Five steps to mental wellbeing
Your mental health is important so that we can feel good about ourselves and be able to get the most of life.
Some mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are common and it is important that you obtain the right treatment for these.
However, there's more to good mental health than avoiding or treating mental illness. There is also positive mental wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing can take many different forms, but a useful description is feeling good and functioning well.
According to Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, when we talk about mental wellbeing, we mean more than just happiness.
"Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too. So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.
"Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult. But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual."
Many factors influence our wellbeing. Evidence shows that the actions we take and the way we think have the biggest impact.
"The first thing you can do for your own wellbeing is become curious about it," says Professor Stewart-Brown. It can help to think about "being well" as something you do, rather than something you are. The more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.
"Start to think about what you've done in the past to promote mental wellbeing, and whether it worked. Then think about new things that you can try.
"Remember, no-one can give wellbeing to you. It's you who has to take action."
Five steps to mental wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you approach them with an open mind and try them out, you can judge the results yourself.
- Be Sociable – Spend time with the people around you which can be your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and develop on these relationships.
- Excercise – If you don’t have time for the gym how about taking a walk, cycling or playing your favourite sport. Find what interest you and really make it as part of your routine.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a boost your confidence. So whether you like cooking, gardening, or that Art course, it is never too late to sign up for it now.
- Eat Healthy – Yes you have heard it before -You are what you eat. By having a balanced diet can make you feel and look good about yourself which will have a positive impact on your mental health.
- Think Positive – be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness", and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.