5 ways to improve your mental wellbeing

Looking after our mental health is not something we should solely do when we are struggling, feeling low or anxious, but something we should think about and invest in all the time.

We all need good mental health and wellbeing to live a happy and healthy life and evidence suggests that there are 5 steps you can take to help improve this, so lets explore them a little further…

1. Connect with other people

Feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning in the world.

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing as they can help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth, gives you an opportunity to share positive experiences and can also provide emotional support.

 

Here are some things you could do to help build stronger and closer relationships:

 

  • Put five minutes aside to ask someone how they are
  • Check in with a family member or friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Join a local group or club and meet new people in your community
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share a journey home with them
  • Switch off the TV and spend some time talking with your family

2. Be active

Being physically active not only benefits your physical health but your mental health and wellbeing too.

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all ages groups as well as being essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline.

 

Exercise doesn’t need to be intense for you feel the benefits. Here are some simple things you can do to have a more active lifestyle:

 

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift, whenever possible
  • Go for a lunchtime walk
  • Park a bit further away from work or get off the bus a stop earlier
  • Try and walk or cycle to work
  • Try the NHS couch to 5k

3. Learn

Research shows that learning new skills through life can enhance your self-esteem and help you to connect with others.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

There are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life, even if you feel you don’t have much time, here are a few ideas:

 

  • Learn to cook/bake something new
  • Try a new hobby that challenges you such as writing a blog or taking up a new sport
  • Do a crossword or sudoku
  • Read a book
  • Try a free online course
  • Sign up to some HCPA training

4. Give to others

Giving can be very rewarding and research suggests that acts of giving, and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy (Mind Charity).

It could be small acts of kindness towards others, or larger ones such as volunteering in your local community. Here are some examples of things you could try:

 

    • Offering to help someone you know with DIY or gardening
    • Spend time with someone you know has been having a difficult time or may need the support/company
    • Saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
    • Treating a friend/colleague to a drink or lunch
    • Offer to babysit for a friend who could do with some time to themselves

5. Take notice

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you.

Quite often this is referred to as ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better.

Click here to read more about mindfulness