How Doing Nothing Can Improve Your Mental Health

 

Side view of woman sitting in lotus position on lakeshore with focus on stack of stones

 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness about mental health issues globally. Although maintaining good mental health while in university can be hard (especially during those stressful, rainy winter months) there is one way to keep your mind healthy that actually encourages doing absolutely nothing.

 

Mindfulness is a practice of meditation that involves observing your thoughts as they drift into your mind, and letting them float through. While it sounds simple, this awareness is developed through practice and ultimately can help you become more aware of the quick judgement we associate with thoughts (for example, pleasant or unpleasant).

 

Studies show that practicing mindfulness has numerous health benefits including: improved blood circulation, lower blood pressure, less anxiety, less stress, better sleep and increased well being. Some research is also being done on the physical health benefits it may have on the brain and immune functions.

 

If you’d like to give it a try, all you need is yourself and a quiet space. Meditation can be practiced in virtually any position, but lying or sitting down in a comfortable position is easiest for beginner meditators. Focusing on taking deep breaths is one of the most important parts of meditation. Whenever you feel like you are drifting into your thoughts, become aware of them, let them go and return to your breathing. Inhale, exhale.  

 

Sources: Gaiam, GoodLifeZen

The Habits of Happiness. Perf. Matthieu Ricard. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Feb. 2004. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.