Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Good mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Our mental health is as important as our physical health.
Another way to think about mental health is like thinking about the weather. As the seasons change, the weather does too.
Bright and sunny days make us happy, and we want to do things and go outdoors. But, on other days, the weather can change to darker, rainy days, where you don’t feel like leaving the house.
Like the weather, your mental health can go through periods of positive and bright bursts of energy, and it can also dip and drag you down a darker road. You may feel tired and lack the motivation or energy to do the simplest things, like getting out of bed or moving on with your day.
Many people are reluctant to talk about their feelings and their mental health. There is still a stigma around it. Ironically, not sharing our feelings with anyone, or even knowing what they are, can make our mental health worse. Talking can help find hope again and feel closer to other people.
- Connecting with others can help us feel close to people and valued for who we are. Being social means different things for different people. You might prefer being in a calm, quieter situation with one other person, or you might like being in big groups. You might like to connect with people online, or you might enjoy phone calls or sending letters.
- Many people find that physical activity helps them maintain positive mental health. This does not have to mean running marathons or training every day at the gym. There are lots of different things you can do to be a bit more active. Studies have shown that getting active can help you sleep better, create happier moods, and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and racing thoughts.
- Reminding yourself to take notice can help you be aware of how you’re feeling. It can help you understand what triggers your feelings of stress or anxiety. Some studies have shown that ‘savoring the moment’ can also help you to feel more positive about your life and take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.
- We’re always learning new things and often without realizing it. Feeling like you’re learning and developing can boost your self-esteem. Sometimes, setting goals can help you feel more productive and more in control of your life.
- There’s been lots of research about the effects of participating in social and community life. Some studies have shown that people who help others are likelier to rate themselves as happy. Start volunteering today!
Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. What is it? Mindfulness involves paying attention to what is happening inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
It’s easy to start noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with how our bodies are feeling and end up living in our heads. Caught up in our thoughts without noticing how those thoughts drive our emotions and behavior.
An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means paying attention to the present moment’s sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.
That might be something as simple as the feeling of a banister as we walk upstairs.
Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen from moment to moment.