If someone was to ask you about your health, I’m sure you would automatically think about how your body is working and any issues you might have, but how often do you consider your mental health?
You cannot have health without mental health.
Our mental health plays a part in everything we do, from the way we process our thoughts and feelings, to how we behave towards others and the decisions we make.
Our mental health fluctuates day to day based on many factors, and mental health does not mean something negative, we all sit on a scale between optimal good mental health and poor mental health.
So, what is the difference between mental health and mental wellbeing?
Well health refers to being free from illnesses and diseases, whereas wellness focuses on happiness and satisfaction of general life.
Ultimately if we are feeling good, we are normally functioning well.
In order to give ourselves the best possible chance of good mental health and wellbeing day to day, it is important to be aware of ways we can achieve mental wellbeing.
One way is by taking on board the ‘Five ways to mental wellbeing’. It is a set of actions designed by the New Economics Foundation to promote wellbeing. These are five principles for improving your mental health by making small day to day changes.
This is all about being personable, it doesn’t have to be with others.
Why not try reaching out to someone over phone, rather than email, or using video chat rather than just voice call?
Connecting with others is an important element of social wellbeing.
2. Be Active
This doesn’t have to be structured exercise, being active can come in many forms, but mainly requires you to be moving for a prolonged period (government guidelines recommend at least 10 minutes) and increasing your heart rate.
Why not try going for a walk or a cycle, or do some housework/gardening?
3. Keep Learning
Why not read a book, cook or watch a documentary around something that interests you?
Whatever it is, it is a chance to build curiosity and satisfaction in knowing something new or the mood booster that mastering a new skill may bring.
Giving can be empowering, it doesn’t mean you have to give to others, you can give some time to yourself, which is important that we all do from time to time and is the main theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week.
If you are feeling generous, you could give some time to a cause, volunteer or put someone else’s needs before yours with a simple act of kindness.
Committing to “an act of kindness” once a week for 6 weeks has been proven to increase happiness.
5. Take Notice
This is all about being mentally present in the moment to be aware of all things physically around you and also aspects of your life.
This can help you to create a better self-understanding helping you to make positive choices for your wellbeing.
So why not try decluttering or redecorating and notice the changes.
Or how about spending a few minutes when outside taking notice of what is around you, being present in the moment.
The ‘Five ways to mental wellbeing’ will help you to make small changes, increasing the chance of long-term habits, enhance your every day by giving you new things to implement, allow you to make changes that are personal and meaningful to you whilst creating a holistic approach to wellbeing.
So what small change could you make today to improve your mental health tomorrow?
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