Be aware and take notice to help with mental health

People in Bedfordshire are being encouraged to ‘Take Notice’ during November to improve their feelings of happiness and wellbeing as part of the county’s Five Ways to Wellbeing health initiative.

The three-year Public Health project was launched in Bedfordshire in May and is designed to highlight actions that can be taken to make a positive difference to our feelings of overall happiness and wellbeing.

It has been supported with five monthly themes which started in September and finish in January.

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Five Ways partners Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) and East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides Bedfordshire Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, are taking it in turns to promote themes.

Bedfordshire Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is the lead partner for November and the theme of Take Notice, with individuals encouraged to be aware of the things around them.

We can all be guilty of worrying about events or issues or fixating on the next task in hand, from project deadlines at work and unpaid bills.

The focus for Take Notice is to pause and be aware of what is happening in the present moment.

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Simple techniques can include pausing and identifying five different things you can hear, or concentrating on what your senses are experiencing while having a snack – how does it smell and taste, what is the texture?

This awareness is also known as ‘mindfulness’.

Therapist Claire Hill, from Bedfordshire Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, said: “We spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future when it is more helpful for us to focus on the present moment.“Things in the past we cannot do anything about and things in the future are in the future. If we worry about them now it’s not going to help us.“If we are focused in the present moment then we are not focusing so much on difficult thoughts.”