What can you do if you notice someone who shows these signs? Michelle Obama advocates following the advice of The Campaign to Change Direction which lists resources for offering help. But perhaps the most helpful thing you can do is to listen, show compassion, and try not to judge – because judging is what perpetuates the stigma around mental heath. I agree with Michelle Obama. Let’s change the conversation. #ChangeMentalHealth
Michelle Obama’s article: Changing the Conversation around Mental Health
*Note: Report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) reports that in 2013, over 9 million Americans reported having serious thoughts of suicide within the last year. See this report, on page 10.
Here is an interesting Ted Talk by Judson Brewer. He talks about breaking bad habits by using mindfulness. He advocates a process of:
- noticing the urge (to smoke or eat sweets, for example),
- get curiously aware and notice what is happening in your mind and body,
- feel the joy of letting go,
- and repeat.
I find it interesting that he starts this talk by speaking of meditation and he implies that the process above is very similar to the process in meditation of:
- notice your breathing,
- get curiously aware and notice what is happening in this present moment,
- if your mind wanders off bring it back to your breath,
- and repeat.
I would also like to add that for those who are spiritually and prayerfully inclined, adding a prayer of forgiveness or release before repeating has been very helpful for many people.
Here’s the video. It’s a little less than 10 minutes long.