Mind and mood
A good state of mind can be just as important as good physical health. By learning to deal with things like stress and depression you can start to improve the way you feel about yourself and the world around you.
Mental wellbeing means feeling good – about ourselves and the world around us. It means being able to get on with life in the way you want, and being able to cope well with day-to-day life. Feeling good on the inside is just as important to our health as feeling good physically.
If you have good mental wellbeing you generally feel good about yourself and are able to think more clearly. This helps you to build and maintain good relationships with others and feel able to engage with the world around you. You can cope with the stresses of daily life and manage in times of change or uncertainty.
Low mental wellbeing is not good for you at any time. If you experience low mental wellbeing over a longer period of time, you are more likely to develop a mental health problem such as depression.
Tips for improving mental wellbeing
Connect with the people around you – your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Relationships build a sense of belonging and self-worth. Strong relationships with family and friends allow us to share our feelings, positive experiences and can give us emotional support. They also give us a chance to support others, something else that is known to improve our mental wellbeing.
Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and it can also improve your mental wellbeing. We often think that mind and body are separate. But what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. Being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, if that doesn’t appeal to you. It can be as simple as walking more.
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness – small and large – are associated with positive wellbeing. Giving to others can give us a sense of purpose, improve our feelings of self-worth and make us feel good. Sometimes we think of wellbeing in terms of what we have: our income, our home or car, or our job. But evidence shows that what we do and the way we think have the biggest impact on our mental wellbeing. Helping and supporting other people, and working with others towards a shared goal, is good for our mental wellbeing.
Learn something new
Learning new skills can be useful, but research shows it can also improve our mental wellbeing by giving us greater satisfaction and optimism so we get the most from life. Learning doesn’t have to mean getting more qualifications. There are lots of different ways to learning about something new or gaining new skills. You could learn to cook something new, visit a museum or gallery, take on a DIY project or take up a new hobby.
It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to take notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness‘. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Small steps to build into your day
Some people drink when they’re feeling low but this usually only makes them feel worse. Alcohol is a depressant, so although initially it may make you feel more energetic or cheerful, this feeling fades quickly; leaving you feeling down, tired and dehydrated. Find out more about drinking less.
Starting to eat more healthily and staying hydrated can be a big help if you’re feeling low. The benefits that come with a healthy balanced diet can help you feel good and get more out of life. Find out more about eating well.
Evidence suggests that non-smokers tend to be less stressed than smokers. The extra stress smokers feel is often caused by nicotine withdrawal between cigarettes. The way your body responds to this desire for more nicotine can increase tension and have a negative impact on your mood. Find out more about stopping smoking.
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