There are times when many of us feel less motivated, energised and productive, but according to internationally acclaimed author, illustrator, speaker and creative director of the “Black Dog Institute” Matthew Johnstone, there are steps you can take to improve your happiness year round.
Industry expert, Matthew suggests we could start by looking at our digital habits. Switch off the alerts on your devices when you get home, take a deep breath and consciously leave any work troubles at the front door. Allowing time for ‘you’ by reducing distractions from technology can play a huge role in maintaining happiness throughout the year and it’s a simple remedy most of us forget.
“The best medication for a ‘busy’ mind is meditation and mindfulness – so if your soul aches, take a moment to yourself. People are constantly ‘on’. Look around any bus stop, train station or airport and see what the majority of people are doing and I would hazard a guess that 70%+ will be glued to their smartphones, tablets or laptops. We’ve become so connected that we’ve become disconnected,” Matthew said.
As well as switching off our devices, Matthew recommends focusing on what’s important and finding fulfilment in whatever your energy is focused on. Make a plan for your future and fill it with small, achievable goals. When you start seeing results, energy and motivation will naturally follow.
“Whatever you’re doing, do the best that you can do. I remember my mother saying about housework ‘if you pretend that you’re really enjoying doing it, you can find pleasure in anything’. And while you’re doing that, really think about where you want to be in 3, 5 and 10 years time. If there’s one thing ‘uncertainty’ hates, it’s a plan for a better future,” he said.
When it comes to regaining your mental health, Matthew suggests following:
• Invest time in relationships that mean something to you; in the end you get back what you put in. Think of those who are important to you, as a wonderful garden blossoms in spring, it may need the odd weeding in winter.
• Give some of your time to helping others; make 2014/2015 less about you and more about others. When we give our heart, our time and our money, we receive in so many different and wonderful ways.
• Practice gratitude – say thanks to the unexpected cup of tea that warms you up in winter, the drawing from a child, the cloud that didn’t rain on your washing, hot nourishing meals at the end of a cool winters day. Small thanks add up.
• Eat well, sleep well, think well, and exercise your mind and body.
• Do something you really love. Don’t spend a lot of time doing something you don’t enjoy. Work is such a major part of our lives, why not make it something you are passionate about or interested in.
• Spend time in the sun, draw back the curtains and eat healthy, nourishing meals.
Matthew hosts regular specialty retreats on Being Mentally Healthy at Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa, Elysia. His retreat will help guests regain the motivation, energy and productivity they need to get back on track for lifelong health while empowering them to live a more fulfilled life.
The inspired retreat focus on mental health and what happens when we lose it, what you can do to regain it and how, through building resilience, we can maintain it and remain mentally healthy. He is often joined by co-presenter, clinical psychologist Dr Kris Kafer, guests will learn how to live without limitation, focus on better communication, develop more rewarding relationships, unlock improved understanding and compassion and delve into a deeper more profound purpose in life. Guests will also learn how to quiet the mind through meditation.
Matthew’s next Being Mentally Healthy Specialty Retreat is February 20-22, 2015, for more information click here