News & Views

20th October 2021

It's Mental Health Month

How are YOU doing?

We all know the last couple of years have been rough on our mental health - and while easing of restrictions helps in some ways, it brings its own stresses.

As a NECA member, you have access to Hunterlink mental health services for you, your employees and your families.  Their professionally trained counsellors provide 24/7 access to support on their toll-free number 1800 554 654 (within Australia).  Don't hesitate to reach out if you need support!

Below, we're sharing a mindfulness exercise from the Hunterlink newsletter, for when you're feeling overwhelmed - might be particularly useful for the whole family if you have kids doing exams!  If you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter, or want more information, you can contact them through our website or by emailing enquiry@hunterlink.org.au.  Business hours you can call on +61 (02) 4929 6625.  After hours please use the 24/7 Hunterlink number 1800554654.

Tune in to your senses exercise

Bringing your Mind back to the Present

  1. Sit in a comfortable upright position with your feet planted flat on the ground. Rest your hands on your thighs or on your desk.

  2. Notice your breath. No need to breathe in any particular way. Just bring attention to each part of the breath- the inhale, exhale, and space in between.

  3. Bring awareness to each of your 5 senses. One at a time, for about one minute each. The point here is to focus on the present moment and how each sense is being activated in that moment. The order in which you pay attention to each sense does not matter.

Hear: Begin to notice all of the sounds around you. Try not to judge the sounds- just notice them. They are not good or bad, they just are. Sounds might be internal, like breathing or digestion. Sounds might be close by or more distant like the sound of traffic. Are you now hearing more than you were before you started? You may begin to notice subtle sounds you did not hear before. Can you hear them now?

Smell: Now shift your attention to notice the smells of your environment. Maybe you smell food. You might become aware of the smell of trees or plants if you are outside. You might notice the smell of books or paper.

Sometimes closing your eyes can help sharpen your attention.

See: Observe your surrounding and notice the colours, shapes and textures. If you really look, you may notice things that have gone unnoticed.

Taste: You can do this one even if you have food in your mouth. You may notice an aftertaste of a previous drink or meal. You can just notice your tongue in your mouth, your saliva, and your breath as you exhale. We have tastes in our mouth that often go unnoticed. You can run your tongue over your teeth and cheeks to help you become more aware.

Touch: Last one. Bring your attention to the sensations of skin contact with your chair, clothing, and feet on the floor. You can notice the pressure between your feet and the floor or your body and the chair. You can observe temperature like the warmth or coolness of your hands or feet. You might take time to feel the textures that you noticed by sight a moment ago. You can feel several objects on your desk to fully focus your attention on the present.

When finished, pause to notice how your body feels in this moment. Compare how you feel now with how you felt 5 minutes ago- what has changed?

Try this exercise next time you're feeling overwhelmed.