Making Small Changes To Improve Your Wellness

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Making Small Changes To Improve Your Wellness

The one-degree shift

As a mom, I’ve become all too familiar with the question “why?” My 6-year old daughter has always been inquisitive and she loves exploring the world around her, questioning everything she finds. Recently we’ve swopped out “why?” for “what if…?”, encouraging some really creative thinking in my household.

I quickly realised, however, that there is a broader application to the new question that we’ve been enjoying so much:

  • What if the perpetual state of stress and borderline-burnout can be avoided?
  • What if I had to change my routine?
  • What if it turns out the anxious flutter in my stomach is actually just the fourth cup of coffee I’m busy with?
  • What if I make a few changes, and nothing happens?

Is it really worth it? I’m fortunate enough to work with a network of exceptional human beings, all professionals in the field of mental health, champions to the cause of emotional wellbeing. I started bouncing these questions around with them, and the consensus was this; all it takes is a One-Degree Shift in behaviour. No dramatic actions, just a sustainable, One-Degree Shift into a fresh direction – totally manageable!


I love my family. I also love my career.

I want to function optimally for both. The One-Degree shift that supports that, turned out to be an easy fifteen minutes in the morning to boost my cognitive functioning and into a relaxed but alert state, setting my day up for success.


The actions were simple:

1. Get your heartrate up. It’s as easy as a quick walk (even just around the house if need be) or a short yoga sequence, and it improves cognitive function, memory, and focus. There are a bunch of really helpful (short!) tutorials on Youtube.

2. Get outside, and touch nature (pick a flower, touch a tree, or walk barefoot on the grass). Grounding this way reduces stress and improves your mood, boosts creativity and problem-solving skills, and cognitive flexibility.

3. Guided imagery is a powerful tool to improve mental clarity and focus. There is ample evidence that this exercise is linked to our cognitive processes and how we approach things during the day, so before you reach for that second coffee, close your eyes and imagine the day going exactly the way you want it to, breathing deeply as you do. This can help you feel more focused, creative, and productive.


At the end of the day it’s the small changes, the quick wins, that make a big impact on your overall wellbeing because it’s practical and easy to keep up. Don’t force them into the routine in the morning, rather find a window of time where it will naturally fit in and work on keeping the habit up. It’s helped me find balance and taught me that a little self-love goes a long way – my hope is that it does the same for you! Best, Danielle (Mom of one, MD of Upright)

Danielle Reynolds, mom to gorgeous Harley, is the Founder and MD of Upright – a digital mental health platform that makes getting help easier and more convenient by offering online therapy sessions and access to Whatsapp-based support groups. This user-friendly, digital environment affordably connects people to the help they need in navigating anything from major life events and relationships, to medically diagnosed disorders.