If you had to rate your Mental Health on a scale of 1-10 (10 being optimal), what would you have given yourself as a score yesterday?
The first thing I want you to consider is does this surprise you?
Think about the last few days, what would you score them? Does it differ between the days?
Essentially, if we were to do this every day, it would give us better understanding of how we feel and what may affect this.
Hopefully, it would provoke you to make some changes if it was a low score, and take note of things that happen on days when it is a high score.
Sometimes though, our Mental Health may not be that easy, you may have low days for a prolonged period, not knowing how to improve it. If this is the case and you are worried about it, you should seek support from a medical professional as long term this could lead to a diagnosed mental health condition.
There are some excellent mental health resources that can be accessed including ‘Every Mind Matters’ from the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
It’s important to keep in mind that Mental Health is something we all have; it 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.
Secondly, it is important to know that you can influence your Mental Health positively in many ways.
So, what small steps can you take to improve your day?
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness.
So be kind to yourself
This may be in the form of taking some time to yourself to relax and unwind, whether this is having a nice long soak in the bath or watching your favourite programme. Spend time doing something you enjoy and know makes you feel better.
This could also be in terms of how you react to things that might not go your way.
If you don’t get that job, or that second date, don’t be hard on yourself, be kind to yourself.
Create that positive chain
It is very easy for us to let our thoughts and feelings overwhelm us, ultimately resulting in our behaviours mirroring these.
Our thoughts directly affect our feelings, which in turn affect our behaviours which then go back to affecting our thoughts.
So it is important that we do our best to instil positive thoughts as much as possible to start this positive chain.
Ultimately if you are thinking positively and feeling positive you are more likely to behave positively.
To start off the thought-feeling-behaviour chain it starts with positive thoughts, so how do we go about changing negative thoughts we might have to correct the chain?
There are many ways in which you can do this but how about spending some time practicing positive self-talk.
Negative - “I’m not going to try that, I won’t be any good at it”
Positive - “Doing something is closer to where I want to be than doing nothing”
Consider some of these types of examples for the next time you feel you talk yourself into negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Further tips for improving your daily mental health
- Regular exercise
Try and ensure you are getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
- Get outdoors
Just 20-30 minutes outside in nature can decrease stress levels.
- Fuel yourself right
The food we eat can directly affect our moods and energy levels, are you fuelling yourself for good mental health?
- Get some sleep
You should be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Late nights are linked to increased levels of stress and tiredness can have a direct effect on mood and general mental health.
But don’t stress if you don’t get this amount, work on how you may improve the quality of sleep or get proper rest
- Connect with people
Reach out to a friend or someone you enjoy talking to, this can help with feelings of connectedness
Spend a few moments a day being consciously present in the current moment.
This may be to take in what is around you or to consider the positives of your day, or the bigger picture, rather than things you may be worrying about.
- Control the ‘controllables’
There are a lot of things in life that you are in control of, but there are equally many things you are not.
We tend to worry about both of these and they can leave us feeling down and hopeless at times.
Try focusing on what in your life you can control, this will help you to centre your energy and attention to these and will help you to make peace with those things that you cannot control. Letting the ‘uncontrollables’ mentally leave you is a great way to lift some emotional weight off your shoulders.
Remember, we all have mental health.
It can change daily, even hour to hour, so it is important to take time to learn about our own mental health and things that help us improve it.
So, what will you do today, to make your tomorrow better?
Here at EnterprisingYou we can support the self-employed and gig economy workers of Greater Manchester to improve their social wellbeing. For more personalised advice, please sign up our programme.