Looking after your mental health is fundamental to everything from your success to your happiness. Though activities like meditation and mindfulness are now on the rise, sometimes there’s no substitute for getting out of the office and into nature.
One epic photo, taken in Yosemite, puts this concept perfectly into pixels.
Recently posted to Twitter by the Yosemite National Park Twitter account, the image shows a hiker standing in the middle of a river, at the foot of majesty-inspiring cliff El Cap (the one Alex Honnold once climbed without a rope).
“In a world that values productivity and advancement, it’s hard not to feel guilty for taking the time to do nothing. What value have you found in those quiet moments?” Yosemite National Park asked its followers.
In a world that values productivity and advancement, it’s hard not to feel guilty for taking the time to do nothing. What value have you found in those quiet moments?#Yosemite #NationaPark pic.twitter.com/dv6kk6gTcu
— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) July 28, 2020
In the responses, people shared how beneficial spending time in the sticks has been for their mental wellbeing.
One cut to the chase, claiming to have found “inner peace” in those quiet moments. Another said they have enjoyed “excellent health, beauty, spiritual enlightenment, fitness and pure oxygen” as well as “travel and skills” from exploring the world.
Another gave a great example of how they once put the ‘wishy washy’ theory into practice: “[I] read a whole book all the way through in a scenic campsite under Sierra sunshine while I moved my seat every hour or so with the shadows of trees and rock to stay in the morning sun and afternoon shade.”
Other users pointed out taking some lazy downtime can actually boost your productivity – and that there should be no guilt attached.
Albert Einstein — ‘Creativity is the residue of time wasted.’
— Gillian (@Gillian01780037) July 29, 2020
Case in point? One wrote: “Being out in nature is my way of decompressing & recharging my batteries.”
“Man-made noise, be it traffic, loud music, or the throbbing sound of workaday life, is ubiquitous & exhausting & I need to get away from it on a regular basis.”
It’s not just anecdotal evidence that backs this up. This Tweet comes amid a raft of research that shows exercise is crucial for your mental health.
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If you can’t get out to a national park right now due to lockdown restrictions, Dr Kathleen O’Moore, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Clinical Research Manager at the Black Dog Institute, recently told DMARGE there are a number of other ways you can keep your mental health in check.
O’Moore said there is one simple ritual that can greatly help: conducting a self-check-in on a weekly basis.
“Set-up a checklist to cover things such as personal feelings, changes in our body and a record of our sleep,” O’Moore suggested, as well as “writ[ing] down how stressed or anxious we’re feeling on a scale of 1-10 and then compare it week after week.”
As for what you can do to help minimise stress and anxiety, Kathleen said “doing simple things such as an hour of physical activity, walking to get a coffee, reading a couple of chapters of a book, or just listening to some music can be beneficial as well, just as long as it’s an activity that gives you pleasure.”
As for meditation specifically, DMARGE recently interviewed an expert on this very topic: Luke Macleod, mindfulness expert and founder of Soul Alive, Australia’s first live stream meditation platform. To finish, we’ll leave you with his best advice.
Luke Macleod’s Quick Tips For Meditating Like A Pro
- Don’t go in with any expectations
- Sit on a chair or stool with a cushion, keeping your feet flat and your spine straight by activating your core
- Focus on something unimportant but consistent e.g. a one-word mantra, unique noise or sensation
- Don’t switch off, switch on. If you think too much about trying to have a clear mind, you’ll never have a clear mind – so relax and surrender yourself to the process.