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NZME’s Great Minds Project will look at the state of our country’s mental health and explore the growing impact of mental health and anxiety on Kiwis while looking for ways to improve it. Video / NZ Herald
Working full time and having three children means family life is “pretty busy” for James Mooney.
The 42-year-old says one of the ways he controls his mental health is through Transcendental Meditation – an effortless practice
how to deal with stress and fatigue.
A yoga teacher from Rotorua says yoga helps calm feelings of worry and anxiety, and a clinical exercise physiologist from Tauranga says exercise helps people with anxiety and depression feel better. feel more comfortable.
It comes as NZME has launched a major editorial project, Great Minds, which will explore the growing impact of mental health and anxiety on Kiwis and how we can improve our wellbeing.
Along with investigative reports on the state of our mental health services and the effect of the pandemic on New Zealanders, we share personal stories, interactive features and wellness insights to help our readers to get out of Covid.
Mooney said he and his wife have three children, two of whom are homeschooled and the other has a disability.
He said Covid-19 brought uncertainty and hardship, like being locked up and being around your children around the clock instead of going to work.
He regularly practices Transcendental Meditation and meditates for 20 minutes in the morning or evening.
“It decreases fatigue – it gives your body that space to relax and it takes you to deeper relaxation than watching TV or going for a walk.
“Once you’re able to relax, your brain is able to reap the benefits of deep rest…then it declutters your mind.
“It’s been a good tool in times when the pressure seems to be mounting.”
Mooney and his wife started practicing Transcendental Meditation 10 years ago when they were expecting their first child.
They were approaching a time in their lives when they knew they would need help relieving stress and dealing with fatigue, he said.
“For me, mental health is also exacerbated by physical things.
“If I’m stressed from work and not sleeping and not fueling my body well…that’s where the benefits of meditation really come in.”
Michael Kennedy, a teacher of transcendental meditation, said it was a “simple technique” of meditation that people practiced for about 20 minutes while sitting with their eyes closed.
“It’s really convenient in that you can do it anywhere…It’s just a technique to tune the mind to a calmer level,” the Katikati-based teacher said.
“There is a realization that we need something to improve our mental health.
“Everyone deals with high levels of stress and it can be upsetting and so people need time to recover from it.”
When done regularly, it helps neutralize stress and tension, Kennedy said. Starting the day with meditation might also help people focus better at work.
“The mind is thinking all the time…people notice that their breathing during meditation is smoother, their muscular systems are relaxed, and basically their mind is calmer during practice.
“After the meditation, they just feel a little calmer and maybe they feel a little more energized after that.”
Jenny Lux, a yoga teacher in Rotorua, said yoga was a “holistic” practice that had physical, mental and emotional benefits. It helped support a healthy, “accepting” outlook on life, she said.
“We go through different phases and different struggles and yoga helps to step back and observe yourself.”
The mental practices of yoga, such as meditation and breathing, have helped slow down the “monkey mind”.
“If you’re in a frantic, worried, or anxious state, breathing can help calm that down.
“If you’re in a lethargic, stuck, or depressed state, it can also help invigorate you.”
Lux said there has been a “great increase” in demand for yoga online during the pandemic.
Natalja Wiese, a clinical exercise physiologist at the Center for Health, said many people come to the clinic with anxiety because of Covid.
She said people were sometimes in a state of flight or fight. In the flight state, people felt stressed and could not relax.
But after the exercise, their parasympathetic nervous system was more relaxed, she says.
“That way, things like anxiety [and] depression feel more comfortable.”
The exercise caused the heart rate to increase, so there was more blood flow and more oxygen flowing through the body, she said.
She said cardiovascular activity helps get your heart rate up, like going on a treadmill or taking a walk outdoors. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and breathing also helped.
“During this whole pandemic, a lot of people obviously tend to sit on the couch a lot… which isn’t helping mental health.”
Wiese said it’s important to strike a balance between work, relaxation and exercise.
Where to get help
If it is an emergency and you think you or someone else is in danger, call 111.
For advice and support
Lifeline: call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Need to talk? Call or text 1737
Depression helpline: call 0800 111 757 or text 4202
For children and young people
Youthline: call 0800 376 633 or text 234
What’s Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) or webchat (11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.)
The Lowdown: SMS 5626 or online chat
For help with specific issues
Alcohol and drug helpline: call 0800 787 797
Anxiety helpline: call 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
OutLine: Call 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE) (6pm-9pm)
Safe to speak (sexual abuse): Call 0800 044 334 or text 4334
All services are free and available 24/7, unless otherwise specified.
For more information and support, talk to your local doctor, hauora, community mental health team or counseling service.
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