The World Health Organisation defines ‘mental health’ as a state of wellbeing. There is a lot of focus on physical health, however mental health is equally as important. We know the rate of mental health issues is on the rise, so what are some things we can do to improve or maintain good mental health:
1. Make time for things you enjoy
Sounds straightforward, but often as our lives get busier or we feel stressed and overwhelmed, we don’t prioritise spending time doing activities we enjoy. Pleasant experiences can lead to positive emotions which can prevent negative feelings.
2. Build relationships
Having healthy relationships, whether they be with family members, colleagues, partners or friends is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our mental health. Relationships take time and effort, so ensure you are making time to invest in yours.
3. Get active and eat a balanced diet
Exercise can not only reduce symptoms of certain mood disorders like depression and anxiety but can also boost overall physical wellbeing. Our diet can both positively and negatively influence our mood – so it’s worth considering what we are consuming.
4. Practice gratitude
Recalling just 3 things you are grateful for every day can actually change the way you think, have a positive impact on your wellbeing and reduce perceived stress levels.
5. Consider a pet
Not only can pets help to combat loneliness, build a routine and encourage exercise, but studies have shown caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Did you know that petting a dog for ten minutes can decrease your cortisol levels and help you to manage stress more effectively?
6. Use your strengths
Understanding what your strengths are and then using them to facilitate achievement of goals can boost your wellbeing. There are many strengths questionnaires available online. One option is the Clifton Strengths Questionnaire.
There is a strong link between well-being and meaningful occupation, but this doesn’t have to mean employment. People can contribute in a number of ways including mentoring, volunteering or a small act of kindness.
8. Spend time in nature
Whether it is a quick stroll through a local park, diving in to the ocean or going for a bush walk, studies suggest it can have a restorative effect on our minds.
9. Seek help