Life throws all kinds of challenges at us. Starting a new school or job, exams or deadlines, moving house, problems at home, illness, bereavement, issues with friends, bullying…the list could go on. We can only do our best to manage these problems and issues without allowing it to completely stress us out and affect our well-being.
When we get stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. For short periods this can be helpful to focus or give us a sudden burst of energy. It’s our natural “fight or flight” response.
So how do we reduce stress and maintain our well-being and positive mental health?
Here are the 5 steps being to help develop our well-being:
L – Learn something new. This will happen naturally if you are still at school, but it doesn’t have to be about academic qualifications. It may be a new skill like gardening, a sport, how to program or crafting. Learning makes us feel good as it helps our brains develop and gives us a sense of achievement.
A – Activity is known to reduce cortisol and helps relieve stress as it causes our bodies to produce different hormones, endorphins, that make us feel good. You don’t have to run for miles, a brief walk or gentle exercise such as yoga or just 15 mins of stretching in your bedroom will do it.
U – Unite with others. Get together with friends and family and do something fun. Being with others gives us a sense of belonging, allows us to form stronger relationships and means that we have people to talk with when we feel down or have problems. It allows us to be distracted from the negatives and means our minds do not become overwhelmed by our issues. It helps to change our mood and we feel better for it.
G – Giving. No, you don’t have to donate all your money to charity. You can give by helping friends, or putting a neighbour’s bin out, helping family with chores or by babysitting. You could take on a voluntary role. Take a look at Vinspired www.vinspired.com They specialise in voluntary opportunities for young people and you can even do some from home. Doing something that helps others makes us feel appreciated and positive about ourselves, which helps develop our well-being.
H - Heed the moments; in simple language, notice the little things. Take a few minutes when you wake up or go to bed and just focus on your breathing. Notice what is happening to your body and how it really feels. Or notice the colours of the leaves on a tree as you walk to school, savour the taste of a meal. Whatever it is, really notice.
Crea8ing Careers - Foundations for the future.