If you have been feeling down, this post if for you.
Below we suggest some simple tips and tricks that you could use to improve your mood. These tips not only introduce massage for mental health but also tie in with the recent launch of Every Mind Matters, a mental health campaign by Public Health England to help everyone become more aware, and take better care, of their own mental health.
This week also hosted annual World Mental Health Day, so if there was ever a time to focus on improving your mental health through massage therapy, that time is now!
Mental health, just like physical health, encapsulates many different factors. But rather than focusing on physiological aspects of the body such as blood tests or x-rays, mental health is all about your mind and your mood.
Put simply, your feelings matter.
Glance through the mood types below to see if any feel familiar. If so, read on and consider trying out the suggested technique or tip to improve your own mental health.
Try the following techniques if you have been feeling increasingly wound up recently.
One of the first steps towards improving mental health is to start to feed your brain feel good food. Without the right nutrients making their way through your bloodstream to your brain's nerve cells, everything else in this post will be more of an uphill struggle.
Take time to reflect on the world around you, rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts and issues of detail.
It can take some time and practice to achieve true mindfulness but once you get there, you should quickly see that perhaps some of the things that were bothering you were not all that important in the grand scheme of life.
While practicing mindfulness focus on your breathing too. It’s so easy, you can even try it right now! Take a long deep breath in, hold it for just a second and then exhale out fully and slowly. Did that feel good?
Measured breathing and being mindful can help you feel more calm and present.
We are not suggesting you move home but simply move your body to improve your mood.
Being active reduces anxiety, helps you feel more alert and can even help with sleep problems.
As a platform for massage therapists who visit homes and hotels all over London we are used to being mobile, but are you?
Laying down to enjoy a relaxation massage can indeed do wonders for your mental health but you could also further improve your overall health by adding some activity into your day.
If you find yourself sitting in front of the computer all day, why not take a walk to your local internet café or library and do some browsing or work there instead? It may sound silly but we promise you, the fresh air, change of environment and sense of other people around you will be a mentally welcome and refreshing change.
In a highly competitive city like London, it is very easy to set yourself increasingly ambitious goals but forget to reward yourself for your successes. This is an unhealthy way of living and often leads to burnout, a condition which can cause serious mental health issues.
Instead, at the end of each day, reflect on what went well. Recognise any achievements, no matter how small.
Did you make that trip to the library to use their internet instead of sitting at home all day in front of the computer? If so, well done!
Sometimes we get so worked up with anxiety and work commitments that we do not even remember what being relaxed feels like.
To combat this, from time to time the best solution can be to simply switch off and relax both your muscles and your mind. Try it with what we call the ultimate chill pill – a relaxing massage session in the comfort of your very own home.
If you have been feeling low, then your body may be lacking in one of the four happy hormones? Endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are hormones and neurotransmitters that boost happiness and reduce stress. Use any of the techniques below to encourage your brain to release a boost of one or more of these happy hormoes to combat hopelessness or feeling isolated.
Having a low mood and feeling lonely can stop us doing enjoyable activities.
Beat this by making a list of the things you enjoy doing and put some time aside to do at least one of them each day.
Even something as simple as eating breakfast in your favourite spot or listening to your favourite album from start to finish, can help you feel more positive and improve your mood.
Chatting with others, whether friends and family or a stranger with a sympathetic ear, can help combat loneliness and can improve your mental health. Face to face verbal communication is best, but you can also use technology to exchange messages with friends who are far away.
If you are new in London consider making friends with your massage therapist and talking about your feelings. Experienced therapists are usually highly skilled at listening well and empathising appropriately.
Opening up to someone you trust can help you address those negative thoughts and also gives others the opportunity to offer you support and advice.
Try the following techniques if you have been having trouble sleeping at night.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day of the week. Doing so helps to regulate your internal body clock and trains your body to sleep better.
Instead of reaching for a sleeping pill, try to be more active during the day so that you have physically tired yourself by bedtime.
Maintain a balanced diet, eat fewer fatty foods and avoid alcohol late in the evening.
Spend some time being mindful and then head off to your bed feeling lighter in body and mind. For a once in a while treat, you can also book yourself a relaxing massage to help you fall asleep.
Go au natural for the last hour before bedtime. Avoid using computers, phones and even watching television. Instead read a good old fashioned book to calm your mind or, if it is your massage treat night, have a chat with your therapist as they massage you better.
Try the following technique if you are worried about being single.
Feeling lonely because you are not in a happy relationship is a common cause of poor mental health. But being alone is quite normal and very common.
The trick to improving your mood is to learn how to be alone but not lonely.
Try the following technique if you are constantly on a short fuse.
Volunteering in your local community is a great way to meet new people and focus your energy into doing something more positive.
Helping others in need with your time or donating to a local charity can also build resilience and have real benefits for your mental health.
It feels better to be nice. Try it.
Massage is often associated with the physical manipulation and relaxation of strains and tension in muscle tissue.
But above all, massage is simply about touch.
Touch is one of the first of our five senses which develops and remains one of our most psychologically significant senses throughout our lives.
Several studies have concluded that affective touch is a key factor for establishing good mental health. In one well-known study, Mary Carlson and Felton Earls of Harvard Medical School found that Romanian children who had been deprived of touch whilst being raised in institutional care homes through the 1960s, repeatedly exhibited abnormal mental health issues.
They concluded that touch - or rather the lack of it - had caused these children to develop mental health problems.
We have long claimed that real massage is delivered with genuine empathy. The best massage therapy should focus equally on delivering an effective touch for manipulating and reducing muscle tension as it does on delivering an affective touch to improve mood and overall mental health.