Take notice and be mindful of my surroundings

Life can be so busy, taking a moment to engage with everything around you and taking the time to reflect is really important.

You could try

  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • A gratitude journal – taking a moment before you sleep each night to write down what you are grateful for that day
  • Having a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Taking notice of those around you are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route when doing a journey you regularly do

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Your story

Since the middle of 2018 I have consciously focused on practicing gratitude.  Taking a few minutes each day to list five things that I am grateful for and why.  This helps me filter all the stuff/activity that happens during the day and really focus on the things that matter to me.  It could be as simple as finding a car parking space at work, a phone call from a family member or friend, a smile from someone when you greet them, a beautiful sunny day that makes me smile.  It doesn’t matter if the thing that I am grateful for is large or small, it’s significant to me.  Focusing on writing down my list at the end of the day helps me stay in a positive mind-set as there are always things to be grateful for no matter how challenging the day 🙂

Practicing gratitude helps me protect and maintain my mental health. It allows me to focus on the things that really matter, take notice of the positives and really be in the moment.  Many days can be tiring and challenging but taking a few minutes to focus on the positives helps me to bring balance back.  Paying attention to the positives and being grateful reframes my mind-set which for me is one of the keys to wellbeing and helps me changing my mind-set to one of positivity and impacting on my overall happiness.

I have been trying to practice more mindfulness during every day activities and be more present while taking part in certain tasks. I am also trying to be more aware of when my thoughts wander and try to bring them back to focus on what I am doing.

I think it has helped me to stay calmer and has reduced my anxieties

Recently I have been focusing on doing more walking, with my friends and with my children.  Rather than taking the car, if we can walk to wherever we need to go we will do that.  We are also taking more walks in nature and taking advantage of the improved weather!

I find this really focuses me on slowing down a bit and appreciating my surroundings and the company I have on my walk.  It’s a time to reconnect, reflect and just be peaceful – which I don’t get many chances to do. When life is very busy it is important to do things that allow you to switch from the daily routine, so I think this has helped me to sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.  Its free, fun and easy to fit in – it ticks all the boxes!

I work in an extremely busy environment and have to juggle many urgent tasks on a daily basis.

To help my wellbeing, I like to take my cameras out and explore my surroundings and get creative with my images.  Whether visiting a stately home and gardens, Northamptonshire countryside and beyond or attending a motorbike track day with my husband all of these help with my wellbeing.

I particularly enjoy the challenge of motorsport photography, the speed of the subjects, panning and focussing is key to a great photo.

Photography is a passion of mine and helps me to relax and unwind from a busy day/week.  It is amazing how quickly it really does help my wellbeing and empty my mind from work.  Once I have my camera bag on route and walking miles round circuits such as Cadwell Park or Silverstone for example it also helps with my health and wellbeing too, not to mention the steps.  Two for the price of one!

Over the last few years I have been making time for myself to paint – mostly watercolours on paper as I have some prior experience, but more recently I have started to experiment with acrylics and oils on canvas. I tend to paint when I have some beautiful flowers or have been to a particularly picturesque landscape, meaning I am now taking more notice of my surroundings looking for interesting things to paint. Not that I do them much justice!

I find painting has a very positive affect on my mental wellbeing as I have to concentrate fully on what I’m doing, rather than get frazzled multitasking or thinking of a hundred other things. You have to really pay attention to colours and shapes, light, shadow etc which has given me a new appreciation of not only nature, but also the incredible skill that professional artists possess. It’s also really satisfying to learn how to use different techniques and materials.

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Don’t forget – we are here if you need to talk

For support with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions contact Changing Minds IAPT. Under 18? Visit CAMHS Live
For a range of other mental health support visit Mental Health Northants Collaboration or Northamptonshire Healthcare
Are you finding everyday tasks more difficult? Contact Supporting Independence.

Suicidal thoughts? Call 111 or the Samaritans on 116 123. You can also visit a Crisis Cafe – available across the county