Attitude of gratitude
Spending some time outdoors, lending a hand to someone else and taking a moment to be grateful are all ways people can take part in Stress Down Day, Tuesday July 24. The annual fundraiser is organised by Lifeline to encourage Australians to reduce their stress levels.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said the day was a welcome opportunity for people to pause and think about their wellbeing. “When we have a sense of purpose, are socially connected and supported, and can fit some physical activity into our day, our wellbeing tends to be a lot better,” Ms Lourey said.
“Doing things for other people and spending time in nature are also really good ways to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. I encourage everyone to take a look at their day and see if they can swap something that might be adding to their stress for something that will boost their wellbeing, like leaving work on time to catch up with loved ones or turning off devices to get outdoors.”
Ms Lourey said people looking for ideas on how to boost their wellbeing in the long term could take guidance from the Wheel of Wheelbeing, an evidence-based tool developed by researchers.
It encourages people to improve their wellbeing by focusing on six areas:
Body: be physically active! Walk, dance, garden, swim or move in any other way you enjoy. Aim to be active every day of the week.
Mind: keep learning. Try a new hobby, practice the piano, attend your local community college, or get kids to teach you how to use a new device.
Spirit: give to others. Help a neighbour, take up a cause, volunteer your time, or pause and give thanks for all you have.
People: connect with others. Stay in touch with family and friends, chat to your neighbours, or join a local sporting team, book club or community garden.
Place: take notice of your surroundings. Notice the colour of the leaves, listen to the sounds outside, or savour your meal. It will help you slow down.
Planet: care for the earth. Put plants in your home or workplace, walk or cycle instead of drive, buy food from local growers.
People looking for advice on how to limit and manage stress at work can access Heads Up, a national website with resources for both employers and employees.
Ms Lourey reminded everyone that a little bit of stress was nothing to worry about.
“Stress is a normal part of life and we will all experience it when we are studying, working, raising families or going through difficult life changes,” she said.
“However if we stay stressed for long periods, then that is not good for our mental or physical health.
“Just as we are all responsible for keeping our bodies fit and healthy, we are all responsible for doing all we can to protect our mental health.
“By making small changes that reduce our stress levels and boost our wellbeing, we can help protect ourselves from experiencing mental health issues.”