8 steps to improving your mental wellbeing
Mental health is so important and maintaining it can be difficult. When life is carrying on around us, it can sometimes feel impossible to get out of the negative pattern we might be in. However, there a few solid ways to improve your mental wellbeing, which we’ve outlined below.
1. Connect and build relationships with other people
Having a strong network of supportive and positive individuals is a great way of improving your mental wellbeing. But it can be hard to find this, especially with work and other responsibilities. Make time to connect with other people, whether that’s having lunch with a work colleague outside of the office, or sitting down with your children at tea time, instead of sitting in front of the television, or joining a group or club of like-minded people. Developing a support network means you have people to turn to when you’re feeling low or have a problem you need to discuss. Talking through these issues can help strengthen a bond with others, making you feel part of something, and improving your mental wellbeing.
2. Make time for regular exercise
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to make time for regular exercise, especially if we have full-time jobs, children, or elderly relatives to look after. But regular exercise is so important for our health, both physically and mentally. Joining a sports club or activity group can ensure you have regular exercise and connect with other people. You might have played football when you were younger or been a dancer; there are lots of adult groups that can allow you to try your hand at these activities and increase your fitness. Exercise isn’t just about hammering the gym every day – you might not enjoy that. It’s about finding something that suits your current fitness levels and makes you feel good about yourself.
3. Learn something new
This doesn’t mean going back to school or college. Learning a new skill or sport or activity can help increase your confidence and provide you with a sense of accomplishment. Often as adults, we rarely learn new skills, unless we have to for our jobs. This can make us believe that we don’t have a sense of purpose and that we’re not continuously learning, as we were when we were younger. Learning something new can present itself as a number of different things, such as trying out a new recipe, fixing something around the house by following a YouTube tutorial, joining a group (like a sports team or craft club), or starting a new hobby. You don’t have to excel at these activities straight away, but by simply making time to try them and learn, you’ll boost your self-esteem and improve your mental wellbeing.
4. Volunteer or offer your time to help others
Giving up your time to help others isn’t just a selfless act – it’s been proven that being kind to others can dramatically improve your mental wellbeing and create a sense of purpose in you, that you might not have had before. This doesn’t mean you have to give up all your spare time to volunteer down the local charity shop or go to a war-torn country and assist there. It simply means taking more time to be kind to others. This might mean you volunteer for a charity event each month, or you join a group that helps maintain your local area, or you help your elderly neighbours by doing their food shopping or mowing their lawn. Not only will this help your community, but it means you’ll be spending more time with others and creating your own sense of worth.
5. Be present and in the moment
We’re all guilty on sometimes being on autopilot and going through each day without taking much note of our surroundings and the small things in life that we should enjoy. By taking more time to be present and in the moment, you can appreciate both the small and bigger moments. This could be when you’re in the shower for instance, feeling the warm water splash against your skin, or the smell of your new shower gel, or the softness of a fresh towel when you dry yourself. Perhaps you walk home from work – take that time to look at your surroundings, such as the trees, any wildlife, or the people driving past.
6. Take note of what you’re grateful for
Although you may aspire to be and have more in life, studies have shown that noting down what you’re grateful for now, in the present moment, is an effective way of improving your mental wellbeing. There are lots of things you could think about, such as the home you live in, the food you eat, the people you surround yourself with, or even smaller tokens of gratitude, such as waking up on time for work, enjoying a warm cup of coffee, or a freshly made bed. Basking in these moments is likely to increase your mental wellbeing. Try to find gratitude in something each day and make a note of this; that could be in a small notebook you carry around or in your phone.
7. Keep a journal
If you struggle to make sense of your thoughts and feelings, or you find you go over everything in your head when you go to bed, keeping a journal or diary can be a great way to limit these racing thoughts. It also gives you a chance to read back over how you were feeling and how you managed to overcome those feelings.
8. Look after yourself
This can mean a lot of different things to people, but looking after yourself is key to improving and maintaining your mental wellbeing. This might look like eating healthily, or taking a break, or going to bed earlier, or taking time to do the things you love, such as painting, reading, or walking. Whatever you find helps you look after yourself, try to do these things as often as possible to keep yourself relaxed and at ease.
If you’re looking to join a group in Lancashire, or perhaps start a new one, you can do this through Our Lancashire. Joining a group is a great way to be social and improve your mental well-being.