10th October is World Mental Health Day.
As someone who has lived with mental illness for over 20 years, I can’t let this pass without commenting on the situation in the UK as a result of the pandemic. Whilst there is reference to current Government approach to communicating their guidance - this is definitely not a political post.
On Thursday of this week it was leaked to the press that there would be new restrictions imposed on the lives of millions of people in parts of England; changes that will probably be announced at the start of next week. So for millions of people there is a weekend ahead of worry and uncertainty. One study on anxiety states that a review of evidence “provides strong support for the central and disruptive role of uncertainty …. in subclinical and clinical anxiety.” (1)
Anxiety is truly horrible, and can have an impact on every area of a person’s life. So what can we do this weekend as we are prompted to reflect on the our mental health and that of those around us?
As a yoga and mindfulness teacher I am obviously going to point to the well documented link between mindfulness and positive mental health. I have recently posted two new mindfulness videos on my youtube channel, one of which is specifically aimed at allowing negative thoughts to come and go. There are lots of other mindfulness videos on my channel, and the fact that some of these are the most watched tells me that many people need this practice in their lives. (2)
But there is another action that we all can take.
These are uncertain times and often we have no idea what other people are going through in their minds. Levels of anxiety and other mental illness have risen sharply during the pandemic (and they were already pretty high to begin with - 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental illness in any given year). Let’s take the opportunity given to us by World Mental Health Day to go out of our way to be kind to others, and be grateful for their kindness to us.
Stay physically and mentally safe.
- Grupe DW, Nitschke JB. Uncertainty and anticipation in anxiety: an integrated neurobiological and psychological perspective. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013;14(7):488-501. doi:10.1038/nrn3524