Mental health… we all have it.
Did you know that as a result of bullying, 44% had felt depressed and 41% felt socially anxious? The relationship between bullying and mental health is clear, but societally we tend to talk more about looking after our physical health as opposed to looking after our mental health, too.
In this piece, we are going to look at some really simple things that you can do to maintain positive mental health. In doing these things regular and often, you’ll be able to reduce stress levels and the chances of developing a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety.
Before we start though, if you suspect you are suffering from a mental health ailment and haven’t already spoken about it, we recommend you talk to your doctor, a family member or somebody from a charity like Mind.
Firstly, it’s important to know that we all have mental health, just in the same way as physical health. We’re taught from an early age by the movies we watch and media to consume to be afraid of mental health, but it really isn’t anything to ever be afraid of.
Think about how often you see an advert for products that are designed to boost your physical health – yoghurt, juices, gym membership, the list is endless. Now compare that to things that are promoted to boost your mental health. There’s no comparison.
We want to show you some really simple, and mostly free things that you can do to enhance your mental health.
1) Combat Stress
Stress is an evolutionary thing – we’re programmed to get stressed for a short period of time to help get ourselves out of a dangerous situation. Back in the olden days, stress was used to encourage a fight or flight response from people if they were being chased by a predator. Now, in the present day – stress is all around us, but it isn’t good or healthy to feel stressed over long periods of time so it is super important to develop your own ways of coping with stress. We’ve developed a really simple to use tool, called Stress Reprogramming, to help you combat stress. Click here to use it.
2) Watch What You Eat
It really is true. You are what you eat. If you’re eating microwave meals all the time, you’re going to feel pretty pants about yourself. Where possible, up your intake of fresh fruit, veg and grains and reduce the amount of unhealthy processed foods in your diet and refined sugars. Switch the fizzy drinks for water and herbal teas and limit yourself to occasional treats. Not only does this improve your physical health, but it will improve your mental health too. Our food affects the ways in which we feel about ourselves, so fill your body with good quality ingredients.
3) Learn to Be Alone
How many times a day do you check, YouTube, Facebook or Instagram? How many texts a day do you think you send? It’s pretty much constant, right? Sometimes it’s good to just be alone and to get rid of all that stimuli. Sometimes you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself.
4) Exercise More
When you work out, it releases endorphins. By working out, we don’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym. It could be a jog around the block or a walk through the woods. Anything that gets your body moving. If you’re a stranger to exercise, start small and work your way up. Some people prefer to be alone, others prefer to work out with a buddy. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Right now, your brain is processing thousands of different stimuli every second, without you even being conscious of most of it. Our brains aren’t really built for the 21st century. Sure, they can help us escape a predator in the middle of a jungle, but they can get overwhelmed sometimes with the number of stimuli being processed. Meditation is all about silencing your inner voice, enabling you to tap into your subconscious. It is estimated that people first started to meditate in the 3rd century. We recommend meditating several times a week. If you’re a beginner, there are loads of guided meditations to try on YouTube. Give it a try and approach it with an open mind. Hate to also break it to you, but your body won’t physically float and you don’t have to sit cross-legged making humming sounds.
6) Find Something You Love
Different things work for different people. Find the things that you love by trying new experiences and creating positive habits. When you’re doing something you enjoy, your mental health benefits and your stress levels decrease. We find the most happiness when we are in the ‘flow’ of doing something we are passionate about. Your something could be anything from playing the guitar, baking or going to a theme park. It’s good to have exciting things to look forward to, especially if you’re going through a stressful time such as exam season or a breakup.
7) Talk About It
Finally, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of talking. When you’re going through a tough time, the issues often appear bigger inside your head than they actually are. It can be so helpful to speak to someone about the stuff that is stressing you out or making you unhappy. It simplifies it and also gives people an opportunity to advise you on something.
There you have it, 7 really simple and straight-forward ways to maintain positive mental health.
*If you are having suicidal thoughts/considering suicide please seek help immediately: There are a number of helplines that you can contact 24-7/365.
- In the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
- In the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255).