EAT WELL, FEEL BETTER
What we eat can affect how we feel. This is sometimes called the food–mood connection.
HELP OTHER PEOPLE
Scientists have shown that helping other people makes us happy. Research suggests that people who volunteer for causes they care about tend to be happier and healthier, and even live longer. Doing good doesn't have to take much time, and you can even do it from the comfort of your computer.
Exercise is good for your body and it's important for your mental health!
Exercise makes your brain release chemicals that make you feel good - the same chemicals that you get from anti-depressants.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week. It could include
- walking the dog
- riding your bike
- skateboarding or roller-blading
- walking to college instead of getting the bus, or getting off
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Feeling bad about yourself (Low self-esteem) can be the root cause of some mental health problems and can cause a vicious circle. You feel bad about yourself, so you get depressed, which makes you feel even worse about yourself, so you get more depressed and it can be difficult to break that cycle.
Things that can affect someone’s self-esteem include abuse, parental expectations, bullying, trauma, poor physical health and social exclusion.
Having low self-esteem can affect work, personal relationships and your social life so it is important to tackle low self-esteem to boost positive thinking and positive mental wellbeing.
Positive thinking and boosting self-esteem will improve emotional wellbeing.
TAKE TIME OUT
Relaxation is a key to maintaining positive mental wellbeing.
Often it can be all too easy to turn to cigarettes, alcohol or even drugs as a ‘quick fix’ to wind down. There are many positive ways to relax that can have a better impact on your mental health. There are a few techniques that can prevent stress rising throughout the day.
Pausing - Take time to take a break. Stop what you are doing, look out of the window, let your shoulders drop, stretch and allow your mind to calm down. If you encounter a stressful situation give yourself time afterwards to calm down.
Deep breaths - Often people are told to ‘take deep breaths’ after a stressful situation and sometimes concentrating on your breathing helps the body to relax and can have a calming effect.
To aid with this relaxation technique, close your eyes, take deep breaths in and out. Think of your favourite place, maybe somewhere that you like to go on holiday. Focus on that and think about that place and what you might be doing there. You might remember sunbathing on a beach. You can smell sun tan lotion, you can hear the sea. Picturing this ‘nice place’ can help you to relax and take yourself away from the current stressful situation and help calm you down to prevent stress levels gradually rising throughout the day.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
If you're feeling low, friends and family can be vital sources of support and can help you cope with stressful situations and difficult times. Before you talk to someone
- Think about who you find it easy to talk to about personal matters
- Think about who you trust
- Choose someone who is a good listener.
- If choosing a friend, you may want to pick someone you have known for a while
- You might choose to talk to someone who has been in a similar situation to yourself
When you are feeling down or having a hard time, it is important to spend time with other people. Spending too much time on your own can sometimes make you feel worse.
SOMEWHERE TO TALK - SOMEONE TO LISTEN
Top tips to help you feel comfortable talking about your problems
- Find somewhere to talk which is quiet and you will be able to concentrate.
- Pick a good time
- Explain how you are feeling and any concerns you may have.
- Ask for advice or support and explain what the friend or family member can do to help e.g. accompany you to the doctors
- Make it clear if you do not want this person to say anything to anybody else
TOP TIPS - WAYS TO RELAX
Taking up a hobby – people often find that taking up a hobby can help them switch their brains off from work /school pressures. It gives you a break. Often when you go back to the thing that you were finding stressful, you can cope better having taken a break from it and switching off.
Aerobic Exercise – exercise where the heart rate is increased releases endorphins which make you feel good. Exercises could include going to the gym or sport such as football or netball but could also include cycling, skate boarding, surfing, riding a horse, swimming – think about the type of things you are interested in and build your exercise around that.
Walking – walking also releases endorphins but can also help you to switch off from pressures as you take in the scenery around you and get into a steady rhythm – and can be a far more pleasant way to travel than on a busy loud bus which in itself can be stressful. Getting fresh air also helps you to relax and sleep better.
Yoga – yoga, tai chi and pilates are designed around relaxation and breathing techniques which can all aid relaxation.
A warm bath – it sounds simple but a nice warm bath helps the muscles relax and encourages a general feeling of relaxation. Aromatherapy candles or bubble bath could also help your mind to relax and some people find listening to chilled music while you are having a soak helps.
Watching a film or reading a book – escapism is a great way to switch off from reality for a while and help the mind to relax.
Meet a mate – leaving the stressful situation you are in and talking things over with a mate or even chatting about something completely different from what caused the stress can take your mind off things and aid relaxation.
There are five evidence-based steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. They are: