Simone de Beauvoir, as early as the 1940s, evoked the idea of mental burden, which falls mainly on women. Today, this expression is used in several contexts and is no longer reserved exclusively for the burden of organizing the home and managing the children. Both women and men experience some form of mental burden every day. This is a nasty beast that can ruin your life. Negative thoughts pollute your mind, you feel tired or even depressed. On the occasion of Women's Day, the Harvest Laboratories team would like to share with you its advice on how to free yourself from the daily mental burden by inducing well-being. Gentlemen, this can help you too.
Stress, but also anxiety, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. A problem to be taken seriously, when we know that 55% of French people feel stressed because of their work (WorkForce View 2020 - A global study). Practicing mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, increase memory capacity and boost immunity. According to the French essayist and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, meditation "[...] is to avoid becoming a slave to the flood of negative thoughts that flood the mind". For if stress creates negative thoughts, these thoughts create stress and the circle never stops. Meditation allows us to consider these thoughts and to welcome them with kindness, rather than trying to reject them. This is called letting go. Mindfulness meditation allows you to anchor yourself in the present moment, rather than getting caught up in disaster scenarios and paranoia.
To bring more well-being into your daily life, 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day helps to :
Here's how you can introduce yourself to mindfulness meditation, also called Mindfullness: Use the Stop method.
S (top): Stop what you do for a few minutes and Take this moment for yourself.
T (AKE A BREATH): Breathe. To do this, breathe in deeply and slowly while keeping one hand on your belly. Feel the air filling your lungs.
O (BSERVE): Observe what is happening inside you and in your head. What do you feel? If negative thoughts come into your head, accept them, then refocus by concentrating on your breathing.
P (Rocede): Following your meditation, analyze the last 10 minutes and become aware of the benefits felt.
We know that having a healthy diet on a daily basis produces many benefits for our body. It is not necessarily a question of weight, although eating in a healthy and balanced way allows a harmonious distribution of energy. The benefits of a healthy diet are multiple for our health:
In reality, the positive effects of a healthy diet are much more numerous. Indeed, food plays a major role in the good shape of our brain. If it is properly nourished, it will function better. By this we mean that providing the right nutrients and vitamins to the brain helps fight depression, stress and anxiety. Thus, your brain works better and your morale is high.
How to eat well when you have little time? It's all a question of choice. First of all, prefer fresh products to ultra-processed products. Fill your plate with 50% of fruits and vegetables, 25% of cereals or starches and the last quarter of animal or vegetable proteins. Then, top it off with a dairy product. Finally, vary the pleasures, play with colors and add herbs and spices. In a word, treat yourself without going overboard.
While it's easy to press the pause button when watching a video, it's quite different when it comes to switching on the pause mode in life. Yet, taking a break is essential for everyone's well-being. Taking a break can mean many things:
If this seems complicated to you, you should know that there are many techniques, easy to apply in everyday life, that allow you to take a break. Moreover, it doesn't have to last very long. Sometimes, a few minutes are enough to recharge your batteries and rest your mind. Because that's what a break is all about: oxygenating yourself, literally and figuratively.
At work, as at home, try the "pomodoro" technique. This term means "tomato" in Italian, as most kitchen timers are shaped like tomatoes. The idea is to use a timer and set it for 25 minutes. During this time, you work, study or do a household or family task thoroughly. When the timer rings, you take a 5 minute break. At the end of this time, you start again. After four "tomatoes", you give yourself a 30-minute break. During the 25 active minutes, it is important to mute all notifications on your cell phone, so that you can focus 100% on the tasks at hand. If 25 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time, you'll be surprised to find that a limited amount of time fully focused is worth far more than an hour filled with outside distractions.
AAccording to a 2021 study, the French spend an average of 56 hours per week on the Internet, of which 20 hours are spent at work. So, that's 36 hours per week or a little more than 5 hours per day online for our pleasure. In addition, we often spend time watching a movie or a series on TV or on a streaming platform. Studies have shown the harmful effects of screens on our bodies: increased stress and anxiety, sleep and mood disorders and even an increase in eating disorders. If screens are an integral part of our lives, perhaps we can also decide to let them go from time to time.
30 to 45 minutes before going to bed, put your phone on night or airplane mode and don't touch it again until the next morning ;
Decide to read a book, play a board game or have a debate night instead of watching a new episode of your new favorite show. The latter will still be on tomorrow.
Use an application that measures the time spent on your cell phone. In addition, choose which applications to restrict. Often, social networks have a hypnotic effect on our brain and we spend a lot of time scrolling rather than interacting with our loved ones.
Start a new activity. You must have something you dream of doing, but can't for lack of time. Take action now.
Moving, moving, moving is essential for our body. In fact, we are made to move, our body must be in motion. By practicing a regular sport activity, you will very quickly feel the beneficial effects on your body, such as
It is sometimes difficult to start exercising when you are not used to it or when you lack time. Know that a session, even a short one of 20 minutes, done 3 to 4 times a week is more than enough to feel the benefits of sport. Furthermore, going for a walk, playing with your children outside or leaving your car behind and taking public transport are small tricks that allow you to move your body easily, to do it good and to yourself as well.
Cultivating self-esteem is something we should learn from a young age. While it's easy to see the good in others, it's much more difficult when it comes to ourselves. However, having a good self-esteem allows us to gain self-confidence and to improve ourselves on many levels: relational, professional, personal, etc.
Often confused with ego, self-esteem does not make your ankles swell. It is, in fact, about being at peace with oneself and learning to love oneself for one's qualities, rather than depreciating oneself for one's faults. To believe in yourself, you must first distinguish between your abilities and the person you are. In other words, not being good at a particular activity does not make you a bad person. Thus, you can have confidence in yourself and love yourself, while you are aware that you have difficulty organizing yourself. According to Christophe André, a French psychiatrist who has been working on this subject for a long time, self-esteem should not just be high. It must also resist the daily difficulties: "It must also be stable, capable of resisting the dislike, the failure. To be evaluated on a personal frame of reference [...] and not just by watching what others do or seeking their approval." To jumpstart self-esteem, you can, for example, compliment yourself daily on what you accomplish or for who you are and practice body positivism. You'll see, recognizing the light that emanates from you feels great!
Too often we tend to think that if we delegate, it means we are not capable. However, delegating is an act of trust, first of all towards yourself, but also towards others. Delegating allows you to be better organized and therefore to accomplish more, because your mind will be freed from one or more weights. At home, at work, but also with your friends, learn to delegate. To do this, target the qualities of the people around you, which will help you decide who to entrust with this or that task or who to ask for a little help. In addition to making you feel good, you will see that delegating allows you to value others and to cultivate recognition towards others and yourself and therefore contributes to the cultivation of self-esteem.
Our 8th and last tip for welcoming well-being into your daily life is to reconnect with Mother Nature. We tend to forget it too often, but nature is good for us, it amazes us, soothes us, resources us. You don't have to live in the countryside or in the mountains to appreciate the most beautiful things nature has to offer. In the morning, listen to the songs of the birds, in the street, observe the trees and their power, raise your head and look at the sky. Nature is beautiful and acts as a real anti-depressant on our brain. If you have the opportunity, a walk in the forest or by the sea can bring immediate relief. Breathing in the sea air balances the level of serotonin in your brain and therefore regulates your mood and stress. The negative ions in the sea air accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen and its benefits are immediately reflected in the happiness hormone.
To reconnect with nature, you can also observe it and become aware of what you see and observe. By activating your senses, you will feel the benefits of nature on your body and mind in a more intense way. You can even do a mindfulness meditation session when you are outside.
Montpellier Faculty of Medicine
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