In my life, I have all too readily understood the importance of health and wellness and most importantly, good, positive mental health. What does positive and good mental health mean? It means taking care of your mind and body so you can live life to the full and at your absolute best.
This year on World Mental Health Day, I wrote a blog post about the ways that help me to keep positive mental health. All too many of us in every society suffer with depression or anxiety disorders including OCD and PTSD, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, eating disorders, drug/alcohol addiction- the list goes on.
Illness is a part of being human, whether it is in our genes or created by our environment- or both. 1 in 4 of us are estimated to struggle with mental health difficulties and in truth the number is most likely higher. Medication and psychotherapy has become a regular part of daily life for many, even if not openly talked about due to stigma.
Here is what I would recommend for keeping positive mental health and all round wellness. Everyone has their own tips that help them and I am just sharing what I know to have helped me and others I interact with.
1) Support Network- having someone to talk to. Whether its one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you need further support there are charities like the Samaritans- who are always on hand to listen on their helpline. Mind charity are also an amazing support and resource and check out Rethink Mental Illness.
All promote a non stigmatised view of mental illness and a listening ear.
If you are lucky to have a good, stable support network- utilise it. Your friends and/or family are so important at promoting happiness and keeping you well, if they in turn are a calming, stable influence.
Don’t suffer in silence- Tell someone you trust how bad you are feeling. Share your thoughts.
2) Waking up earlier- Try and get up an hour earlier in the morning to kickstart your day. While easier if you are not suffering with severe depression, this has so many positive effects on your day and can promote a healthier attitude to your day if practised regularly .
3) Get washed and dressed in the morning (even if you don’t feel like it when depressed). It can alter your mood for a little while and prepare you for the day, keeping you focused so that you can get through the day.
4) Set 3 small achievable goals in your day. This can be anything from going for a walk, cooking a meal, calling a friend to securing that business deal. Remember the goals must feel achievable to you.
5) Exercise. I am not a big fan of exercise- but even moving around a little can change your mindset. Build it up slowly and if you prefer to exercise at home rather than at a gym- do so. Exercise promotes serotonin ‘the natural ‘happy chemical’ in the brain and has a variety of health benefits.
6) Eating and resting well. Diet plays a big part in your mood. If you havnt eaten you will often feel lower or more anxious. Equally, sleep- at least 6-8 hours, is extremely important in healing your mind and soul.
7) Gratitude- Write 3 things each day that you are thankful and grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can be extremely rewarding.