Wellness

Natural ways to ease anxiety this Mental Health Awareness Week

We share super-easy, science-backed ways to support your mental wellbeing
Say ‘namaste’ to easing depression
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Say ‘namaste’ to easing depression

Depression affects more than 340 million people worldwide and often goes hand in hand with other mental health issues, such as anxiety. So here’s some good news: yoga could help. Research shows it can actually ease depressive symptoms in people with other mental health issues – and the more weekly sessions completed, the greater the effects. Check out yogaclassesnearyou.co.uk to find something local.

Wellness for juniors
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Wellness for juniors

Now your kids can get their ‘Om’ on, too. The team behind the brilliant Headspace app has partnered with Sesame Street to offer mindfulness meditations from the Cookie Monster, Elmo and Grover, to help little ones deal with these challenging times. Meanwhile, children’s sleep app Moshi has raised $12 million (around £8.8 million) to launch new content and collabs with sleep experts and scientists. Even Barbie’s getting involved: she shares her morning meditations on YouTube, with a modest 10.5 million subscribers. And the new ‘Breathe With Me’ Barbie doll comes with built-in meditations when you press her necklace. Brings a whole new vibe to playtime!

Colour me happy!
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Colour me happy!

The link between our make-up bags and our mood has never been stronger. It’s amazing how a sweep of eyeshadow can change the way we feel. And as crystal healer and aura reader Emma Lucy Knowles explains, certain colours are linked to different emotions – so you can choose a shade and look intuitively. ‘Pink is the colour of affection,’ she says. ‘It shows a willingness to give and receive love. Orange is for joy. Blue is all about confidence and self-expression. While if you’re looking to be kind – to yourself and others – purple is what you need to reach for.’

The wellness (nature) recipe
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The wellness (nature) recipe

We know Vitamin N (that’s nature) = a wellbeing winner. But what if you could tailor the outdoor scenario to the uplift you need? When scientists at Goldsmiths, University of London, showed people films of various natural environments, they found that woodlands were top for helping to ease worries, while meadows and fields were best for energising. Need an optimism hit? Take to the mountains and hills. Or, for a happiness boost, head to a lake or the coast.

Anxiety soothers
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Anxiety soothers

Generalised anxiety disorder has trebled among young adults since 2000, affecting almost a third of women aged 18-24, and has increased across the board in men and women under 55. Feeling anxious? Try:

1 Drinking less alcohol and caffeine, which can disrupt sleep, making you less likely to control anxiety.

2 Downloading the SilverCloud app, a free online course to help you manage anxiety and everyday stresses.

3 Breathing exercises to help you feel more in control – find them on the NHS Choices website.

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Hygiene poverty: what you can do to help

Not having enough money to buy the most basic hygiene essentials is more common than you think. And it can happen to anyone at any time. That’s why The Hygiene Bank is so crucial to so many. Read these three incredibly moving stories and find out how you can help.