Skip to main content

How to Tune in To Your Body and Reduce Stress

Have you ever noticed yourself feeling run down, worn out and emotionally numb when stress levels are soaring? You might feel like you’re carrying the weight of your worries on your shoulders, and you wouldn’t be wrong.  

Knowing how to listen to your body can help you identify when you might need to take some rest and look after yourself. In this article, we look at the connection between the body and mind and explore healthier ways to respond to stressful times, so that you can find a little extra peace! 

It’s important to look after your body and mind!

A bit of stress here and there is perfectly okay. It might push you to meet deadlines or walk faster when you’re late or sense danger and seek safety. But overactive and prolonged stress levels can be physically damaging, as the mind is intrinsically connected with the body. 

Why Does Stress Manifest Itself Physically?  

It’s all down to a science. When you encounter a stressful situation or thought, your brain transmits signals that release a steroid hormone called cortisol into the body. Cortisol, also known as the body’s natural alarm system, regulates certain processes in the body such as your immune system and digestive functions. However, much like anything out of balance, this hormone can put your health at risk when overactive.  

The short term effects of this could manifest in symptoms such as:

  • Tension headaches
  • An upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep problems

Long term effects include increased risk of heart attacks, arthritis and memory issues.  

Why Is It Important to Listen to Your Body?

We all get aches and pains sometimes, but persistent headaches, digestive issues or muscle pains could be your body’s way of telling you to rest and make changes to your lifestyle! Prolonged stress causes muscles to tense up in a fight or flight response. So, if you notice (in particular) your back, shoulders and neck aching, it could be that your body is signalling to you to do some stress relief exercises.  

Here are some ways you can destress easily in your day-to-day life: 

1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise increases the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, increasing blood flow and releasing endorphins, effectively de-stressing the body and loosening your muscles (remember to warm up first!). A little bit of regular exercise will release tension from the body and help you think clearer too, as you focus on the present moment and let your stressful thoughts go.

Read Now: How Exercise Benefits Mental Health

2. Sleep

Your body restores and repairs itself during deep sleep, so keeping an eye on your sleep cycles and ensuring you are getting proper rest is essential to staying healthy and keeping stress levels at bay.

Sleep is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.

Read Now:  How to Get Better Sleep and Why Understanding Sleep is Crucial to Your Wellbeing

3. Understand Your Stress

What is it that is stressing you out? How can you tackle this? Getting to the root cause of stress will help you to navigate your way through it. If it is work, for example, you may need to consider cutting back your hours or organising your life so that you have enough time for yourself. If it’s a deeper issue that is troubling you, you could consider some talking therapy. 

4. Strike Balance

Make sure you are taking time to have fun and let go. When your life is dominated by stress, your body will begin to feel it. Have a bath, go for a walk somewhere stunning, see your friends and family, and find new hobbies that give you pleasure.  

5. Breathe Deep and Stretch

This is useful for short term symptoms of stress, such as feeling tight chested and short-breathed, or to alleviate aches in your muscles. Getting your body moving and controlling your breathing pattern can help you to centre yourself and calm down.

Read Now: Four Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress

To Sum Up…

Our emotional worlds manifest in physical symptoms in the body. But this works in both ways: when we smile and rest and experience joy, it boosts our immune system and fights stress and aches. So, it is important to have a healthy balanced lifestyle with plenty of rest and quality time for you!   

For more help managing your health, wellbeing and lifestyle, contact us at Ceed today! 

How to Spring Clean Your Body and Mind

Coming out of winter and into spring feels like a great time to have a fresh start. Spring is associated with new beginnings and growth, so why not apply that to yourself as well? 

You’ve probably already thought about spring cleaning your house – getting rid of the clutter, reorganising your cupboards, deep cleaning everything. So, if you are willing to do it for your house, why don’t you do it for yourself too? 

Here are five ways to spring clean your body and mind, so you can feel refreshed and renewed. 

1. Drink Water 

It seems simple, but we tend to underestimate the power that water can have on our day-to-day lives. Drinking more water can help to cleanse your body and mind, by flushing out toxins and boosting energy. 

You should aim to drink at least two litres – or eight glasses – a day. This will help reduce fatigue and loss of concentration and even clear up your skin. The benefits of drinking more water are endless.  

Drinking water has great health benefits!

2. Fix Your Sleeping Pattern 

It’s difficult to feel refreshed and renewed if you aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but it’s important to ensure that sleep is restful.  

Try to avoid using your phone or other screens for at least an hour before bed. Being exposed to the blue light that screens give off can impact our sleep quality, and makes it harder to fall asleep or get a good rest.  

You should stop drinking caffeinated drinks in the early afternoon, and switch to decaf instead. This gives your body time to flush the caffeine out before you go to sleep. If you are drinking coffee an hour before bed, likely, you won’t be falling asleep quickly or getting proper rest.  

Going to sleep even just half an hour earlier can help reduce overall tiredness, giving you more energy throughout the day. 

Read Now: How to Get Better Sleep 

3. Focus on Your Food 

What you eat can have an impact on your well-being and your mind. Constantly eating processed and unhealthy food can leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive, so it’s important to get a good mix of healthy foods in your diet.  

Having a nutritious breakfast is a great way to start the day. It gives you energy and helps to create a healthy habit. It’s also a good idea to try and eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, so you can align your body with spring in a natural way.  

If you struggle to find time to cook healthy meals during the week, consider meal prepping at the weekend or the start of the week. You can bulk cook the base of a meal, and then add your toppings throughout the week to save time. This ensures you still have a healthy and nutritious diet without the effort of cooking for hours every evening.  

Meal prepping can save time and still be healthy.

4. Declutter Your Mind 

When you think of spring cleaning, it’s likely you think about decluttering your home. But what about your mind? It’s easy for us to overthink and struggle to concentrate when our brains are full of information and emotions.  

Try to take time to write down everything that comes into your head, no matter what it is. Don’t think too hard about what you are writing, just let it flow naturally. You will realise that lots of your worries and concerns will be coming out, even if you don’t think of them often. 

Doing this will help you to clear your mind as you can physically see what has been troubling you. This will help reduce stress, and can often feel like a weight has been lifted.  

Journaling is a great way to let out your emotions and refresh your mind, as well as confronting what might be bothering you.  

Read Now: Why Journaling is Good for Your Mental Wellbeing  

5. Cut Down on Social Media  

Most of us are more addicted to social media than we realise, and it can have a really negative impact on our mental health without even realising. Think about who you are following and engaging with online, and try to question whether they make you happy or not.  

If there are certain people that make you unhappy when you see their posts or content, simply unfollow them. You aren’t obliged to interact with anyone you don’t want to. By removing negative posts on your social media, you can transform your online space into a positive place. This means that the time you spend online won’t have such a negative impact, and can even help you to reduce your time on social media.  

Read Now: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Online 

Conclusion 

So when you think it’s time to do some spring cleaning this season, don’t forget to consider yourself too. Following these simple steps will help to create a positive start to the season, and can really change the direction of your lifestyle for the better. 

For more information on improving your lifestyle and looking after your mental health, contact the team at Ceed today! 

Why Hobbies Are Good for Your Mental Health

It’s very common for people not to prioritise hobbies and downtime. With working or studying full time it’s difficult to set aside time for ourselves to relax and indulge in activities we enjoy.  

Having a hobby is a great way to spend your spare time and unwind from your daily routine. Hobbies can range from learning an instrument, playing a sport, reading, photography or something artistic. 

By setting time aside for hobbies you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from low moods, stress and depression. 

Hobbies allow you to enhance your life! 

What is a Hobby? 

A hobby can be any activity that you do regularly for your own enjoyment. Whether this is something creative, athletic or academic, what matters is that it’s meaningful to you. 

When you dedicate time to voluntarily engage in pleasurable activities, your mental health can benefit. 

Read now: The Valuable Mental Health Benefits of Cold Water Swimming 

Mental Health Benefits of Hobbies: 

Reduce Stress 

Hobbies are a perfect way to distract yourself after a busy day. They provide the opportunity to focus on yourself and release any stress built up from your day.  

Spending time on a hobby can be as simple as finding the time to listen to music. Whatever activity you choose will help manage your stress levels. So, take some time out of your busy day to start painting, or go outside and walk in nature.  

Creativity Boosts Wellbeing 

Partaking in creative activities such as song-writing, knitting, art and musical performance have all been shown to increase positive moods. By pursuing creative hobbies you’ll see an improvement in your mental wellbeing.  

Creative activities also allow you to expand neural connections in your brain, which has been linked to the release of the feel good hormone dopamine. Spending as little as two hours per week on an activity you enjoy can help you live a more positive life. 

Form Connections With Others 

Hobbies that include other people, such as team sports, offer great opportunities to foster social connections and friendships. Having a healthy social life can have a highly positive impact on your mental health.  

Shared experience through hobbies can also enhance your enjoyment of the activity and help you feel less isolated. So, if you’re looking for a new hobby, try something interactive team sport or even joining a band. 

Read now: Intentional Living: How Can it Benefit You? 

A hobby is something that you do for fun or personal fulfilment. 

Tips to Make Time for Hobbies 

A common issue when it comes to investing in hobbies is time. When it comes to how our lives are typically structured, work tends to come before play.  

Although many of us feel like there isn’t enough time in the day for hobbies, there are a few changes you can make to help free up some time for the things you love: 

  • Regularly participating in a hobby doesn’t mean you have you do it daily, a weekly activity will be a lot easier to fit into your schedule. Just an hour or two a week is a great addition to your lifestyle. If you feel you still don’t have the time try saying no more often and putting a hobby higher up on your list of priorities. 
  • It’s easy to lose a lot of valuable time in your day by doing mindless things like scrolling on social media or watching TV. Be conscious of how you’re spending your free time and try to make sure you’re using it wisely.  
  • If you’re finding it difficult to find extra free time, try taking more micro-breaks during the workday. This will help you find the time to do things you enjoy while also increasing your overall productivity. You could use these short breaks to go for a walk outside, listen to your favourite podcast or read a few chapters of a book.  

Read now: Surprising Benefits of Exercise: Confidence and Creativity 

Having a hobby can greatly improve your life. Do some research and find a few activities that interest you and simply try them out. There’s no pressure to stick to anything you don’t enjoy but eventually, you’ll find a hobby that’s suited to you.  

For further advice on lifestyle changes you can make to benefit your mental health, contact our experts at Ceed here 

Why Creating a Healthy Routine is Good for You

Routines are the mind, and body’s natural clockwork – after getting used to a certain internal flow, a habit will fit into place like a jigsaw puzzle and can get stuck there. 

However, sometimes, these routines can be bad and ultimately unhealthy for you. Here are what a healthy routine can do for you: 

Healthiness is key to a long and prosperous life. 

Mentally 

A healthy routine doesn’t just have to be physical exercise. 

For your mental health, a healthy routine can do wonders for your mind. Spend a few hours a day listening to music, reading, writing, or going on a walk. This can lead to you spending your time being more mentally free.  

Clearing your mind from negative thoughts and clutter can improve your focus and lead you to a happier lifestyle. Your mood can improve but your focus and memory can also improve when involved in mental gymnastics. 

Being more mentally free allows you to be happier, and have a greater outlook on life.  

Physically 

Usually, when someone mentions a healthy routine, you think of physical exercise and diet, and that is what’s going to be covered in this section.  

If you are self-conscious, then physical exercise can make you feel better about yourself by improving your body, and diet. These are not only healthier choices but helps build confidence and courage in yourself to be proud of yourself.  

You can also just simply partake in a diet that will help you feel better and healthier and will have noticeable changes. You will end up feeling sick less, but it can also make your mornings a lot less groggy. 

Making it a routine to get up early would improve your sleeping pattern, and allow you to have more hours to yourself – about eight hours is healthy. This means you can have breakfast, which is stapled as one of the most important meals of the day. 

Read Now: How to Get Better Sleep 

Economically 

Your personal finance can be affected by your routine due to always buying the same thing at the shop, or for dinner every day. It can also be that you buy a takeaway frequently which can cause a decline in health and your finance as takeaways have a huge impact on you and your economy. 

By spending less money, you are also inhabiting a healthier diet – and improving physically, and mentally. As well as saving a lot more money in the long run. 

This can then be used as a sort of reward system. Let’s say you have a takeaway once a fortnight for reducing your intake. This gives you a reason for wanting to complete the challenge and results in saving money.  

Read Now: 7 Ways to Ease Financial Stress and Manage your Money 

Key to a Healthy Routine 

The key to a healthy routine is to stick to your ideals and beliefs, as delving from it can cause you to go back to your old routine. It’s about commitment, and focus. You need to want it to get it.  

It is recommended to start small and work your way up. For example, getting up earlier and having breakfast. This small step will show you what it is like to change and then can alter further changes in your routine to be healthier.   

Then someday you can tackle the more difficult changes! 

Push yourself and you will thank yourself later! 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, a healthy routine is one of the most important things for a healthier and happier life and by following your heart and not letting yourself trip on your attempts to gain a better routine, you will succeed.  

You will thank yourself in the long run. 

You are number one, and you should look out for yourself. Don’t think about how other people think, go out there and succeed. 

Hopefully, this has helped you find out why a healthy routine is good. For more information, contact us at Ceed here today. 

Burnout: What is it and How to Avoid it

It’s easy to feel stress in our daily lives, whether it’s from work, school, or relationships. But when that stress becomes unrelenting, you might be suffering from burnout instead. 

What is Burnout? 

Burnout is the combination of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, often caused by prolonged stress. It’s particularly common in the workplace when employees are overworked and don’t have time to relax. Burnout can reduce productivity and decrease energy, and create a complete lack of motivation. Signs of burnout include: 

View Post

  • Anxiety 
  • Fatigue 
  • Lack of commitment 
  • Low mood 
  • Headaches 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Cynical outlook 

Read Now: How to Regain Your Lost Motivation  

Burnout or Stress? 

Whilst there are some similarities, burnout is not the same as just being stressed. Stress comes when you are still trying to cope with all your responsibilities; burnout hits when you have given up. Burnout is a more gradual process, which makes it harder to control. 

Burnout can make you feel hopeless.

Stress often feels like a state of panic, when you feel you don’t have enough time to get everything done. By the time burnout hits, you might feel like giving up on your responsibilities, as they begin to feel unachievable.  

Burnout can be caused by lots of different things, but it is usually a combination of factors, including: 

  • Taking on too many responsibilities 
  • Lack of recognition for hard work 
  • Overly demanding expectations 
  • Feeling like you have no control  
  • Not having time for socialising or relaxing  
  • Not getting enough sleep. 

Read Now: 4 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress 

How to Avoid Burnout 

The best way to tackle burnout is to notice the signs before it becomes overwhelming. If you can work to prevent burnout before it hits, it will be much easier to manage daily stress. There are lots of different things you can do to prevent reaching burnout. 

Find the Source 

The easiest way to prevent burnout is to figure out what specifically is causing it. It’s different for everyone, so take time to evaluate your stressors, and see what often leads you to becoming burnt out.  

Finding what causes your burnout is the best way to stop it!

Once you know where the source is, it becomes a lot easier to create simple day-to-day changes. If you know where to look, you can prevent burnout and manage stress. This gives you space to set boundaries and identify areas in your life that can be improved.  

Organise Your Priorities  

If you don’t organise your priorities, you can easily end up spending too much time on less important tasks, and falling behind on the important things. Take time to assess where you should be putting your energy – you want to use it in the most efficient way possible.  

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries either. If you know your workload is too much for you, delegate tasks to someone else or ask for extensions. Becoming overwhelmed by your priorities is an easy way to end up burnt out. Prioritising the important stuff doesn’t mean you are lazy; it means you have a stronger understanding of your abilities.   

Read Now: 5 Essential Habits to Help You Stay Organised  

Ask for Help 

Tackling burnout alone can make your problems feel impossible to solve. Talking to others can help to ease the pressure you might be feeling, as it’s likely they’ve experienced something similar before. Co-workers can help you to pick up parts of your work that you don’t think you can complete, whilst friends and family can listen to and validate your concerns.  

Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

Like the team at Ceed, life coaches can help you find the best ways of managing your workload to avoid burnout in the future. Different techniques work for different people, so it’s important to find what is best for you.  

Exercise Regularly 

Exercising on a frequent basis can help to improve your mood and boost productivity. It helps you to get better sleep, which in turn sets you up to have more energy for the working day. This can decrease emotional exhaustion, psychological distress and perceived stress.  

Exercising outside can help to boost your mood!

Even exercise like taking a short walk in your lunch break can help to relax your mind and get your blood flowing. Especially if you have a job where you are sitting in the same spot all day, it is easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. Exercising can improve your wellbeing, and in turn, fights off burnout. 

Read Now: How Exercise Improves Productivity at Work  

To Sum Up… 

Dealing with burnout can be difficult, especially when it sneaks up on you. The best way to deal with it is to prevent it. Following these simple ideas will make it easier to avoid reaching a state of burnout, and can help improve your day-to-day stresses.  

If you want further help on how to tackle burnout, contact the team at Ceed today! We can provide lifestyle coaching experts to help you grow.  

A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Less Stress & More Peace

With the advancement of technology and the impact of covid, it’s easier than ever to become disconnected from ourselves. So, it’s important to find time to centre our emotions, and look inwards to create positive changes in our mindset. 

Meditation is a tried and tested method of looking inward and understanding ourselves. Used for centuries in religious and spiritual practices, it provides space to increase self-awareness, and redirect negative thoughts.   

Meditation uses wellness and mindfulness techniques to enhance our outlook on life. It’s often used to reduce stress, help sleep patterns and increase pain tolerance.  

You can include meditation as part of a daily routine, use it as a quick stress reliever, or a way to centre emotions. You don’t need loads of time to meditate, as it can be adapted to suit you and your needs. 

Meditation has many physical, emotional and mental benefits.

How Do You Meditate? 

There are many different forms meditation can take, and each has its own benefits. The form that is most suited to you depends on what you hope to gain from meditating. 

  • Guided meditation includes a teacher to help you through the steps of meditation, explaining how the mind works and how each step is beneficial to you.  
  • Mantra meditation works by focusing on a specific mantra, such as a word or sound, to let the subtle vibrations create positive change and help you reach a deep state of meditation.  
  • Mindfulness encourages awareness of your surroundings by engaging and focusing on all of your senses without judgment. 
  • Qi gong is a Chinese practice that opens energy pathways in the body called meridians, helping the energy flow through and heal the body.  
  • Yoga is a physical practice of movements that strengthen your nervous system, helping you to relax your body and relieve tension. It promotes physical balance, which helps with mental balance.  

Read Now: Practising Yoga: Combining Mindfulness and Fitness for Healthier Living  

What are the Benefits?  

Meditation has been heavily studied, and has been proven to have a wide array of benefits. Whether you want to become stronger physically, mentally, or emotionally, meditation can assist in improving your lifestyle and mindset. So, what exactly can it do? 

Reduce Stress 

When you experience stress, it increases the hormone cortisol, which can impact your sleep, cause depression and increase fatigue. Meditation can help to reduce this response, and instead create a relaxed response that calms your body. 

This means it can help stress-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. By reducing the stress hormones in your body, it reduces pressure and can calm anxiety.  

It also helps you redirect your negative thinking patterns, which are often a large contributor to stress. 

Read Now: 4 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress  

Improve Sleep 

Meditation can help those who have sleep disorders like insomnia manage their symptoms, and as a result get better sleep. Mindfulness meditation has been found to help those who suffer from chronic insomnia. It can also improve the sleep of those without existing sleep problems. 

Meditation can help relax your thoughts before bed and calm your mind, which creates a more restful environment to sleep in. As a result, it can also reduce daytime fatigue, giving you more energy throughout the day, and deeper sleep at night.  

Meditation before bed can improve your sleep quality.

Enhance Self-awareness 

When you meditate, you create space to understand yourself, which helps you learn how to grow and improve as a person. By focusing on self-awareness, it becomes easier to recognise any harmful thoughts you may have, and learn how to challenge them.  

This process of redirecting negative thoughts shows you what your emotional triggers may be, and how to best combat them.  

It can also increase self-awareness by helping you realise and focus on the positive parts of yourself. Through meditation, you can approach your emotions without judgement, and as a result you can learn to accept both the positive and negative aspects of who you are.   

Read Now: Better Your Brain Through Neuroplasticity and Positive Thinking  

Promote Emotional Health 

Meditation can lead to an improved self-image and create a more positive outlook on life. By focusing on the things around you and your own thought processes, you can reduce negative thoughts and appreciate the positive aspects of your experience.  

It can also decrease levels of the inflammatory proteins cytokines, which can contribute to depression. Meditation is sometimes used as part of a mental health treatment plan as the benefits can help reduce depression and anxiety. 

Meditation can improve your emotional health!

Control Pain 

Many types of physical pain are linked to stress, and our perception of pain can be increased significantly when we are in stressful situations. By learning to manage our perception of stress, it becomes easier to control our pain responses. This in turn decreases the level of pain we feel. 

Whilst it won’t completely rid you of any pain you are in, it helps to manage pain and decrease levels of stress that often enhance it. 

Meditation can also reduce strain on the heart by decreasing blood pressure. Stress can often cause high blood pressure, which can potentially lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Reducing stress can alleviate the pressure on the heart and relax nerve signals.  

To Sum Up… 

Meditation is a varied and adaptable way to improve your day-to-day life. It has benefits for everyone, whether you meditate for five minutes or five hours! A little can go a long way, and daily meditation has the power to really impact your life for the better.  

If you want to learn more about how to make small changes to improve your lifestyle, contact us at Ceed today! 

The Great Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a great habit to start. By giving thanks regularly you’ll reap benefits to both your mental health and your overall wellbeing.  

You can practice gratitude in a variety of different ways depending on your personal preference. Below we’ve laid out all the different ways you can start practicing gratitude today and the benefits you’ll begin to see.   

Gratitude helps people enjoy good experiences!

What Does it Mean to Practice Gratitude? 

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful or appreciative. Practicing gratitude involves recognising the positive things in your life and how they affect you.  You can be grateful for anything, big or small, and bringing awareness to both will be beneficial to you.  

Some examples of things to be grateful for are:  

  • A great cup of coffee in the morning 
  • Loving friends and family 
  • A drive to work with no traffic 
  • A sunny day 
  • Any pets that you have 
  • Getting to spend time in nature 
  • Finding a great new song.

Read Now: Why is Journaling Good for Your Mental Wellbeing? 

Getting Started Practicing Gratitude 

There are many different ways to start practicing gratitude, try a few from the list below and see which method best works for you. 

  1. Gratitude journaling 

Gratitude journaling is the most common technique which involves writing down and keeping note of all the things that you’re grateful for.  

This can be a simple as writing a note in your phone or buying a specific diary especially for this. A great way to start is to sit down each evening and write 3 things you noticed about your day that you appreciated.  

  1. Gratitude mapping 

Gratitude mapping is a fantastic method if you’re a visual learner. It’s a mind map or mood board of everything you’re grateful for, which you can place somewhere you’ll see every day to remind you.  

  1. Gratitude jars 

Gratitude jars are a fun way of practicing gratitude, whenever something good happens write it down and put it in a jar. When you’re feeling sad pick from the jar at random and remind yourself of something good in your life that you might’ve forgotten.  

  1. Morning meditation 

If you’re already into meditation, you can introduce gratitude to your practice. Reflect on what you’re grateful for and the accomplishments you’ve made in life. A morning meditation can set you up with optimism for the day, or an evening meditation can help you to relax before bed.   

  1. Prayer 

Prayer is a popular method of practicing gratitude, accessible to anyone. You can pray to faith, a higher power or even the universe. Expressing gratitude for your life and the world you live in and simply being thankful for being alive.  

  1. Volunteering 

Sometimes practicing gratitude can be hard, so if you’re not ready to sit and self-reflect volunteering is a practical form of gratitude. Helping those less fortunate than you can highlight areas of your own life to be grateful for, whilst bringing you a sense of purpose. 

Read Now: How to Live With Anxiety 

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude 

There are many benefits of practicing gratitude, for both your mental and physical health. When practiced regularly gratitude can have some of the following positive impacts on your wellbeing.  

Notice good things, look for them, appreciate them.
  1. Boosts the immune system 

Practicing gratitude can help to alleviate stress, and the less stressed you are, the better your immune system will be.  

Stress lowers the immune response in your body so increased mental well-being can help your body fight off illness. 

  1. Improves mental health 

Practicing gratitude is one of the many methods that can improve your mental health. A daily gratitude practice can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and benefit your overall mood.  

  1. Improved relationships 

Practicing gratitude can help partners feel more satisfied with each other. By specifically acknowledging what you appreciate in your partner you can increase your overall relationship satisfaction.  

  1. Increased optimism 

Practicing gratitude can help you become an optimist, which can lead to you feeling positive about your life and your future. Being an optimistic person will not only help you enjoy your life more, but could also lead to a longer lifespan.   

Read Now: Practicing Mindfulness: How to Stay Stress Free 

Summary 

Practicing gratitude is a beneficial daily habit to implement for both your physical and mental wellbeing.  

To get started with a gratitude practice, there are many techniques you can try or you can simply start with being mindful of the little things in your life that you appreciate.  

For further advice on changes you can make to better your mental health, contact our experts at Ceed today.   

The Valuable Mental Health Benefits of Cold Water Swimming

Cold water swimming, especially in wild locations, comes with a variety of physical and mental health benefits. 

The colder the water, the better it is for you, whether that be in the sea, a lake or a river. Cold open-water swimming has been linked to:  

  • Pain relief 
  • Improved circulation 
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Better concentration 
  • A significant positive effect on chronic low-mood and stress
Cold water swimming is good for your mental and physical health!

Inducing the Stress Response 

These health benefits come from inducing the body’s natural stress response. Through cold water swimming your body learns to self-regulate and overcome the stress induced by the water. 

The human stress response is an instinctive survival mechanism that reacts to your environment. So, any sudden change in your metabolic rate, like a change in temperature, will trigger a stress response. 

During this process your brain floods the body with stress hormones, which create a state of shock. This then triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which works to regulate your metabolism. Once regulated any physiological sensations and emotions fall back into equilibrium and you will feel calm again. 

By regularly inducing a stress response in your body through cold water swimming, you train yourself to be more efficient at regulating stress. So for those with anxious thoughts or panic attacks, cold-water swimming can help to train your body to overcome anxiety. 

Start cold open-water swimming today!

Immersing your face in cold water is key, as this stimulates the vagus nerve. This helps to slow your heart rate, relax the body, and activate metabolism. 

By submerging your face under water you trigger the mammalian dive response, which is where the somatic nerves of the facial muscles react to water and causes your heart rate to slow and muscle tissue to store more oxygen. 

Cold water swimming can also have a positive impact on your physical wellbeing. When the body is exposed to cold the blood vessels constrict, restricting blood flow and as a result reduce inflammation. So, if you have aches and pains that never seem to go away, cold-water swimming could be the answer.   

Read Now: How to Get Out of a Funk 

Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is the practise of being fully engaged in the present moment, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not focusing on any distractions. To be mindful is to be fully present in the given moment.   

Cold water swimming and being in nature provide the perfect conditions to keep you present. It’ll be hard to focus on anything but the physical sensations you experience. 

When you’re in the water, it’s important to focus on your breathing and your movement through the water. You’ll disengage from any worry or stress in your life and find yourself completely present. 

Swimming in cold water takes courage, just the act of going and having the discipline to stay in the water can improve your sense of self-worth. It’s not an easy feat to be a cold-water swimmer. 

Read Now: 4 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress 

How to Start Cold Water Swimming 

To begin your cold-water swimming journey its best to start small. It can be daunting to go out into nature and plunge into the cold. Instead try starting with something less intimidating. 

You can simply reduce the temperature of your morning showers, taking it one day at a time until you’re not using heat at all.  

As you ease yourself into cold water immersion be mindful of your breath and don’t allow yourself to tense up. Take deep breaths and relax. Essentially, you’re training yourself to be comfortable in the discomfort that comes with the cold.  

Another great option to try before taking the plunge is spending time outside in the cold. If you wear light layers this can trigger the same stress response cycle in the body without the intensity of cold-water swimming.  

When you feel ready to swim in the wild you can find your local swim group online. 

Read Now: 4 Mindful Ways to Help You Live in the Moment 

Be Safe When Cold Water Swimming 

If you’re wanting to give cold open-water swimming a try, it’s important to do so safely. When swimming remember to:  

  • Tell someone where you’re going and what your plan is. 
  • Swim with other people who are familiar with the area you’re swimming in. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings, keep in mind entry and exit points of the water. 
  • Enter the water gradually and allow your body to acclimatise. 
  • Ensure you’re visible in the water, either with a bright float or swim cap.  

For further advice on lifestyle changes to better your mental health, contact our experts at Ceed today.  

How to Get Better Sleep

The quality of your sleep affects every aspect of your life, from how you cope with stress to your relationships and your productivity. 

Feeling like you aren’t getting enough sleep can make you anxious, which in turn can keep you awake at night, making you feel exhausted and disconnected during the day. 

Stick to a sleep routine to get better sleep!

Insomnia can feel like a vicious, endless cycle, but there are changes you can make to your daily life and mindset to try and beat it.  

Here are some of the most effective changes you can make to your lifestyle to help you get enough sleep. 

Read Now: Why Rest is Important for Productivity 

Make Small Changes to Your Diet 

There are obvious ways to eat healthier. Working more fruit and vegetables into your daily intake, moderating your portion sizes, and cutting down on your sugar intake can all help. 

What you may not know is that exactly when you eat is important for your sleep pattern. 

Late night snacks, sugary or not, have been shown to impact sleep. The science is simple: eating at night gives you a burst of energy that you’ll struggle to burn off before bed. 

Focus on making your regular meals throughout the day more filling. If you eat sugary treats, distribute these amongst meals so you’re not tempted to reach for a box of chocolates at 11PM to fill a hole in your stomach. 

This way, you’ll be eating better, valuing your body and how food affects your mood. But you’ll also be sleeping better, giving you the positive mindset that you need to make and sustain these changes long-term. 

Reconsider your diet to get a better night’s sleep!

Read Now: A Happy Diet: 9 Foods Proven to Lift Your Mood 

Exercise More 

Tiredness brings sleep. To be tired is to have used more energy during the day than you’ve put into your body via meals or snacks. If you’ve made the above adjustments to your diet, and kept to them long-term, you’re already prepared for better sleep in the evenings. 

If you can, one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get some exercise is to go for a brisk walk, ideally in the afternoon, or at the end of the working day.  

According to the NHS, even a ten-minute brisk walk every day can improve your health by improving your circulation, especially if you work sitting down during the day.  

Analysts predict that the shift to home working will be a more long-term change to work culture even after the pandemic ends. This means many people will lack the opportunity to walk to and from work. So, it’s more important than ever to make a conscious decision to go for a walk.  

While walking contributes to the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise for adults, getting to burn off excess energy and decompress after a long day are happy side-effects. 

But whatever exercise you do, don’t do it right before bed. You won’t be in the calm state you need to be in to fall asleep while you’re full of adrenaline. 

Keep a Sleep Routine 

We’ve all been sat in front of the television, late on a weekend, awake for no reason. Our free time is limited, and we want to know that we’re making the best use of it, even if we aren’t. 

So, rather than staying up as late as humanly possible on a Friday or Saturday, keep close to your weekday bedtime and wake time. If you don’t have a sleep schedule for your weekdays, create one and stick to it. 

You might feel as though sleeping in on weekends is a good way to catch up on sleep missed during the week. 

However, people who keep a regular bedtime and alarm clock routine across a seven-day period are more refreshed throughout the whole week than people who eschew the routine on weekends, by being free from social jetlag

Block Out Distractions 

Turn off all your devices at least an hour before bed, and keep away from your phone. Place it on ‘do-not-disturb’ if you have the option, and keep it out of your reach until morning. Across the room, if necessary.  

Resist the urge to check devices at night!

To avoid being disturbed by light sources, make sure any electronic devices that emit light while charging are charged during the day. Get a blackout blind for your window if needed, or wear an eye-mask. 

If noises inside or outside of your room are disturbing you and can’t be dealt with directly, consider wearing ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones.  

Some might recommend putting on a dry podcast, nature sounds, or a music app on a sleep timer before bed. 

However, these will fill your mind with thoughts and ideas when it should be empty. Keep your room silent. Make a conscious effort to clear your mind at night. If you must, think in images, like counting sheep. 

Many things bothering us in our day to day lives can only be dealt with during work hours. You put unnecessary stress on yourself by thinking about these things at night, and increase the likelihood of starting the day tired. 

Read Now: Why Understanding Sleep is Crucial to Your Wellbeing 

To Sum Up… 

The good news is that getting enough sleep, for most people, is a matter of routine and psychology.  

Build routine into your life, pay attention to what you put into your body, and train yourself to clear your mind at night. This way, you should finally get some sleep.  

As a final note, while these techniques are proven to be effective in a lot of cases, they aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone.  

If, after following this advice for 4 weeks, you feel you still aren’t getting enough sleep, see your GP. They will have insight, advice, and treatment personally tailored for your situation. 

Improving your sleep pattern can improve all aspects of your life, but if you need just that extra nudge in the right direction, contact us at Ceed. 

Unconventional Therapy: Creativity as a Powerful Tool

Therapy is a tried and tested method of improving mental health, understanding emotional problems, and gaining self-esteem. But alongside the therapy types we have come to expect, there is a more intriguing branch: creative therapy.  

Creative therapy focuses on using art forms to treat mental health conditions. It encourages artistic expression to channel thoughts and emotions, creating a new way to explore problems and find solutions. It’s particularly useful for those who find it difficult to express verbally, as we don’t have to rely on our words. It can help to: 

  • Build self-esteem 
  • Resolve conflict 
  • Develop social skills 
  • Understand difficult situations  
  • Improve cognitive functions 

Being creative is a great way to improve your mental health. Creative therapy provides a structured and secure setting to explore your feelings with the help of a licenced therapist. Although there are lots of different types of creative therapy, there are four main forms that are the most common.  

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) 

Dance movement therapy utilises body movements, dance and rhythm to improve mental and physical health. It focuses on the connection between body and mind, using movement as a language to express emotions and unconscious processes.  

Dancing can benefit physical and mental health!

It boosts both physical and mental health, helping with:  

  • Stress reduction 
  • Disease prevention  
  • Mood management 
  • Cognitive issues 

Dance movement therapy has even been proven to be successful in helping adults with depression. By using movement, it can improve physical health whilst helping you to manage your mental health. 

And don’t worry, you don’t need any dance experience to try it! Your movements and rhythms are used to explore your experiences. It isn’t like a dance class – you don’t need to learn a routine or practice choreography. All you need to do is move, and you can connect your movements to your feelings.  

Read Now: How Exercise Benefits Mental Health 

Dramatherapy 

Dramatherapy works in a similar way to dance therapy, but uses performance to express thoughts and feelings. It is used to explore issues such as dementia, physical or sexual abuse, mental illness and autism. 

Dramatherapy uses an array of dramatic techniques to help people express themselves, including: 

  • Role play 
  • Puppetry 
  • Storytelling 
  • Movement 
  • Voice work  

It helps to improve self-esteem and self-worth, removing feelings of isolation and using movement to solve problems and set goals. It creates positive changes in mood, empathy, and insight, particularly helping with broadening your range of expression and emotion.   

By providing a safe space for participants to tell stories and express problems, dramatherapy can create a sense of catharsis for those involved. 

Read Now: How to Become More Comfortable in Your Own Skin 

Music Therapy  

Music therapy uses music to assess someone’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and is particularly useful for those who find it difficult to communicate verbally. No prior musical knowledge is needed, as it uses techniques including:  

  • Improvisation 
  • Listening 
  • Discussing lyrics 
  • Song writing 
  • Discussing music or imagery 

It creates space to communicate feelings and improve mental health. It combines active and passive interactions with music, often focusing on certain genres that have a positive effect on mental health issues such as depression.  

Music therapy is beneficial for a range of issues, including: 

  • Mental health 
  • Learning disabilities 
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Substance abuse issues 
  • Brain injuries  

When words are too difficult to use, or emotions are too confusing to explain, music therapy helps to create an understanding of your problems. Finding lyrics that you relate to, or tunes that match your mood, can be beneficial in exploring your emotions.  

Read Now: How to Uncover Inspiration 

Visual Art Therapy  

Visual art therapy (or just art therapy) uses various art forms to explore emotions and help address distressing or confusing issues. Again, you don’t need to be artistically inclined to participate in it, as it focuses more on using art to discuss your own feelings.  

Sculpting is an art form used in visual art therapy!

Visual art therapy employs art forms like: 

  • Painting 
  • Drawing 
  • Sculpting 
  • Doodling 
  • Collage  

… to explore feelings, reduce anxiety, and manage behaviour. Often, the art we create is directly linked to our emotions, even if we don’t realise it at first. Art therapy analyses your creations, and helps you understand themes and conflicts that impact your thoughts and emotions.  

To Sum Up… 

Therapy is a solid foundation for improving mental health, but more conventional forms like CBT or psychotherapy might not feel right for you. Creative therapy can give you new and exciting ways to understand and process your emotions. Maybe it’s time to think outside of the box, and see if creative therapy is more suited to you.  

Ceed can provide you with a personalised life coach to help you improve your overall wellbeing. Visit our homepage for more details.  

Learn More About Ceed

We’re on a mission to help every individual achieve their potential