Mental Wellness Challenge
Last week’s challenge was to learn something about mental illness and to share that learning with a family member and a co-worker. I hope you #GotLoud about mental health!
I’m going to challenge you to MOVE this week. Physical exercise is proven to be as effective as anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications in light to moderate cases of depression and anxiety.
This week I challenge you to go do 4 separate exercises.
- Go for a walk in the Community Forest on your own. Take 20 minutes and go for a brisk walk. Listen to the trees and the bees, smell the flowers, pay attention to what you are thinking about while you are out there for that walk. Try to NOT think about work, family problems, the state of the world, politics, and all those other things that are distracting. Take those 20 minutes to recharge alone.
- Go for a walk in the Community Forest with a friend or family member. Take 20 minutes and go for a brisk walk. You’ll have to arrange this with your friend up front. Talk to your friend about something that is sitting on your mind. Share how that “thing” makes you feel and share ideas about what you can do about it. Your friend is there to listen to you. They aren’t to say anything, offer advice, or discuss your thoughts. Just listen. This is as much an exercise in listening for them as it is in sharing for you. At the end of the walk, share a hug or an embrace with the person you have walked with. Connect with that person.
I have a really tough time as the listener when I do this with a friend or my spouse.
- You’ve got it… Go for a walk in the Community Forest (or anywhere you feel safe and comfortable) with a friend or family member. Share 20 minutes of your life with someone you care about. This time it’s their turn to talk about something that is sitting on their mind. Your task is to just listen. You aren’t to have a discussion with them, you’re only there to listen. No advice, no comments, just listen. Let your friend or family member share their experience with you. At the end of your walk, share a hug or an embrace with the person you have just shared 20 minutes of your life with. Connect with that person!
- One more walk. Walk for 20 minutes in the Community Forest (or anywhere you feel safe and comfortable) on your own again. Take 20 minutes and connect with the space around you. Listen to the wind in the trees or feel the rain drip on your head etc. or try to focus on your foot steps. Use this time to think about your experience sharing a concern with someone you trust and having them just listen to what you are sharing and your experience just listening.
I find this incredibly valuable! I get out and get some exercise for my body. I intentionally share something that is “at me” in a way that I truly feel appreciated, un-judged and supported. I intentionally share my life with someone I care about. I build connections.
I sincerely believe the hugs or embraces at the end of each walk with a friend are super important! In our technology filled world, we don’t touch… We are missing out on physical touch – on connecting. I believe we are social animals and this is a part of our being that we NEED to be well…
So – there it is, there’s the challenge for this week! This challenge goes to intention, supports, connections, values and action in my model.
I challenge you!