Mental health for a person can change overtime and is determined by various factors such as – rapid social changes, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyles, physical illness and human rights violations.
Mental health is extremely important not just for us as individuals but as a community since it has direct impact on others based on our interactions.
While analysing mental health can be a little tricky there are ways of improving your mental health and wellbeing.
Trying these things can help you maintain a positive outlook towards life and get the most out of life.
Here in this article let us check these out.
5 simple steps to mental health and wellbeing.
Mindfulness – Pay attention to the present moment
In today’s world, it becomes quite easy to get yourself tied up so much that you eventually stop noticing much that is happening around us in present moment.
Our feelings and thoughts have the power to consume us so much that we stop noticing the world around us and may end up living in our own head.
Mindfulness helps us reconnect ourselves with our body and to take a break from the autopilot mode.
Paying attention to the present moment can improve our mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness helps you understand yourself better and to enjoy life more. Simple techniques such as watching our thoughts as mental events, trying something new from our usual noticing events around us everyday are helpful.
Yoga, meditation and relaxation breathing exercises are good way to get your command back from autopilot.
More research is being conducted to measure and quantify the effectiveness of mindfulness and who and by how much a person may benefit from it.
However, based on experiences it has proven to be quite useful in improving conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is recommended approach from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to prevent depression.
Connect with people to improve mental health
Humans are social beings. We like to connect with different people and our individual or collective experiences impact our lives.
Relationship are formed as part of this interaction with other people. Relationships can be classified broadly into good and bad primarily based on their impact in our lives.
While bad relationships cause lot of stress, anxiety and bring disorder in out lives, good relationships have potential to improve our overall outlook towards various aspects in life.
Good relationships are very important for our mental wellbeing. They help us build sense of belonging and self-worth, provide emotional support and share positive experiences.
To improve your relationships you can try following simple steps –
- Plan to spend sometime with your family everyday. e.g. keep aside everything else and have dinner with your family at a fixed time.
- While watching TV and films is good, switch off TV and spend sometime to talk or play games with friends, family or children
- Visit a family or family member who may need your support
- Plan to visit or call a friend whom you may not have spoken in sometime
- If you are living far away from family, use technologies such as Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Signal, FaceTime etc to connect. Go for video chats if possible, it is good to see people and develop better bonding.
- Make new relations by volunteering in community groups
Social media has gained lot of popularity in recent times. While it is a good addition from technology end, do not solely rely on technology and social media to build relationships.
While there are many different technology channels such as calling, video chat, texting, messaging, emailing, walls (facebook) people this may soon gradually center down to occasional texts, messages or emails and eventually losing contact.
Technology should be used to augment your capabilities to connect and not as a substitute especially when other alternate mechanism to connect with people are available.
Be Physically Active for better mental health and wellbeing
Being active is one of the simplest ways to maintain better physical health but being active does not always translate to regress exercise routine.
If you are not much into exercise we suggest you to remain active by doing some form of physical movement.
Brisk walks, doing household chores, dancing and basically keep moving in certain time period is always good for health.
In short, being active is always better than not being active at all.
Research shows that being active helps improve not just your physical fitness level but doing some kind of exercise does bring mental wellness to you.
Being active helps you define goals for yourself and achieving them gives you a sense of achievement. This also helps raise your self esteem and you feel more confident about yourself.
Doing some kind of moderate exercise also helps your brain trigger release of various chemicals into your blood stream which also bring positive outlook and makes you feel happy.
This should not mean that hitting the gym and spending hours to bring yourself to required fitness level is the only available option.
It is better to choose an activity that you enjoy the most and make it part of your life. Slowly bring this change and in no time you will be able to see a much positive impact this brings to your life.
Some such activities could be –
- walking more often to anywhere and everywhere
- Go for some park games. If you have children it is good time to join on some fun filled games with them.
- Skipping could be one great choice for such activities
- Gardening could be a good option
- Perform some stretch and flexibility exercises. Yoga could be a good option
- Climbing stairs instead of lifts
- Performing household chores like cleaning, washing etc that allows you to move often
- Sit ups and similar exercises
- Taking out your pet for walks and runs will keep them and you fit easily
- Swimming & cycling can be good options
A little sweat everyday will go a long way for you keeping you healthy both physically and mentally.
Perform act of kindness – Give to other in need
At sometime in our lives we all have heard that good things come to those who wait, but there is another thing about good things – they come to those who do good to others.
Don’t believe us? Research suggest that we as human beings can improve our mental wellbeing by some very simple things such as by doing acts of giving and kindness.
These acts help in the following way –
- Gives us a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- helps us connect with more people
- Brings positive feelings and sense of reward
- Gives us a better picture on how we fit in and bring positive changes for all
- Relieves stress by sharing your life with others
Some examples of acts of kindness could include –
- Register yourself and volunteer in your local community
- Associate yourself with a cause of your choice and supporting those charities by donating or doing fund raisers
- Asking friends and family and checking how they are and what new is happening in their life
- Spending time with friends and family who need support or care
- Thanking people when they do something for you
- Listen to others and see if you can offer some help. This could as well be as simple as offering to listen to their issues and help them manage or come in terms with it.
Learn a new Skill
One of the easiest way to improve your mental wellbeing is to start learning a new skill. Research suggest that our mind needs something new and fresh to stay healthy.
Learning a new skill helps you boost your self confidence and raising your self esteem.
You get a sense of purpose by exploring new things and over a period of time you get new perspective over different things.
In your journey towards learning a new skill you connect with different people and get new details and information which may help you understand other things better.
Learning new things makes you feel more responsible and a sense of achievement on accomplishing it.
Somethings that you can try are –
- Learn a new recipe and cook something new – You will get better understanding of food
- Learn a new language – You will also get to learn something new about other cultures
- Create an assignment for yourself and try to complete it – This could be building your own garden, fix your bike or a small furniture
- Start a new hobby – learn how to paint, draw sketches, write blog/short stories, jokes etc
- Learn how to write a computer program for fun
- Learn how to play music or maybe learn some dance moves
Do not feel that because you maybe satisfied with what you have and what you do, you don’t have a need to learn anything.
Also, you must not feel that to learn something you need to sit an exam. Choose something that resonates with you, sometimes choose something that makes you feel challenging and accomplish it.
Mental health and wellbeing is often ignored by people but it does have direct and serious impact on the quality of life that you have.
Mental health does not only impacts the individual but also the entire community and hence we are all in this together.
Perform small acts of kindness such as helping someone or just ask them about their whereabouts.
Being active has direct impact on your mental health and is therefore important to you. Find activities so you can stay active and improve your physical and mental health.
Learning a new skill can help your mental health and also gives you more ways of connecting with people around you.
Maintaining good mental health need not be challenging and by following above few simple steps you can easily head towards a better lifestyle.
Remember mental health for a person varies and is based on different experiences in life.
If you do feel that you or someone you know may have mental illness such as depression etc, reach out to a doctor for further advice.
Do not ignore mental health and illness. Remember mental illness is similar to physical illness and is medically treatable.