The cost of living is not a Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor.
Poverty is the worst form of violence as it deals most cruelly with those who can least protect themselves.
The rising energy prices are like a punishment for a crime we did not commit.
It is lashing out and entrapping millions of us, whose incomes do not match the rise in the cost of living. Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth, these are the same fight.
When prices soar, the cost of living goes up and the chance of living goes down.
The impact that we see is the pensioner and the widow security undermined, critical workers savings melting away.
The poor are further trapped in an endless environment of basic survival and existence and
our kids go hungry. Our foodbanks become the life blood of whole communities, whilst our politicians fight and bicker with each other.
Research shows that there are do-it-yourself strategies and lifestyle changes that can improve anxiety and depression symptoms.
Here are ten evidence-based activities to help yourself.
1. Go outside to reduce ‘doom spiralling’
Connecting with nature and being outdoors reduces rumination, which is a pattern of negative and repetitive thoughts. Being with nature is proven to immediately boost your mental health.
2. Shake and move yourself
When you are feeling depressed, exercise may seem like the least appealing thing you could do. However, physical exercise is so important for both your physical and mental wellbeing and is proven to work.
3. Connect with others and break negative thought patterns
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our social lives, we had already seen prominent levels of loneliness in the UK. That is sad news for mental health, so join social clubs, groups and participate in activities. Drive yourself to connect and engage with others.
4. Hug someone
It is deceptively simple, but human touch can make people feel less lonely and again has huge mental health benefits.
5. Practice meditation to activate emotional control
Decades of research suggest that meditation can have mental health benefits. For instance, meditation practices can activate brain networks associated with emotional control. If you cannot afford 10 minutes a day for meditation then you must do it for an hour, because the benefits are so important.
6. Just Breathe
When the fight, fight or freeze response kicks in, the body automatically prepares for danger. Deep, slow breathing exercises can also help reduce anxiety and really help in the moment.
7. Be thankful
When everything looks bleak, it is not always easy to find a silver lining. The very act of searching for that silver lining and practicing gratitude can help make the world a brighter place. Be thankful for what you do have rather than constantly thinking of what you do not have, this mindset will only create negative thought patterns. Expressing gratitude within a relationship can boost people’s happiness in that relationship. When you see terrible things, look for the helpers, because there are always people helping, see and realise the good and be thankful for it.
8. Stop feeding your dark side
Stop the doom-scrolling. Regulate where and how you get your news. Do things that make you feel good.
9. Put sleep first
Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances go hand-in-hand. Ruminating and worrying can make it hard to sleep; at the same time, lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety and negative feelings. It can be a viscous cycle so try a meditation before bed.
10. Manage your health conditions
People with chronic health conditions have higher rates of depression than the general population, so check in with yourself and take time to look after yourself.
In many assessment and leadership programmes that I run for elite performers, I often learn more than I teach, as I am given a unique insight into how these individuals prepare through what I call the 5Ms. Mental Reflection, Mental Redirection, Meditation, Mental Visualisation, Mindset Engagement. In my many sessions for a very diverse engagement with global leaders, CEOs, sports teams, politicians my take aways are that we all suffer from imposter syndrome, we all have anxieties, we all question our capabilities, we all have dreams and some of us learn how to turn these fears and challenges into positive energy that allows them to take action to achieve their goals. Hopefully my words help you. Please do check out my thoughts and teachings on twitter @thebeaksquawks, www.mauriceduffy.com or email me at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading.
Dr Maurice Duffy
- Professor of Innovation and Change at Sunderland University and UTS (Sydney)
- Elite Performance Coach in Sports, Business, Politics and Public Sector
- High Performance Consulting Coach for Google, NHS, Sinopec, Durham CC, HP, Australia CC
- Advisor to the Mongolian Government
- Weekly BBC commentator
- Living North Columnist
- Best Selling Author ‘New Mindsets for New Times’