7 tips to improve our mental health

There are plenty of things that we can do to support our mental health. They don’t have to cost lots of money or take a huge amount of time. Here are a few things we can all do to feel better.


How to support your mental health

1. Exercise

Ok I’m not talking about climbing mountains here or spending hours at the gym unless you really want to. Our minds and bodies are connected and looking after our physical health helps with our mental health.

Try and fit some movement into each day where you can. Go for a walk in your lunch break maybe? Exercise releases feel-good hormones that can reduce stress and anxiety. It can improve your sleep as well.

2. Get in touch with your feelings

Do you ever get upset and don’t really know why? It could be a whole host of things, but you can’t quite put your finger on what. It helps if we can identify and name our feelings it might be sadness, fear, shame, loneliness, or something else.

Some people find it helpful to write down what they are feeling, either as a list or as a journal. Whatever you choose to do observe your feelings without judgement. There are no right or wrong feelings, they just are. Be kind to yourself.

3. Money worries

The cost of living is going up and debt is a real and present worry for many. Worrying about paying the rent, mortgage or household bills can be extremely stressful and can make coping with anything else very stressful. Whoever said money can’t make you happy had obviously never been really skint! Just to clarify money can’t actually make you happy, but it’s a lot easier to be happy if you can pay the bills.

If you are struggling, get in contact with the Money Advice Service or National Debtline. Talk to someone, you don’t have to do this alone.

4. Get enough sleep

Most adults need between six and eight hours sleep a night. Try some of these tips if you are struggling to sleep.

Less screen time before bed – the light on screens messes with our sleep patterns and tells our brains to stay awake. Try and stay off your phone, TV, or tablet for an hour before bed.

Ditch the caffeine. It’s a stimulant. Try and go for decaf or soft drinks after lunch.

Try this breathing exercise as you try and go to sleep. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold it for one second, and breathe out through your mouth for six seconds. As you do this make sure your tongue and jaw are relaxed. You might just be surprised at how well this works.

5. Healthy eating

We all know that a healthy balanced diet is the way to go, so why is it so hard to do? Sugary drinks and snacks can give us a sense of a high or comfort. Sadly, this doesn’t last long and can leave us with a sugar crash and feeling jittery and tired. I’m not suggesting that we cut all sugar out but be mindful of what you eat and how it makes you feel. Try and eat a few more portions of veg and throw some fruit in for good measure. 

We mix food up with feelings. Sometimes we overeat or undereat to help us manage difficult emotions. If this sounds like you it might be a good time to talk to someone or get professional support if you need to.

6. Get creative!

Art is good for us! Studies show that just looking at art can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some UK research suggests that just looking at art we consider beautiful triggers similar responses to falling in love.

Creating art in any way is even better for us. Getting creative lowers stress hormones and can raise serotonin levels. It doesn’t even have to be very good art! Simply doodling or colouring in can have the same benefits.

Everything listed here has been subjected to peer-reviewed research that suggests they are beneficial to mental health.

7. Get close to nature

Getting outside has so many positive benefits. Vitamin D from sunlight can improve our mood. In terms of mental health benefits, nature can be a lot of things. It can be your local park, the canal, or a walk around the local playing field. We don’t have to have ready access to big open spaces to get the benefit of being in nature.

Surprisingly, it has been shown that even watching nature documentaries can be good for our mental health. This is great because it means that the mental health benefits of nature can be available to all of us, no matter where we live.

Most studies indicate that even a few minutes a day in nature can really improve our short-term mood. 10 minutes a day can see measurable improvements.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Haslemere, GU27
Written by Fiona Hewkin, BA (hons), MBACP
Haslemere, GU27

Fiona Hewkin is Humanistic trained counsellor with further training in Trauma Focused Therapy. She has a passion for helping people to thrive after challenging childhoods and trauma.

Show comments

Find the right counsellor or therapist for you

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals