Keep calm and carry on

Switch off the news and focus on the good stuff (i.e. you) if you want to navigate through troubled times

A new report shows that Brits are shunning mainstream news in order to preserve their mental health and wellbeing.

The research demonstrates the negative impact that 12 months of economic uncertainty and political upheaval have had, with more than a quarter of people saying their mental health and wellbeing has significantly worsened during this time. This rises to one in four for both women and young adults aged 18-34.

The survey, commissioned by Kalms herbal remedies, also found that one third of Brits have become 'news shunners', avoiding the news altogether.

Who can blame them? Life in the UK in recent times has meant living with a cost-of-living-crisis, exacerbated by the legacy of lockdowns, Covid-19, and a conflict in Eastern Europe, not to mention a chaotic political situation at home.

"With so much uncertainty in the world, it is vital that we take time to reflect on the huge toll that 21st central living is taking on people's mental health and emotional wellbeing," the report states.

It also introduces a newly-coined term, 'kalmfulness' — the state or quality of being calm, peaceful and untroubled in the midst of daily life — as a way to counter the impacts of the external chaos.

Wellbeing benefits for both mind and body can be easily achieved through everyday practices, it notes:

  • Gratitude journaling for five minutes a day can enhance long-term happiness by over 10%.
  • Just 40 days of daily mindfulness meditation can help reduce depression symptoms and lead to structural and functional brain changes.
  • 63% of UK adults agree that when other people are kind it has a positive impact on their mental health, with the same proportion agreeing that being kind to others positively enhances their own mental health.
  • Multiple studies show that being creative can increase positive emotions, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and even lessen depressive symptoms.
  • Research shows that acts of self-care, prioritising sleeping well and maintaining an active lifestyle, can help manage stress, lower the risk of illness, and increase energy levels.

"Dedicating just a few minutes a day to kalmfulness can maintain mental wellbeing, potentially reducing feelings of anxiety," says psychologist and psychotherapist, Charlotte Armitage. "As people spend time practicing, they'll probably notice themselves feeling calmer and more patient. These shifts in experience are likely to generate changes in other parts of life as well. Often, people find they are better able to manage to concerns about the future as they have better tolerance levels to cope with the stresses that are a normal part of life."

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.