Being both mentally and physically strong is really important to allow us to bounce back from challenging times that life can throw at us. So how can we become flexible both mentally and physically?
Having a flexible and supple body could help reduce the number of aches and pains we may suffer from. One way to achieve this is by stretching, as it keeps the muscles flexible and strong, whilst enabling us to maintain a good range of motion in the joints.1
The NHS recommends some great gentle exercises that you can do at home.
Here are a few for you to try to help get you started:
Neck stretch – good for loosening tight neck muscles2
- Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand
- Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down
- Repeat on the opposite side
- Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
Sideways bend – helps restore flexibility to the lower back2
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides
- Slide your left arm down your side as far as is comfortable. As you lower your arm, you should feel a stretch on the opposite hip
- Repeat with your right arm
- Hold each stretch for 2 seconds and perform 3 on each side.
Click here if you would like to download a 5 week plan from the NHS to build strength and flexibility.
As we exercise our bodies, we need to exercise our minds too.
Your mind is like a muscle, the more ways that you stretch it, the more flexible it becomes. With practice and awareness, we can begin to develop a more agile mind which helps us to live more resilient, creative and fulfilled lives.
Developing a more flexible mindset also helps you to evaluate and adjust to the different tasks, roles and responsibilities we are presented with each day with a little less stress.
Have a go at the following techniques and train your brain to be more flexible:
Try something new
Learn to dance, pick up a new language or cook a new recipe and try for 3 months to do different tasks. Mental flexibility is aided by novelty and this helps your to brain grow and act differently.
Plan to be spontaneous
Change your regular routine. Take an evening walk, occasionally, stroll along a new route. Try different routes to the staff room/your desk/place of work – once in a while alter the order of your day.
Question your thoughts and words
If you view everything in black and white, it can become very stressful as life seems to present us with lots of ultimatums and it can feel harder to make decision.3 Before we know it, this way of thinking becomes habit, especially when we’re stressed or worried about something.
Become aware of what you’re saying and try not to attach or lock into one way of thinking, notice your language. Challenge those thoughts and words that don’t help you. Then, substitute them with more positive words and thoughts.
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