Improve Your Mental Wellbeing in as Little as 5 Minutes

Thanks to the power of nature, you can improve your mental health in as little as five minutes.

Researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom looked at the impact exercising in a green environment has on mental health. They found that only five minutes of movement in a green setting (e.g., walking, gardening, cycling outdoors) was enough to mentally recharge and boost mental health. After five minutes the benefits plateaued suggesting that the biggest return on investing time outside is gained in the first five minutes.

It is incredible that in as little as five minutes of outdoor activity in nature, you can give your brain a break, gain a fresh outlook and offer a mental reboot. Take time throughout the day to take a break and tap into its health benefits.

Research also suggests that spending time in nature may:

Lower the stress hormone cortisol

Lessens the physical and mental effects of stress

Reduce blood pressure and heart rate

Increase immune cells called natural killer cells that fight viruses

Give a boost to your mood

Help to lift depressive symptoms

Decrease feelings of anxiety and worry

Improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration

Ways to incorporate more nature into your day:

  • Spend time outdoors on your coffee or lunch break by taking a walk through a local park or find a spot near the ocean or body of water to take in nature.
  • Consider moving your meetings outdoors. Walking meetings are a terrific way to connect with others while benefitting from being outdoors. Win/win!
  • Put it into your schedule; block time each day to head outside
  • Head out for a hike on a day off and notice the different shades of autumn that are present
  • Consider bringing the outdoors in by incorporating more plants into your workspace

Write yourself a “wellness prescription” of taking a nature break 5 minutes/day and repeat, as necessary. Your wellbeing will thank you for it.

Stressed? Try this circuit breaker

I am hearing from many professionals in a variety of organizational settings that the cumulative wash out effects of uncertainty, loss of control, immense organizational shifts, and staff changes over the past couple of years have helped drive burnout and exhaustion to an all-time high. Many folks are reporting feeling a great deal of stress and overwhelm in their personal lives as well. Add another layer of intensity from witnessing the events happening around the world and things get even more muddled.

Having all these thoughts and worries swirling around in your mind can be draining and can have a detrimental effect on your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. The great news is there are many ways to shift this. The following strategy is one of them.

The following six questions are designed to assist you in breaking this pattern of thinking and interrupting your emotional response to allow for greater clarity and perspective. The questions also propel you to create space for new solutions, opportunities, and next best action steps to take.

For best results, take a pen and a piece of paper and divide the paper into two columns. At the top of each column, you will write one question. The two questions are designed to work as a pair. For example, at the top of the column on the left side write “What’s mine to own in this situation?” and at the top of the column on the right side write “What’s not mine to own in this situation?”

Allow your answers to the questions to flow. No editing; no overthinking. Capture what first comes to mind.

Going analogue (putting pen to paper) for this exercise is a great way to get all your thoughts out, organize them, and see them from a different angle. All of which will help to decrease stress and create more ease.

6 Pairs of Questions to Break the Pattern of Stress and Gain Perspective, Clarity, and Empowerment

  1. What’s mine to own in this situation; and what’s not mine to own in this situation?
  2. What’s my responsibility here; and what’s not my responsibility here?
  3. What’s mine to do; and what’s not mine to do?
  4. What’s mine to say; and what’s mine not to say?
  5. What’s mine to care about; and what’s not mine to care about?
  6. What’s in my control; and what’s not in my control?

Following this you may consider asking: Given what you captured on the left side, what might be your next best action to take? What other options or solutions have emerged?

Given what you wrote on the right side what can you do to let it go? Who else needs to be aware and involved?

It’s okay to own what is yours to own; do what’s yours to do; care about what’s yours to care about. That’s enough.

As organizations are re-emerging in a post-pandemic world, many are looking for new ways to reinvigorate their teams, foster resilience, and enhance psychological safety. Our fall 2022 training offerings can assist and deliver on these items. Contact Sara@sarawegwitz.com for more information.

Spotlight on Mental Wellbeing

It has been estimated that on average we have approximately 50 000 thoughts per day. Of those 50 000 thoughts only 5% are new. Consider that for a moment. Almost all of what we typically think about in a day is the same.

Our self-talk (internal dialogue), defines, reinforces, and at times confines, our interpretation of our outside world. In other words, our self-talk sets the frame in which we view our world. These thoughts, either positive or negative in nature, dictate how we interact with others and how we behave. Our experiences don’t define or defeat us. Our self talk does.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of the time our internal dialogue would register as negative in nature. The following strategies, when used consistently, can cultivate, and help shift your mindset to one that is more compassionate.

1. SPEAK TO YOURSELF LIKE A SUPPORTIVE FRIEND WOULD.

If one of our friend’s needed some support and care we would not choose to talk to them in a negative, destructive, and toxic way, would we? We’d likely be softer and gentler with our approach. The invitation here is to choose to use empowering, supportive, and kind language towards yourself. It might sound like this: “You’ve got this. I know times are tough right now and you are doing the best with what you have from where you are. Take it one step at a time.”

2. CREATE YOUR OWN MENTAL CUE.

Creating a mental cue can help shift your internal dialogue to one that is more supportive and compassionate. A mental cue is a statement that is positive, affirming, and helpful to you. E.g., “I can totally do this!” “I’ll figure this out like I’ve always figured it out.” “Focus now.”

3. JOURNAL WRITING.

Another way to build and foster a more compassionate and kinder mental mindset is through writing in a journal. When we put pen to paper and get out our thoughts and feelings out, it can shift perspective and offer new meaning and insights. Writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all your brainpower to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you. In addition, you can hone your intuition/instincts.
Here is a simple exercise that may help. You’ll need a quiet place for this. Think of a situation that you would love to receive some guidance, help, or advice on from a positive mentor in your life. From here create some questions that you’d like to ask them. Ask one question at a time. Tune inward and listen for an answer. When you hear the answer write it out in your journal and move to the next question. This is a powerful activity that assists you to tap into your own intuition or internal wisdom.

4. START A VICTORY LOG.

Keep a notebook handy and fill it with your wins and successes as they happen. It doesn’t matter big or small they are they all count. It’s important to be consistent in capturing them. You may consider taking a few minutes each evening to reflect on your day and ask “What were three things that went or worked well today?” or “What happened today that was a win?”
When you have a low feeling day and need a boost grab your victory log and read through your wins and successes to date. It will remind you just how capable, resourceful, and resilient you really are.

5. WARMER…COLDER…

Remember this game? It’s all about feedback. Are you on course or off? Are you on track or off track? Are you getting close or moving further away? Choose to see the things that you are working on or goals you are working towards as feedback. Am I getting warmer or getting colder? Then adjust. “What action can I take that would get me back on track?” There is no such thing as failure, only feedback or results. Therefore, you can do no wrong. Either you get what you want or the lesson that you need. Embracing this practice will lead to greater confidence, flexibility, and self-acceptance. You will find that you become more compassionate towards yourself.

6. FOCUS ON LEARNING/GROWTH.

High quality questions tend to begin with “how” or “what”. These kinds of questions set your mindset up to look for the learning and growth in a situation and help maintain perspective. Asking high quality questions is also a great way to foster a more compassionate mindset. E.g., “Given my situation right now, what is my next best step?” “Given my low energy right now, what is the highest and best use of time?” “What can I learn from this situation? How can I grow?” Listen for the answers and follow through. When you choose to focus on what you can learn or how you can grow from an experience you are shifting your perspective and building positive reinforcement.

7. DO SOMETHING THAT YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR.

It can be little or big, it doesn’t matter. It might be, setting up the coffee maker the night before so that when you awaken you smell fresh brewed coffee; making your lunch the night before; scheduling and booking a regular monthly massage; preparing for the week ahead on Sundays etc. What is one thing that you can do today that your future self will thank you for?

In conclusion, I encourage you to frame cultivating a compassionate mindset as a skill to learn. Focus on consistently practicing these or other strategies that work for you and over time, you’ll begin to notice how different your mindset becomes.

For more tools, support, and training for yourself and or your team contact sara@sarawegwitz.com

Too often we resist saying no when we want to and especially when our inner guidance system aka intuition says no. Instead, here is an all-too-common response. After receiving “the ask” via email, text, voicemail, or in person we tend to go back and forth in our minds with a “should I or shouldn’t I” tennis match.

In doing so we rob ourselves of the present moment, our ability to listen to our wise inner voice and instead become consumed by the request and how we’ll respond. Even if we decide to say no, we feel like we must qualify it, as in, “I would really like to help but I have so much on my plate right now” or “I’m busy, I have the quarterly report due, my kids have soccer and I have to bake three cakes.” You get the idea. Then we say sorry and choose to feel guilty for saying no even if the way you have qualified your “no” is true. Sound vaguely familiar? If you want to learn a different way to say no – guilt free – and mean it; read on.

  1. Practice saying No. Literally.

The first thing is to practice simply saying the word “No.” Out loud. The more you get into the habit of saying no, the easier it will be to say it when you need to.

  1. Acknowledge the situation and “the ask.”

Folks deserve to be acknowledged, seen, and heard; we are human after all. A simple reflection back of what the person has shared and asked is a terrific way to achieve this.

“Wow. It sounds like you have a lot going on right now. I can sympathize and understand where your request is coming from.”

  1. Use “and” versus “but.”

This simple word swap changes the tone of your message and how your message is received. Using “and” provides the bridge to the next step.

  1. Your gracious decline.

Putting 2 and 3 together your response may look like this:

“Wow. It sounds like you have a lot going on. I can understand why you are asking, and I am unable to help you at this time.”

Or

“Wow. You have a lot going on right now. I would like to help and am unable to.”

Note there is no need to qualify or explain your reasoning for your response.

  1. Ask a high-quality question.

High quality questions typically begin with “how” or “what.” Asking a high-quality question will help the other person get into a resourceful state by shifting their perspective and potentially opening fresh solutions/opportunities that they haven’t yet considered.

“Wow. It sounds like you have a lot going on. I can understand why you are asking, and I am unable to help you. Given that, what do you think your next best step is?” Or point them in a direction for another resource e.g., “May I offer you something? Have you considered reaching out to _____?”

Most people have all the resources within them right now to solve what’s going on. Be it reaching out to ask others for help or looking within for the answer. Rarely is it a lack of resources that holds us back. What typically holds us back is our temporary amnesia in remembering that we are and can be resourceful. Asking the other person, a high-quality question, will help elicit their resourcefulness and empower them. You are helping and serving them in the moment by asking a high-quality question. Win/win! Zero guilt.

  1. Release and let it go.

In other words, move on dot org.

Manage your expectations that you place on yourself and the perceived expectations you think others have with you. Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are. Trust that it’s enough. Trust that others will figure it out and find their way; trust that everything in fact will not fall apart because you said no.

Give yourself permission to say no and be okay with it. It will be awkward at first just like learning to ride a bike was. Allow yourself to be a beginner and with practice it will become easier. You’ve got this.

Your Potential is Unlimited

There is a story behind this message.

A few days ago, I was catching up with a friend down at a local beach. Being ocean side never disappoints with its abundant healing and grounding offerings as well as views.

As my friend and I were chatting away at a seaside picnic table a woman slowly made her way up from the beach towards us. With a big smile and an outstretched hand, she asked if we would like to pick one. Poking out of an envelope were several different patterned bookmarks. We happily played along and chose a pattern/print that spoke to us. On the other side revealed a message. Both my friend and I were pleasantly surprised with the messages we intuitively chose. We thanked this stranger for her kindness and generosity of spirit in sharing these with us.

“Dee” as she introduced herself, began to share that in her view “The world needs more positivity, love, and compassion especially now.” Having gone through her own recent life challenges, the idea came to her to the create bookmarks and offer them to folks she’d meet in the coffee shop or on her walks at the beach. In her words, she simply wanted to “Bring more light into the world.” Her thinking was that if even one of her bookmarks affixed with various messages of love, hope, and encouragement brightened someone’s day or helped someone going through a dark and tough time that’s what would keep her going. It was inspiring to hear her share her mission.

What stood out to me in this interaction was something much more than the message on the bookmark.

It was the humanness of the interaction. The simple yet deeper purpose of Dee’s offerings; her kindness; and pure intentions. Sometimes we forget how small acts of kindness can impact us and those around us in a positive way causing a ripple effect. You never know how impactful, timely, and far reaching your gestures of kindness can go.

Dee, mission accomplished. Thank you for brightening our day and being a light in this world.

To anyone needing to hear this message, your potential is unlimited!

Discernment

Intuition

The Gift of Tuning In

Energetic frequencies are a lot like radio frequencies…all are available at any given time. Antennae are also everywhere…most times our personal antennae are focused on what’s happening externally…news, social media, distractions, our ‘to do’ lists; what others are thinking, saying, etc. Our attention oscillates all over the place to the next thing to grab our attention…running corrupt scenarios in our minds…our not enough stories “good enough, smart enough, worthy enough”. We get stuck in a pattern and addicted to tuning into the disempowering, negative, self destructive, painful external noise of our world and our distorted internal illusions of how we see ourselves.

Ever notice how depleted we get after only focusing on the noise of the external frequencies?

These external frequencies give us something to do with our focus and attention while distracting us from matters of our heart; the inner nudges that are trying to make themselves known to help us with our challenges; to offer insights/guidance to troubling situations etc.

If only we’d shift our focus and attention to these more powerful frequencies also known as your heart; intuition; inner wisdom; inner authority; gut instincts etc.

These frequencies aren’t just for the ‘woo’ inclined. We all have intuition/ instincts. I am sure that you have had experiences where despite cold hard logic and available data, you were guided to take a different direction or make a new choice without any rhyme or reason…then despite said logic you chose to follow through on this nudge and discover it was the best decision or choice. That’s the gift of tuning in and trusting your intuition – it always knows the truth and always knows exactly what to do. All we need to do is be more deliberate and intentional with tuning inwards.

Just like moving the tuning dial on a radio, we can easily change the channel to tune in and listen to our inner wisdom.

All we need is within us now…simply get still, quiet, breathe, ask a question, and listen. I invite you to take a few minutes everyday to give yourself the gift of tuning in.