Cathedral Grove

The Potential and Power of Small Acts of Kindness

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There are so many different ways to be kind to yourself and others, and often it only takes a moment. 

This Mental Health Awareness Week, with its always pertinent theme of ‘Kindness,’ I’m reminded of a moving scene from a couple of weeks back. While waiting in the socially-distanced queue at a local shop, the woman in front of me spotted a homeless gentleman quietly tucked away behind the shopping carts. She smiled, asking if she could get him anything to eat. He politely asked for a sandwich, thanking her profusely.

That act of kindness was beautiful in and of itself, but it went on to inspire a chain reaction of compassionate giving and community spirit. Before long most everyone in the queue had brought the man in need something to eat or drink, and his smile continued to grow – as did the smiles of those who had helped him that day. 

It’s really nice to do kind things simply because, but doing kind things can also confer positive health benefits as well. Acts of kindness and helping others have been linked to greater feelings of well-being, increased self-esteem, and a more optimistic outlook – among other things! For even more on the potentially wide-reaching health benefits of kindness, I highly recommend checking out the Mental Health Foundation‘s guide all about how ‘Kindness Matters.’

Before you go…

With all this in mind, let’s work together to create a ‘Kindness Thread’ to bring delight to and inspire others. 

To take part, simply take a moment to share a recent or fondly-remembered act of kindness you’ve witnessed or heard of in the comments section below. Everyone is welcome – and whatever act of kindness you share can be anything, of any shape or size. Every kindness matters!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, May 18th-24th

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Did you know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK? 

Taking place each year during the month of May, this year’s week of mental health-centred awareness raising, de-stigmatization, fundraising, and resource sharing is happening right now between Monday the 18th and Sunday the 24th.  

Every year, the campaign is guided in part by a unique theme, with the theme for 2020 being: ‘Kindness.’

Why kindness? The Mental Health Foundation, the charity behind this annual campaign, explains their lovely choice like so.

“We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health.”

I couldn’t agree more.

As regular readers of this site will know well, kindness in all its shapes and sizes is something I like to highlight and celebrate as often as possible here on Cathedral Grove.

And while kindness – both the giving and receiving of it – has been essential to maintaining good mental health throughout history, I think you’ll no doubt agree that it’s especially important and impactful right now during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

I hope you’ll join me as throughout this week I share a variety of advice, ideas, and resources to help you both support others experiencing some form of mental distress and nurture your own good mental health and total well-being.

In the meantime, why not check out these popular posts from the archives? I hope you’ll find some of the suggestions within to be of help to you or others.

I’ll simply sign off now by wishing you all a very happy, healthy week ahead, with my best. Take care!

   

 

 

 

5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better Tonight

Friends, I am tired. And if your sleep patterns have been anything like mine during these strange times, then you’re likely a bit tired too.

But that ends tonight.

You see, I know exactly what I should be doing to get a good night’s sleep every night but – I admit it! – I have from time to time during my furlough been letting some aspects of my own self-care slide by unnecessarily prioritising productivity over rest. But giving our minds and bodies permission to rest can be just as important – sometimes even more important! – than getting stuff done. Without regular restorative rest, our healthy functioning will eventually suffer and deteriorate.

So, let this next bit serve as a reminder to you and me alike of the many powerful gifts of rest, and also as a gentle nudge toward better, more sustained self-care. Without further ado, here are my 5 tips to help us all sleep better starting tonight.

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A Brief Introduction to Mindful Eating

Recently, I shared with you all a bit of an introduction to mindful walking (which, if you missed it, you can find here) and mentioned furthermore that in honor of and inspired by World Mental Health Day I’d be posting more in a brief series on the topic of maintaining good mental health throughout the rest of October.

We sit precariously on the edge of that particularly festive – and feast-ive! – time of year between Halloween and New Year’s Eve when, what with all the holidays in relatively quick succession and the potential for many a food-stuffed gorge-fest with family, friends, and co-workers, it is all too easy to slip into bad habits such as eating until we’re well past full, eating whenever we feel a bit down, or eating whilst trying to multitask. It’s an ideal time to start thinking about how we can each best develop a more mindful way of eating, a way that will leave us both nutritionally but also spiritually satisfied. 

Here now are a few friendly suggestions to help you – and me too! – as you try to bring more awareness to your everyday eating.

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A Brief Introduction to Mindful Walking

Each year, October 10th marks World Mental Health Day – a day with the objective of raising international awareness about issues pertaining to mental health. While this year’s awareness day may have now come and gone, it is never the wrong time to discuss mental health. With this in mind, I’ve scheduled a few related posts to pop up over the remainder of October, each looking at ways we can make small but significant improvements to our own mental – and ultimately physical – health in our daily lives. 

This week, I’d like to start off this short series by focusing on the art of mindful walking. 

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6 Small Acts of Self-Care to Try in This New Year

It’s been a bit over a week now since the start of the new year, which means a return to work for many. For a lot of folks being back on the job might also mean a return to feeling tired and stressed out, which means it’s a good time for a friendly reminder about the importance of self-care. 

Self-care can take many forms, as what each individual needs in any given moment will of course vary. Here are just a handful of simple, easy things to help make life that little bit better if you find yourself feeling stretched to your limits this week or in the future.

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Nurturing Your Connection with Nature This New Year: 7 Suggestions

It’s the start of a new year and for many people that means the making (and maybe breaking…) of new year’s resolutions. While I don’t make resolutions myself, ticking over into a new year does make me more mindful of my tendencies and habits. It’s important to tweak or phase some things out from time to time, and maybe even to introduce a new practice or two for the benefit of your total well-being.

One thing that always seems to better my life at any given moment is spending time in nature, and it’s something I strive to do even more of. There are a TON of ways in which being in a natural setting for even a short amount of time can improve well-being. Many studies have been done showing nature’s ability to boost mood and self-esteem, inspire awe (which in turn fosters kindness and other prosocial behaviors), improve creative reasoning, and reduce stress.

With all this in mind, here are seven suggestions for anyone resolving to get their nature fix in this new year. 

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A Post-Thanksgiving Challenge: An A-Z of Gratitude

Although this year’s Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, I feel it’s always the perfect time to practice giving thanks for the many positive things and wonderful people we have in our lives. With this in mind, I’ve done a bit of brainstorming and put together my own little A-Z of Gratitude after being inspired by other bloggers and writers across various platforms.

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Feeling inspired too? Feel free to share your list in the comments below. 

I’m grateful you’ve stopped by… 🙂 Read More

4 Simple Ways to Help Yourself Stay Merry and Bright This Winter

Winter is definitely coming (…or perhaps it’s already here, depending on where you live in the world…), which means it’s time to start preparing for darker days and colder temperatures. But fear not, seekers of light and coziness! Winter can still be a time of well-being and contentment, so long as you do your best to shut out the seasonal blues.

Here are a few suggestions and friendly reminders that will hopefully help you feel merry and bright throughout the coming months.

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Read on for more…

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Mindful Moments: 3 Small Challenges to Help You Practice Being in the Present

In honor of World Mental Health Day today, here are a few simple mindfulness practices you can try if you have less than 30 minutes to spare. Try one or all of these mindful moments challenges during a break at work or once you come home – it’s up to you. 

What is mindfulness, you might ask? For me, mindfulness is when I am aware of the present moment. I am gently focused on what I am feeling and sensing in the moment, without passing any judgment on those things as best I can. I am not overwhelmed by what is going on around me, and I neither dwell on the past nor try to anticipate the future. I say ‘I’ in all of this but – truth be told – my wandering, imaginative mind often finds it a bit of a challenge to achieve this state of being! But that’s OK – it just takes practice.

Anyway, without further ado, here are 3 little opportunities to practice a bit of mindfulness in our every day lives.   Read More

10 Simple, Easy Self-Care Suggestions for Mental and Physical Wellness

It’s World Mental Health Day on October 10th, so all week I’ll be posting tips, resources, and challenges related to boosting well-being. To begin with, here are 10 simple, easy self-care suggestions that also happen to be budget-friendly. When we’re not busy at work or with other obligations many of these things are quite obvious and instinctual, but sadly we often need reminding of them when stretched thin by stress.

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Read on for more… Read More

World Mental Health Day, October 10th

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Each year, October 10th is World Mental Health Day – a day for mental health awareness, education, and advocacy.

In England, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue each year.¹ Worldwide, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime.² So whether or not you personally have had dealings with anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern, it’s quite likely that someone you know is dealing with something of the sort right now. Read More