The Rainbow Foundation’s Mind @ Midday campaign is designed to encourage you to pause for two minutes at midday every day during November and use that time to prioritse your wellbeing. What you use that time for is for you to choose based on what you need at that moment. Whether it is to reflect, re-energise, remember, revive, yourself or relax.
What you do is not important. What is important is building a habit over 30 days where you listen to your needs and prioritise your wellbeing for a few minutes each day.
Can’t commit to pausing for two minutes at midday each day? Then why not take your two minutes at another time of the day which suits you best.
Sometimes taking some time to pause and reflect on something that happened, your emotions or just to look around you can make a great impact on our wellbeing.
Here are some ways which you can build activities to encourage reflection into your daily life.
What do we mean by re-energise? The English dictionary (2023) defines re-energise as ‘to inject with energy again; energise again’.
Therefore, it is crucial as part of our daily routine that we take time to refuel/re-energise. This will help us to escalate and organise our thoughts, feelings, emotions and holistic wellbeing to stimulate and exceed our performance in our day to day lives to achieve great results.
The NHS (2023) has identified ways that re-energising can play a part in our lives. So, why not look for ways to build these small things into our day to allow us to re-energise.
Emotions and thoughts can sometimes take over, and make us feel bad about ourselves, and/or our situation. Sometimes these feelings and thoughts are so strong they can leave us experiencing emotions such as fear, frustration and vulnerability and we become overwhelmed and can no longer think straight!
Using a simple mental exercise can help us to STOP or break this chain, by taking our thoughts and emotions elsewhere, by being distracted by a task. They can help us regulate our emotions and thoughts to enable us to think clearer, relax, go to sleep, or communicate what we need or wish to say.
Here are some examples of mental exercises to take your mind off uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. They are discreet and easy to use.
Choosing to revive through mindfulness involves incorporating a process of change and growth towards a more mentally and physically healthy lifestyle.
To achieve optimum wellness, you can apply a passionate and purposeful approach to everything you do, encounter and experience.
Applying a consistent daily practice of mindfulness though reviving by looking for what stimulates your five senses, can lead to a new habit that will lift your mood and enhance your overall wellbeing. Maybe take a different sense each day of the week and see how you might stimulate that sense to elevate your mood. Consider putting on a fast song and dancing or a slow orchestral piece to help you relax.
Below are a few ideas to consider for your own mindfulness journey.
Self-care is an important part of being mindful. Having something to look forward to helps us to be motivated and perform those tasks that we may not entirely enjoy.
It also helps us to feel cared for, it can re-energize us, so we stay consistent, and content with progress and /or change. Rewards can help reduce resentment towards new lifestyles or relationships. It can increase willpower and gives us a small break so we can stay focused.
We ALL need to take care of ourselves and show ourselves love and attention from time to time. This will be different from person to person and it’s important to be able to give yourself the time to think about what you do need. Here I have come up with some suggestions, but you know yourself best and may prefer differing types of rewards – that’s okay. The important part is giving yourself the space to ‘just be’ – even if its only for a couple of minutes each day.
Top tip – for those of you who are easily distracted, set an alarm limiting this special time because you don’t want it disrupting everything else.
There are a great number of benefits to taking the time to relax.
Wellbeing benefits: such as lessening anger and frustration, lowering your heart rate, and lowering your stress levels.
Medical benefits: such as increasing blood flow, lowering blood pressure and even aiding digestion!
Lifestyle benefits: such as reducing fatigue, increasing your concentration levels.
Different people will find different activities relaxing, but here are some of our favourite ways to relax:
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness.
As we go about our daily lives, we can notice the sensations of things, the food we eat, the air moving past the body as we walk.
It can be helpful to pick a regular time, such as a morning journey to work or a walk at lunchtime, during which you decide to be aware of the sensations created by the world around you.
Trying new things, such as sitting in a different seat in meetings or going somewhere new for lunch, can also help you notice the world in a new way.
Some people find it very difficult to practice mindfulness. As soon as they stop what they’re doing, lots of thoughts and worries crowd in.
It might be useful to remember that mindfulness isn’t about making these thoughts go away, but rather about seeing them as mental events that come and go. This can be very hard at first, but with gentle persistence it is possible.
To develop an awareness of thoughts and feelings, some people find it helpful to silently name them:
“Here’s the thought that I might fail that exam”
“This is anxiety.”
You can practice mindfulness anywhere, but it can be especially helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that, for several minutes, you have been trapped in reliving past problems or pre-living future worries.
As well as practicing mindfulness in daily life, it can be helpful to set aside time for a more formal mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander.
Yoga and tai-chi can also help with developing awareness of your breathing.
We often rush through life without noticing much. Making time to pay attention to the present moment can help your wellbeing. Take time out to notice your thoughts, feelings and experience the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. Taking steps to develop this skill does not have to be complicated, time consuming or boring!
How do I become mindful?
Give yourself permission to take time out of the day to pay attention to what is going on inside and outside yourself, by living in the moment. It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us and ‘living in our heads’ and getting caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.
An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs or the feel of the sun on our faces.
Can mindfulness help my mental wellbeing?
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted. We also become more self-aware, as we are teaching ourselves to be more aware of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
Understanding and using this skill allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience, and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.
Being Mindful enables us to stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply “mental events” that do not have to control us.
This can help us deal with issues more productively. We can ask: “Is trying to solve this by brooding about it helpful, or am I just getting caught up in my thoughts?”
Awareness of this kind may also help us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and deal with them better.
Mindfulness-based therapies are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to treat less severe depression.
NICE also recommends that employers make mindfulness available to all employees, to support mental wellbeing at work.