Emma Howell

Mind Yoga: Painting for your Mental Health

Emma Howell
4 August, 2017

happy mind


This second “Happy Mind 101” post was written to be the first one, but as I went rock climbing last week- it was only fitting that I post ‘Facing Your Fears’ first. In today’s post, I will very briefly touch base with the current status of social media in regards to mental health and also introduce you to my concept of ‘mind yoga’.


SOCIAL MEDIA – Instagram has gone health and fitness mad; have you noticed?

I think it’s great- don’t get me wrong. I definitely have my own little bubble of Instrgammers that I follow and admire- Zanna, Steph, Lee, Tally and Juli, to name a few. They’re super inspiring if you’re interested in having a healthier and more balanced lifestyle- so, go check them out. However, when it comes to mental health, and how to combat these types of problems- there isn’t a lot out there. There’s a lot about physical health, eating well and a few people talking about their own mental health problem (eating disorders, depression, PTSD etc), but not necessarily discussing different ways to actually get your mind happy. We’re all recommended the latest sports gear by affiliates and kept in the know about how to build a great booty, where to buy your summer bikini or how to level out your hormones– but what about how to have a happy mind? There are so many of us being influenced on this app right now, so I think that it would be really beneficial for a handful of us to discover (and be inspired by) people that are sharing their own ways of defeating their mental health problem/s. (Please feel free to message me your opinion on this and let me know if there are people out there that have inspired you- perhaps I just haven’t found them yet!)

Now, I’m not a therapist, a counsellor or a psychologist and I haven’t signed up for a career as any one of these admirable professions. The furthest I‘ve got in this field was studying 7 months of Psychology at university and then dropping out (great student). So, of course, I’m not one to be able to give the correct medical advice or brain training- and it’s not my intention to do that.

My intention is to just share with you my ‘mind yoga’, an approach that has helped me say goodbye to anxiety and depression- and helped me cope with the loss of my Dad. I’ve been down that hole.. the hole of not eating, not sleeping, not socialising, not caring about anything, at all– closing myself off to everyone that cared about me and essentially feeling like a wandering plastic bag on a fast motorway. It’s really frightening, and it’s discomforting to know that right now there are millions of people suffering just like I did and even much much worse.

I don’t want to say that I’ve cured or fixed myself because I know that once you’re susceptible to mental health problems, there’s ‘always a chance it may return’. Many things can trigger it- almost like an eating disorder- for me, whenever I hear the song that was played at my Dad’s funeral, I absolutely freak out; my heart races and I detach myself from the world for a moment. What I’ve learned is that this behaviour is fine- I mean, of course it’s going to happen, my Dad has died. Even typing that makes me feel a bit flustered- tummy butterflies appear and I subconsciously shake my head and close my eyes. Nevertheless, I’m coping a lot more now and I can honestly put most of it down to what I’m about to talk about: exercising your mind.


art with colour


MIND YOGA – These two words have popped up now and again over social media but I’ve never really looked into how/why other people are using them (perhaps I should). I use the term ‘mind yoga’ to represent exercises you can carry out and things you could consider to make your mind happy (or at least happier).

Forgive me, I’m generalising quite a bit here – people have their own ways to make themselves happier.. going on holiday, seeing friends, watching a movie, doing a workout etc. For many people these types of things are just what they need to top up their mostly positive life, which is great! Unfortunately, for some, these things only act as a plaster and the happiness they gain is very short-lived. So, if this is the case, what can you do to get a happy mind and keep it?

My “Happy Mind 101” posts talk about different ways to get and keep your mind happy. I can’t change your life and I can’t fix you, but what I can do is tell you about things that I’ve done and things that I take into consideration to keep my mind happy.

It’s mind yoga- where you keep your mind open, in tune and happy.

Come back next week for the next “Happy Mind 101”.

Read last weeks here.


Catch me on Instagram, where you’ll see my number one method of ‘mind yoga’ that I practice on a daily basis. (Hint: it’s my job.)


hand paint