Ten tips to help you improve your mental well-being
We all experience issues, difficulties and worries in our lives, and there is not always a way to prevent or prepare for times of crisis or low points. However, there are some practical steps we can take to improve our mental health and our mental resilience. This article aims to explore these steps.
Talk about how you feel
Being able to talk to others about how you feel, tell others about your difficulties or share your issues with someone may seem to be difficult, or you may feel that you are burdening others, or even that your problems do not have validity. However, exploring your concerns when you're troubled helps you take charge of your mental well-being.
Eat well and drink less alcohol
There are strong links and connections between the types of food that we eat and how we feel. A direct example of this could be the intake of excessive sugar or caffeine, which has an immediate effect on our bodies and gives us a burst of energy and even makes us happier, but it does not have a lasting effect on our well-being. Eating too much processed foods or consuming too much caffeine can have a negative impact on our mental health. Instead, try to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, which provide our bodies with the natural vitamins and nutrients that promote good physical and mental health.
Some of us may choose to drink alcohol to alter our mood, whether it is to cheer us up after a period of sadness, or after a long week at work. Other people may choose to drink alcohol to cope with feelings of loneliness or fear. The effect of this is usually temporary, and in some can lead to more pervasive patterns of drinking. Monitoring how much you are drinking, and noticing when and why you are drinking can be beneficial in providing you with better mental health.
Be more social and stay in touch with others
Our friends and family assist us in feeling included, valued and cared for. They are able to offer us different perspectives on situations within our lives, and assist us on getting outside of our heads if we find ourselves in circular patterns of thought. Friendships also keep us engaged, active and keep us practical.
Do something you are good at or enjoy
What is it that you love doing? What activities do you find you can lose yourself in? Was there something you used to be interested in, but life got in the way and you stopped taking part? Taking up an activity you enjoy and are good at will promote your good mental health and also boost your self-esteem. Taking part in activities, new or old, can also lead to the development of friendships, new social circles or relationships.
Take a break or do something new
Changing our usual routine or doing something different is an excellent way of improving mental health. The change of pace or activity stimulates our minds, and promotes us to think differently, act differently and learn new ways of understanding. This can be as simple as going somewhere different on your lunch break, or deciding to walk part of the way to work. Even if this is only a small activity, it will be enough to invigorate your mind and lessen the stressful feelings you may be experiencing.
Learning new skills can really give you a sense of achievement and boost your confidence and self-belief. What is important to realise with this is that it does not need to be something complex, overly difficult or challenging. Just learning how to fix a puncture on your bike, or learning how to put a shelf up can make you feel accomplished, and can lead into you learning or trying something more challenging.
Be accepting of who you are
All of us have different abilities, skills and personalities. Some of us make people laugh, some are good at science, and others cook amazing meals. We all have different lifestyles and find different things interesting or pursue different goals. Whatever it is that you have chosen to pursue, be accepting of this path, and remember that your unique journey has value and that the road you walked to get to where you are now matters.
Keep mentally and physically active
There are strong links that show exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier. Exercising regularly will not only boost your self-esteem, but it will also help you have better concentration, feel and look better and also keep your brain and other vital organs healthy.
Caring for others, whether it is volunteering a few hours of your time or just doing something extra for a friend or family member, can really improve your mental health and is also key for keeping relationships going and can bring you closer together, adding a great deal of satisfaction to your mental health.
Seek a qualified therapist
Being able to ask for help can be a frightening experience, and can be something that makes us anxious and worried. However, simply being able to tell your story in a safe, empathic and non-judgmental environment can be incredibly useful and meaningful. A therapist offers the space to explore your current difficulties and enable you to feel a tremendous sense of relief from your worries. They can also work with you to develop strategies to manage whatever is troubling you.
This support and guidance can allow you to live a life that feels more connected, real and meaningful and provide you with a better sense of yourself and promote better mental health and well-being.