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As today is World Mental Health Day, this year the theme is "Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority".

Here are Five Ways to Well-being which are simple actions to practice each day to maintain or improve our mental health and well-being. Each action can make a positive difference in your life because small improvements in well-being can increase our ability to lead a more fulfilling life.


Talk and Stay Connected:

Good relationships are important for your mental well-being. They can:

  • help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth

  • give you an opportunity to share positive experiences

  • provide emotional support and allow you to support others

Be Active:

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental well-being by:

  • raising your self-esteem

  • helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them

  • causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood

Learn New Skills:

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental well-being by:

  • boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem

  • helping you to build a sense of purpose

  • helping you to connect with others

Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.


Pay Attention To The Present Moment (MINDFULNESS)

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental well-being. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.

Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.


Start a Gratitude Journal

Make it a priority to actively and deliberately focus on the positive to avoid being overwhelmed by daily stressors. One way to focus on the good in life is to write down positive thoughts and notes about what you are grateful for. It can help to change your mind frame and how you think, act and talk.





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Kerry Peer Support Network is delighted to be part of the Kerry Mental Health & Well-being fest which is back again this year and will be held between Saturday, 8th – 15th October 2022. The Fest aims to raise awareness of the available supports and services in the county as well as empower people to engage with the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ through offering a dynamic and interactive programme of events.

Why not check out our event (Wednesday 12th October) and register to come along and have a chat and a cuppa with us on the day.

https://kerrymentalhealthandwellbeingfest.com/fest-event/5260-looking-after-our-mental-health-with-kerry-peer-support-network




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What is grounding and how can it help?

'Grounding' refers to techniques that can help 'ground' you in the present. They can be useful when you're experiencing intense emotions, feeling overwhelmed or having panic attacks or nightmares.

If you have experienced trauma, you may at times feel overwhelmed by memories, thoughts and feelings. You may feel ‘triggered’ or experience flashbacks. Grounding techniques are designed to help you be ‘grounded’ in the here and now – not thinking about the past or being overwhelmed by your thoughts or feelings.

They include techniques that can help you feel more connected with your body and your surroundings. They also include techniques that refocus your attention away from unwanted memories, distressing thoughts or overwhelming feelings.


Grounding techniques can help you cope with:

  • Flashbacks

  • Distressing emotions, such as fear or panic

  • Intrusive or unwanted thoughts

  • Self-harm urges

  • Dissociation

When can I use grounding techniques?

Grounding techniques can be done anywhere and at any time. You can use them when you:

  • Feel overwhelmed

  • Experience a trigger

  • Feel panic or anxiety

  • Have distressing emotions

  • Have flashbacks or intrusive memories

  • Feel dissociated

  • Have the urge to self-harm

  • The aim is to help you feel calmer and more in control.


Grounding techniques

We've suggested some grounding techniques to try if you're experiencing difficult emotions. Everyone responds differently, so go through them and see what works best for you.


What do I need to do?

Grounding techniques are very personal. What works really well for you might not work for someone else. Grounding techniques also become easier with practice. Aim to do some every day or whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Mental techniques

These techniques help you to refocus your thoughts.


5-4-3-2-1

This technique helps you to focus your attention on the present:

Name 5 things you can see.

Name 4 things you can feel (“my feet on the floor”).

Name 3 things you can hear (“traffic outside”, “birds singing”).

Name 2 things you can smell.

Name 1 thing you can taste.


Alphabet game

Pick a category (e.g. ‘food’) and think of an item for every letter in the alphabet (e.g. apple, banana, crisps… etc).


Concentrate on a mental task

Complete a tricky mental task or calculation. For example:


Go through your times tables (3 x 2 is…, 3 x 3 is…, etc).

Say the alphabet backwards.

Do some challenging sums (19 x 21 = …).


Imagery

Visualise something that stops you from focusing on your unwanted thoughts or feelings.

For example you could imagine:

  • A big STOP sign.

  • Changing the ‘TV channel’.

  • ‘Turning down the dial’ on your emotions.

  • Use an anchoring phrase

  • Describe who you are, how old you are, the date today, the time, where you are now.

  • For example, “My name is Mary, I am 45 years old. Today is Monday and it is raining, it’s 10am, I’m sat in my living room.” You can keep adding details until you feel better. “My tea is warm. I can hear the rain fall outside.”

Physical techniques

These techniques help you to feel physically grounded and connected to your body.

  • Breathe

  • Pay attention to your breath.

  • Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth.

  • Place your hands on your belly. Watch as your hands move up and down as you breathe.

  • Touch a grounding object

  • Try carrying a small object in your pocket wherever you go – for example a small stone. Touch or grip this when you feel overwhelmed or triggered.

Dig your heels in

  • Concentrate on putting your weight into your heels. Remind yourself that you are physically connected to the ground. Stamp your feet if that helps.

  • You could try it barefoot on a soft carpet or rug.

  • Tense and release

  • Try clenching and releasing your fists.

  • You can also tense up your entire body and focus on slowly releasing it, from the forehead, jaw, shoulders right down to your toes.

Touch or grip objects

Touch or grip different objects around you. Think about how they feel.

Or try gripping onto your chair as hard as you can.

Wiggle and stretch

Stretch your arms and legs.

Try wiggling your fingers or toes.


Soothing techniques

These techniques help you to feel calm, safe and relaxed.


Happy place

Think about a place you can relax, feel safe and be happy. It can be real or imagined. This could be a tropical beach, a cosy room with a log fire, high up on a mountain overlooking the world...it's up to you.


Plan a treat

Think about a soothing, relaxing treat for later – for example a bubble bath, a nap under your favourite blanket, or nice meal.


Coping statements

  • Repeat coping statements to yourself or write them down. For example, “I am strong”, “I have done this before”, “This too shall pass”.

  • Safety statements: Repeat safety statements to yourself or write them down. For example, “I am safe now”.

  • Self-kindness: Repeat kind, compassionate and encouraging statements to yourself or write them down. For example, “I matter”, “I am having a tough time but I will get through this”, “I am trying hard and doing really well"

You don’t have to use the techniques suggested – there may be something that works better for you. Remember, grounding becomes easier with practice. Try to use your technique regularly to see if it becomes more effective. It can also really help talk to someone about how you are feeling.



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