Better mental health today

5 Steps to better mental well-being

There are so many ways that are sold to help you with better mental health and with the Internet being a big part of our lives it is so hard to determine fact from fiction.  The big issue is that people tend to look at wholesale change, rather than everyday habit to help them feel better. As a result we tend to miss the really important things – the simple things. In seeking answers people tend to over-complicate what the answer (and problem) is and decide that they need 4 different types of massage as well as a several week long self development course, and only then will they feel better. Unfortunately, these things just don’t last – you might get a boost from them for a few weeks (or months) but then all of a sudden you find that you are back to how you were feeling previously.

So, here are 5 things that I recommend that everyone does in order to improve their mental health. These suggestions are easy to follow through on and are something that you can build really good habits around.

  1. Exercise – it doesn’t have to be much, as exercise can help with the regulation of mood, sleep and stress. The old advice is still relevant – park a little further from work (or school pickup), add to your regular exercise routine;
  2. Breathe – mindfulness meditation isn’t about donning robes and reaching nirvana, it is about slowing your head down enough so that you are able to be present in the moment and deal with things as they come (rather than worrying about the past or the future) – I use the Smiling Mind app – great, short and effective meditations for busy people. Have kids and don’t have time? Stop making excuses – the app also has a kids program that you can do with them;
  3. Socialise – just speak to someone! Whether it is messaging an old friend, spending time getting to know a colleague or catching up with a family member in person, or online – it doesn’t matter. Engagement with others helps us to externalise problems and also to assist in building perspective around what we are currently dealing with;
  4. Challenge yourself – make sure that you are not taking the easy route. Is there an email to a colleague that you are dreading? Send it. Have you put off your tax return this year because of the amount of paperwork? Start putting it together. The problem is, the more stressed we become the easier our brains try to take it on us, as a result all the things that cause stress tend to build up and the more that we push it back, the more stress it builds. On top of all your challenging tasks? Find a new one – try places like Udemy or Coursera to learn a new skill or language (at your own pace)
  5. Do something for enjoyment – Remember hobbies? Probably not. Find a new hobby, engage with an old one. “But I’m time poor” I constantly hear, but yet people keep up to date with The Bachelor or their Facebook friends. As with all of the other items on this list, the amount of time isn’t important, the engagement is. Play the guitar for 10 minutes, break out the crochet hooks and make something, read a book – the process, not the outcome, is the goal.

Remember that these are general tips for mental wellbeing and not for the treatment of mental health disorders. If you are struggling with your mental health, please get in contact with your GP or contact me to book an appointment (online or face to face).

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