Tips for Good Mental Health – Mental Health Awareness
When we talk about mental health we are talking about “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Our mental health influences how we think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects our ability to handle stress, face and overcome challenges, maintain and build relationships, and recover from difficulties and setbacks. Being mentally or emotionally healthy means more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric illnesses. “Mentally healthy” people often:
- Enjoy life and have the ability to laugh and have fun.
- Are able to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- Feel a sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- Are flexible and adaptable to change.
- Are able to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
We all experience disappointment, loss, and change. And while a normal part of life, these emotions and experiences still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury; people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This skill is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally resilient have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and productive, in bad times as well as good
Tips for good mental health
Here are 8 tips for building good mental health.
Having good relationships with other people is the most important factor contributing to a sense of wellbeing. This can include relationships with family, friends, workmates and others in the community. Investing time and energy in your relationships can lead to great benefits for all involved.
Exercise and stay healthy
Exercise has been shown to increase wellbeing as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Good physical health is related to better mental health so a healthy diet, cutting back on alcohol and other drugs, getting a good night’s sleep, and regular checkups with the doctor can all help.
Count your blessings. Try keeping a gratitude journal and writing down 3 positive things each day. This can lead to increased wellbeing.
Identify and use your strengths
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Identifying and using your strengths and talents can increase wellbeing. A strengths questionnaire is available at Authentic Happiness, (it is free, but you need to register). Using your strengths to help others or contribute to the community creates a sense of meaning and purpose.
Flow is the state of being so highly involved in an enjoyable activity that you lose track of time. This usually happens when the level of challenge is about right for your level of skill. Flow can happen during work, hobbies, creative arts or sports.
Give to others
Making a contribution to the community, however small, increases social wellbeing. Many people feel a sense of contributing through meaningful work, but this can also mean volunteering, helping a neighbor or performing small acts of kindness. Take some time to do the things you really enjoy. Pleasant events can lead to positive emotions that can cancel out negative feelings.
Spirituality or religion
For some people, being involved in spiritual or religious practices can improve wellbeing, help to cope with stress and reduce symptoms of mental illness. This can include belonging to a faith community, meditation, prayer, mindfulness and practices such as yoga and Tai Chi.
If you are struggling to feel happy, cope with everyday life, find meaning or feel connected to others, see your doctor or a mental health professional. Almost half of Australians will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life — depression, anxiety and substance abuse are the most common disorders.
This list included a few small but impactful ways to improve your mental health every day. It is most important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and lead full, productive, and rewarding lives.
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