Mental health is a subject of fervent discussion, and more and more of us are keen to take action to improve and nourish wellbeing. Health is not just about having a healthy body. It’s also about having a healthy mind. In this guide, we’ll explore steps you can take if you’re eager to be more proactive in protecting your mental health.
Understand that we all have mental healthWe often think about mental illness and disorders when the subject of mental health crops up. Although psychological conditions don’t affect everyone, we all have mental health. You shouldn’t assume that you don’t need to look after your mind just because you don’t have symptoms of a disorder or you feel content. Anyone can experience mental illness, and often, there are measures you can employ to try and reduce risks. Everyone can benefit from being proactive in trying to prevent poor mental health. From self-help techniques to seeking advice if you don’t feel right, it’s essential to understand the importance of taking good care of your mind.
Seek help and advice
When it comes to seeking help and advice, there is often a noticeable difference between physical and mental health. Many people are willing to see a doctor if they have aches and pains, for example, but they try to soldier on and keep their problems to themselves if they feel low, they’re anxious all the time or they are resorting to drink or drugs as a coping mechanism. There is a stigma attached to mental health, and although we are talking about it more openly than ever before, many people are still uncomfortable when the topic crops up in conversation. We tend to bottle up emotions, and we feel embarrassed or ashamed about reaching out or being open with friends and family.
If you are struggling with anxiety, you think you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, or you’re drinking to get through the day, it’s crucial to understand that help is available. From therapy and counseling, self-help methods and talking to friends to an intensive outpatient program or rehabilitation, there is an array of treatment options, therapies and support measures out there. It can be daunting to take the first step and ask for advice or help but the sooner you can do this, the better. It can also be hugely reassuring and comforting to confide in people you trust if you are finding life tough. Speaking to friends or relatives can help you to manage and control emotions and provide an outlet if you feel like stress is getting the best of you or you can’t express yourself.
Devote more time to things that make you happy
Most of us have hectic schedules, and we struggle to strike a healthy balance between working, looking after children or caring for others and managing our homes. One of the most effective ways to protect and enhance your mental health is spending more time doing things that make you happy. This sounds simple but many of us don’t take enough time to enjoy hobbies, socialize with loved ones or take breaks to unwind and recharge our batteries. If your diary is packed, or you feel like you’re always running around after other people, start scheduling time out. Whether you’re a keen artist, you love to read or write, you long to be able to hang out with friends more often or you want to have more time to do yoga, go hiking, play tennis, go to the beach, swim or start dance classes, take control of your diary.
Surround yourself with positive people
The relationships we have with other people can have a major bearing on our mental health. Some people lift us up and make us feel amazing while others can bring us down or make us question our worth. Try to ensure that you spend time with friends and family members that have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, and don’t feel guilty if you see less of those that make you feel upset or angry. It’s very common to lose touch with friends and for social circles to shrink as you get older. Focus on quality, rather than quantity when it comes to your friendship group and the people you choose to spend time with. Your friends should always make you feel safe, secure and happy.
Up your activity levels
Exercise is proven to increase stamina, endurance and strength but it also has fantastic benefits for mental health. If you’re looking to boost wellbeing or you’re searching for effective ways to reduce stress, prevent anxiety and lift your mood, it’s a good idea to up your activity levels. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This can include everything from walking, dancing and playing tennis to cycling, hiking, yoga and trampolining.
If you’re new to exercise, and you don’t know how to get started, it’s a great idea to use an activity tracker to try and increase the amount of exercise you do gradually. You can set yourself targets, for example, 5,000 steps a day, and then set new goals once you achieve them. Aim to increase the intensity of workouts, exercise for longer or try new activities to boost motivation, and have fun. You can get friends and family involved, vary workouts and sports to keep things interesting and reward yourself if you reach a milestone. You could also consider hiring a trainer or joining beginners’ exercise classes if you want to make sure that you move at a steady pace and get the most out of your new fitness regime.
Many of us are taking more of an interest in mental health but there is still a very long way to go. We are usually more comfortable talking about physical health, and many people are still reluctant to seek help and advice if they are struggling. If you are looking for ways to be more proactive in protecting your mental health, it’s crucial to understand that everyone can take steps to look after their mental health and that help and support are available.