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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Looking after your Mental Health

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. It is great that mental health is being talked about more, here are some tips from the Mental Health Foundation backed up by research.

Get closer to nature - Nature can have a really calming effect on us.

Learn to understand and manage your feelings - It often helps to give our feelings our attention without judging them, without telling ourselves we’re stupid or weak to feel the way we do.

Talking kindly to ourselves is important - Talking kindly to ourselves, in the same way that we might reassure a small child who we care about, is also important. It can be very comforting.

Talk to someone you trust for support - Many of us have learned to bottle things up inside us and try to ignore painful feelings. It can take a lot of courage to tell someone else about how we’re really feeling or what we’re finding hard, especially if we don’t usually do that kind of thing.

Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings - Many of us sometimes use drugs to block out “difficult” feelings such as sadness, fear or shame. No-one wants to feel bad and for some people, drugs and/or alcohol offer temporary relief. Unfortunately, they don’t stop the feelings returning and may make things worse or create other problems, including damage to mental and physical health, relationships and work or study.

Try to make the most of your money and get help with problem debts -Fears about paying debts, bills and essentials such as food and electricity can be very stressful. Even if our finances are impossible to change, sharing our fears with another person who’s not involved, and who you trust, is likely to help us feel less alone and overwhelmed. This may help us to see new ways forward.

Get more from your sleep - For more suggestions, try this guide to sleep and mental health. It includes information about potentially helpful apps, and getting professional help if self-help isn’t working for you.

Be kind and help create a better world- Research shows that being kind is good for both sides. Being kind can boost our mood, help us feel more capable, strengthen our connections with others and even make us cope better with stress. Read more here.

Keep moving - Our bodies and our minds are connected, so looking after ourselves physically also helps us prevent problems with our mental health.

Eat healthy food - A balanced diet, with lots of vegetables and fruit, is essential for good physical and mental health.

Be curious and openminded to new experiences - Life can feel more interesting, lively and rewarding when we are open to trying new experiences and experimenting with how we do things. It could be as simple as what we have for breakfast or the route we walk with the dog.

Plan things to look forward to - Making plans for things we enjoy can increase our sense of hope, which is important for our mental health. Our plan could be for anything from small pleasures, like a cup of tea or your favourite TV programme or dance class, through to a trip with family or friends, or going to see your favourite film, sports team or singer.

To download the full publication from the Mental Health Foundation click here.


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