Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Here’s what you need to know!

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Since the year 2000, the Mental Health Foundation observes May 11-17 as the Mental Health Awareness Week in a bid to raise awareness about mental health and well-being issues and how anxiety, sleep deprivation and exercise can impact our mental health.

For those who are not aware about mindfulness or have just a slight understanding, mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Experts say that mindfulness can be practiced standing, sitting and walking; both indoors and out; at any location you are at including home, schools, work or simply out and about. There is no fixed time for practicing mindfulness either – it can be for 5 minutes or even 5 hours – just customise it according to your needs.

Being mindful doesn’t take a lot of efforts and chances are that you have had been mindful at some point in your life and didn’t even know about it. Going on a long walk in a park, or on a long drive on the country side, or sitting in the park and suddenly you realise that hours have passed – you were not thinking about anything but the present, that’s mindfulness!

Experts say that mindfulness helps people observe the way they think and feel about their experiences, whether good or bad. This, according to them, can really change the way they manage and react to stressful situations, giving you a valuable tool to stay mentally healthy, and an ever-expanding body of evidence shows that it really works.

Mindfulness is already known to be successful in helping people with mental and physical health problems, from stress, depression and anxiety to chronic pain, eating disorders and concentration, boost our productivity at work, and give us a greater enjoyment of life.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, people celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week in many amazing ways – from stalls at University events to concerts and wellbeing walks. There are even workshops for special communities like the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) community.

Health workers are also known to take blood pressure readings of people attending this gatherings and at some places sell drinks & cake to raise money for the cause.

You can find our what’s happening in your area here. If you are interested in organising a small event for yourself, you can get images, logos, posters and more to help you spread the word about Mental Health Awareness Week from here.