Eat Healthily – We all know that what we eat has a big impact on our physical wellbeing, but it also affects your mental happiness. As the old saying goes; a healthy body makes a healthy mind, so think about your diet and what foods you maybe eat too much of. While it’s easy to forgo healthy foods for those that are convenient there are lots of quick and easy meals that are much better for you. Eating three meals a day will keep your energy levels up and keep you feeling good all day long. As well as eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and boost your metabolism; making you feel and look better.
Watch what you Drink – While a lot of people drink alcohol and caffeine to change their mood, their effect is only temporary. When the feelings of energy or excitement fade you will often feel a lot worse than before you drank, which has a big effect on your mental wellbeing. Most people only drink alcohol or caffeine in moderation which can often be good for you. However, some people carry on drinking to delay the onset of these negative feelings, or to escape underlying feelings of nervousness or depression. This is very dangerous and can cause long-term health problems or cover up existing conditions. Try to drink no more than four units of alcohol a day if you are male and three if you are female, and try not to drink caffeinated after seven o’clock at night.
Take some Exercise – Doing a little exercise every day has many different benefits; both mental and physical. When you exercise your body releases endorphins which can greatly improve your mood. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and join a gym to get some exercise; walking or cycling to your destination instead of driving, cleaning the house while listening to music and gardening are all easy ways to get the blood pumping. After a while you’ll start to find doing tasks easier as well looking better, which in turn will also make you feel better about yourself.
Talking to Others – In today’s world it has never been easier to keep in touch with friends and family. Feeling connected with other people is an important part of what makes us human and neglecting this part of life can have detrimental effects on your mental health. Many mental health problems have their roots in trouble with communication and can be helped or even prevented by keeping in touch with others and maintaining strong relationships. If you are having difficulties then some of the best help can be given by friends or family, so talk to them about how you feel as well as listening to their thoughts and emotions.
Getting a Change of Scenery – Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, it happens to all of us! Taking a holiday is a great way to relax, improve your mood and see more of the world. However, not all of us are lucky enough to jet off into the sun whenever we feel like it. But there are much simpler (and less expensive) ways of taking a break from our day-to-day routine which can do just as much to improve your mental health. Taking a different route to work or just moving the furniture around will help your mind in being able to experience new things and cope with different situations.
Get a Hobby – So much of our lives are taken up by the pressures of work these days that we can sometimes forget about what we enjoy. Maybe you love to paint, play a musical instrument or have always wanted to build the best railway set in the country. Taking some time out to dedicate just to yourself will help you cope with stress, focus your mind and allow you to express yourself. If you are feeling blue, conveying your thoughts in a painting, a song or in a poem will help you understand how you feel and make you feel much better.
Accepting that You are Unique – Many people are unhappy or self-conscious about their appearance, the way they speak or their background; comparing themselves unfairly to others they see in magazines or on television. These kinds of feeling can lead to an entrenched sense of worthlessness or even bring about conditions such as depression or an eating disorder. By talking to others and expressing your feelings you will be able to get a better understanding of both your weaknesses and strengths. If you find it helps, take five minutes every day to list the qualities that make you unique, thinking of one positive and then one negative, and try to accept that you are you; which is the best person you can be.
Care for Others – It’s only natural to be concerned for other’s welfare, whoever they are. Part of maintaining healthy relationships is returning concern for those who care for you. This could be as simple as signing a ‘get well’ card at work or calling an elderly relative to ask how they are. Getting a pet makes you exercise these emotions constantly as you are the person they rely on for food, shelter and love. Really caring for others can help greatly improve your mental health and allow you to explore feelings you may have grown out of touch with. You may even find you enjoy it so much that you want to volunteer to help others in the community who are less fortunate than yourself, but this is only an extreme example of caring. Allowing yourself to have feelings for others helps you understand why other people care for you and why you should care for yourself.
Exercise your mind – Just like the rest of your body your brain needs exercise too in order to stay healthy. There are lots of different ways you can do this; from computer games to doing the cross word. Instead of working out your bills on a calculator straight away, try calculating the sums in your head first before checking if you were correct mechanically. Learning a new word every day is also a good way of making sure your memory stays in full working order, which will help as you get older as well as in day-to-day life. Your mind is your most valuable tool so keeping it fully functioning is very important to staying happy and living an active life.
Remember that Help is at Hand – By following these simple steps you should feel better in and about yourself. However, if you are feeling anxious, depressed or think you may be suffering from a mental illness it is important to remember that there are lots of places you can go to where you will be offered plenty of support. As well as your G.P. there are many different services based locally around the country such as charities and support groups. The most important thing is to let someone know how you are feeling, be it a friend or family member, a confidential service like the Samaritans or professional services offered by your local health trust.