5 Ways to Mental Wellbeing12th May 2021
In so many walks of life the simplest approaches are the most effective, and that’s certainly true when it comes to maintaining good mental health and wellbeing. The evidence suggests that the so-called Five Ways to Mental Wellbeing are positive strategies we can all incorporate into our daily lives.1 The great thing about them is that you can implement them on your own, with your family or within your wider community. See how many you can work into your routine...
Loneliness can increase the risk of mental health problems. Where possible, try to ensure you remain connected with family, friends, colleagues and other members of your support network. Whether you see people face to face, chat online, pick up the phone or post a letter, staying connected allows you to share ideas, concerns or worries, and to offer or receive support. If you’re worried that your mental health is deteriorating and you need support from health care services, let someone know - and if you’re concerned about someone else, encourage them to seek support. Find out more about the support available here.
- Keep Active
Physical activity is good for your mental health, and even the smallest amount can make a difference if you do it in a way that’s safe and right for you. Green space is also good for you, particularly for reducing stress, so getting out for a walk in the park or a ramble in the countryside is a simple stress-buster. Support your physical activity by eating a healthy, balanced diet, staying hydrated and maintaining self-care. On which note, prioritise sleep and you’ll feel the mental health benefits as well as promoting a more effective immune system.
- Take Notice
When you’re going through challenging times, your thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to try to focus on being present and in the moment. Allowing time to recognise, understand and process your thoughts and feelings can have a positive impact on your mental health. Practising mindfulness or meditation or perhaps using an app, can enable you to take your mind off negative thoughts. Keeping perspective is also important, particularly if you find social media and world news anxiety-inducing. Gathering information from reliable sources can help, as can switching off notifications on your phone.
- Keep Learning
Establishing structure and routine alongside taking up new hobbies, rediscovering old interests, or setting yourself small goals to achieve can have a positive impact on your mental health. Try to incorporate stimulating activities into your daily routine, even if it’s just simple things like completing a crossword, reading a book, listening to podcasts, cooking or working through your ‘to do’ list. There are also lots of fun brain-training activities available online that you can complete on your own or with friends to get the competition going.
The smallest acts of kindness really can make a difference to your state of mind. Giving to others makes other people feel good as well as you, creating positive feelings and a sense of self-worth and value. Appreciation and gratitude are also important, as they help you to focus on what you have, rather than what you don’t have.
Think about someone you know who’s done something you appreciate and let them know. Give them a call, write them letter, send them an email or message them. If you’re not able to do this, just think about someone who’s done something nice for you, and mentally thank them. At the end of each day, no matter how hard it may feel and no matter how small they may be, think about and write down three positive things about your day.
Kindness, appreciation and gratitude give us hope and help us to limit negative thoughts, which can otherwise become all-consuming. Ultimately, they enable us to feel positive emotions and increase our ability to cope with adversity.
Dr Libby Artingstall & Dr Sile McDaid, Co-Founders Wellbeing Through Sport
- Government Office for Science. (2008) Five wyas to mental wellbeing. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing