What is mental health?
Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with things that are thrown their way in everyday life. Good mental health is therefore fundamental for human wellbeing and it should be cared for at all ages of life. It is how we maintain positive relationships, cope with the different challenges life throws at it that helps with productivity. Over the course of your life, you may experience mental health problems, which can affect your mood, behaviour and how you think. A number of factors will contribute to your mental health which include:
- Biological factors e.g. your genes or your brain chemistry
- Life experience e.g. traumatic experience you have been through
- Family history e.g. if someone you’re related to has mental health problems
Mental health vs physical health
Despite the fact that 1 in 4 people will develop mental health conditions during their lifetime, many people do not make it a priority in comparison to their physical health. If someone is experiencing ongoing physical pain, they will book in to see their GP or may even go to A&E if the symptoms get worse. Physical health and mental health are very closely interconnected, if you’re having problems with your physical health, your mental health will often take a toll and vice versa. If we all work on our mental health, it will allow us to build strength and resilience to problems that are thrown our way, allowing us to bounce back easily. If you focus on your mental health, you might find it easier to balance your work life, social life and personal life leaving you feeling more in control and overall happy. Here are a few examples of things you can do in your everyday life to make your mental health a priority.
7 ways to make your mental health a priority
1. Learn to say no
If you are asked to do something extra at work or you're asked to go on a weekend trip away with friends, but you feel like it's more than you can cope with right now, don’t be afraid to say no. If you overstretch yourself in either your social or work life, it can negatively affect your wellbeing, just remember it is ok to put yourself first.
2. Connect with others
Socialising with friends and family is a very healthy and positive activity you should try to do regularly. Remember, if you don’t feel like seeing them in person - it is essential you stay in touch via the phone or by texting them, until you feel ready to catch up with them. Research has shown that socialising with loved ones is just as important as having a balanced diet and a good night's sleep.
3. Giving back
If you have some spare time or you would like to get involved in something new, helping your community or volunteering for a charity can have significant benefits for your mental health. When we help others, it will often leave us feeling good as well. A few different ideas could be volunteering at a charity shop for a few hours a week, helping your family or friends or family with a DIY task they need help with or simply helping out an elderly neighbour who might need help with their food shop. Anything goes really!
4. Learn to manage stress
If you’re having trouble winding down at the end of the day and you feel like your brain is still going at 100 mph, finding a relaxing activity you can take part in such as yoga or meditation can really help to shut your mind off from your busy life. If you have never tried meditation before, Morphée, our relaxation and meditation device contains 210 guided sessions for you to enjoy. Each session lasts between 8 and 20 minutes and can be done when you get home from work or just before you go to sleep. With Morphée, you will have a 100-night time trial to test whether it makes a difference to overall well being.
5. Eat to beat the stress
Is anyone else here a stress eater? When we are feeling stressed, it can be very tempting to devour everything in the cupboards or head over to our phones and order anything we fancy on Deliveroo. Whilst it might seem like a good idea at the time, what you eat does have an effect on the brain. Multiple studies have found that people who have a diet high in refined sugars often have a higher chance of suffering with mood disorders such as depression. Whereas food like fruit and vegetables can synthesise serotonin which controls our mood, leaving us feeling happier.
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6. Make time for fun
It is always exciting to have fun things in the calendar - whether that’s days out to a new city you have never been to before or a coffee date with a family member. Getting out of the house and enjoining yourself with whatever that may be can help boost your happiness and reduce your stress levels as well. Meeting up with your friends or family doesn’t even have to cost a penny - now the weather is picking up day trips to the sea side and picnics in the park are great activities to do with your loved ones on a budget.
7. Normalise experiences
Speaking out about your experiences with mental health and the challenges you have faced with someone you feel comfortable with can help you to identify triggers that cause you high levels of stress that might be contributing negatively to your mental health. Once you have found the triggers that you feel contributes negatively to your mental health, you can then put in place systems to help you through these times.
Overall, allocating time out of your day or week to prioritise your mental health will help with your well-being and will bring around a positive feeling. When your mental health is doing well, you might find that other aspects of your life are also going well such as your relationships with your family and friends and even in your work life too.