Creating Pathways to Understanding

10 Top Tips for Improving your Mental Wellbeing

1.    Connect with others – The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our wellbeing – connect with the people around you – your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. Surround yourself with good people ­- Participate and share interests. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class or support group. People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network.


2.    Keep learning – Take time to enjoy – Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and new confidence. So why not sign up for that course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Set realistic goals:

Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realise your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal.


3.    Give to others – Give of yourself – Help out a neighbour or do something nice for a friend, contribute to your community, even the smallest act can count whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need and it’s a great way to meet new people.


4.    Notice the here and now – Take a moment to notice each of your senses each day. Simply ‘be’ in the moment – feel the sun and wind on your face and notice the air you are breathing. It’s easy to be caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of experiencing the present. Practising mindfulness, by focusing your attention on being in the moment, is a good way to do this. Making a conscious effort to be aware of your inner and outer world is important for your mental health.


5.    Value yourself – Take care of yourself – Take care of your body: Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favourite projects, or broaden your horizons. Try doing a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons. Perhaps you could learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language. Make sure you try new things and explore things that you like doing.

Focus on What You CAN Do, Not What You CAN’T”

6.    Taking care of yourself physically – can improve your mental health. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, learn about good nutrition and practice it. The subject of nutrition is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel also drink plenty of water – Deal with stress – Learn how to deal with stress.   


7.    Get enough sleep – Get enough rest – Rest and refresh. To have good mental and emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function optimally. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to an increased level of depression. Go to bed at a regular time each day and practice good habits to get better sleep. Sleep restores both your mind and body. However, feelings of fatigue can still set in if you feel constantly rushed and overwhelmed when you are awake. Allow yourself some unfocussed time each day to refresh; for example, let your mind wander, daydream or simply watch the clouds go by for a while. It’s OK to add ‘do nothing’ to your to-do list!


8.    Get help when you need it – Ask for help. Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. This can be as simple as asking a friend to babysit while you have some time out or speaking to your doctor (GP) about where to find a counsellor or community mental health service. The perfect, worry-free life does not exist. Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need first off, keep asking until you do. It is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and substance abuse disorders and lead full, rewarding lives.


9.    Be active – Break up the monotony – Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a holiday, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures – Exercise helps decrease depression and anxiety and relieves stress improving mood. You don’t have to go to the gym, find the activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise per day. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better. If you have trouble winding down, you may find that relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation can help.


10. Limit alcohol and avoid cigarettes and other drugs. You Can Quit! These are stimulants that may unnaturally make you feel good in the short term, but have long-term negative consequences for mood and emotional health.

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