Mental Health Week: Pleasure spot

savouring

We've had some warm weather here over the weekend - unusual for this time of year in our part of the world - so I've been out watering my pot plants, a job on the to-do list that I cherish.  I water in the evenings, as one should, and I love the peace and quiet (no-one comes too close when Mummy's armed with the hose), the warm air, admiring and encouraging new growth on my selection of veggies, little fruit trees and flowers. Watering pots requires me to stand still, in one place, for longer than I ordinarily would in order to give the plants a good soaking.  This is not the time for flitting about from one task to another, as is my usual MO.

Last night, however, come pot watering time, I had no sooner turned on the hose when I reached for my smart phone in my pocket.  'Better check the weather for tomorrow so I can get appropriate clothes ready for the kids,' 'I'll just see if the babysitter has got back to me about Friday night,' 'I wonder what my fellow blog school students are up to?' This is my mind in action.  The usual mental list of to-dos that propel all of the flitting about from one task to another.  Busy, busy, things to do. Just back from holidays, a huge pile of washing, schools's back tomorrow, must buy bread etc, etc, etc.

I stopped myself. Hang on, this is National Mental Health Week. I can't go about propounding good mental health practices without engaging in them myself. Those jobs can wait. I should be savouring these few minutes of quiet time and soak in my little bit of potted backyard nature. The phone went back into my pocket.

Savouring - making pleasurable experiences last - is one of the simplest things we can do to give busy brains a bit of time out and to establish some proactive mental health practices.  According to the research the benefits of savouring are:

  • Relaxation.  If you're totally in the moment and just enjoying the experience as it happens, whether it's watering pot plants, eating a summer peach, watching the kids laugh or having your first coffee of the day, you ignore distractions, thoughts and worries and give your mind and body a chance to relax.  Do this several times a day and you're likely to reap the benefits by having that little bit more energy and less tension by night time.
  • Better diet.  If you're savouring your food, even if it's chocolate or some other necessary evil, you're less likely to overindulge.  The studies suggest that by eating slowly and consciously, enjoying the taste and texture of each mouthful rather than wolfing it down while watching TV or checking our email, we tend to eat less and feel satisfied sooner.  You get more bang for your chocolate dollar.
  • Stronger relationships. Savouring an experience with someone else helps us to strengthen our relationship with that person...(more) 

And the big one, savouring is one of the easiest things we can do to boost our overall happiness.  

 Tips. Do it with someone else, try at least once a day - will take practise, 

easy mental health practise when we're busy, busy

easy to do, doesn't cost anything