According to Mental Health Australia, 1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness. October 10 is World Mental Health Day and this year Mental Health Australia
is encouraging all Australians to make a personal promise to improve their own mental health.
Too often we ignore our mental health and yet it is all part of our total well-being. In the past, speaking out about our mental health was taboo and many suffered in silence or worse. Finally, today we are encouraged to be open about how we feel and also to be alert to how others in our circle are feeling.
Most of us are fortunate to just have a ‘bad day’ or a ‘bad patch’ but Depression is real and should not be ignored or brushed aside.
10 easy ways to improve your Mental health
We always feel better when the sun is shining and according to the Mayo Clinic decreased sun exposure can be associated with SAD -Seasonal Affective Disorder. A type of depression which can be linked to the changes in Seasons. Even in winter, getting outside into the fresh air can help. Reduced exposure to sunlight can affect our moods.
Being active and exercising regularly helps us to not only be physically fit but also mentally healthy. The Heart Foundation’s article Physical Activity & Depression explains that research shows the positive affects of physically activitity in reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
The American Psychological Association talks about the Exercise Effect and how ‘Evidence is mounting for the benefits of exercise, yet psychologists don’t often use exercise as part of their treatment arsenal.’
Working too hard? Maybe it is time for a Mental Health Day. Taking a day off to rest and recover will help you to be more productive at work and also improve your mental well-being. You might like to read more in my previous post Why we all need a mental health day
Talk it Out
Having a coffee and a chat with a friend can sometimes help us feel more positive. Talking about our problems can sometimes make them less overwhelming. However, if we are feeling more than a little ‘down’ seeking professional help might be the answer.
Listen to Music
Put the headphones on and listen to your favourite music. Close your eyes, relax and be carried away. I find classical music soothing, however if rock is your thing go for it – whatever helps you to relax and makes you feel uplifted. You can’t beat ABBA for a good upbeat dance-a-thon around the living room!
Meditate & Breathe
Start the day with 5 – 10 minutes of meditation. Slowly inhaling and exhaling and focusing on clearing your mind will set you up for a more relaxed, less anxious state of mind.
Making time to give thanks helps us to focus on the positives in our lives.
Keep a Journal
If you are feeling down but don’t want to talk to someone, writing your thoughts into a journal helps. Many people keep a daily journal to write their thoughts and feelings and it is amazing how lighter you feel when you have transferred your thoughts – positive or negative – onto a page and out of your mind.
Do something for you
Taking the time to do something just for you will make you feel happier and more positive. Sometimes, we get so caught up with looking after others that we forget about ourselves. Having some ‘me time’ without feeling guilty can sometimes be just what you need.
According to Harvard Health, what you eat can affect how you feel.
Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics. Other studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet.
Recently in Australia we had R U Okay Day encouraging us to connect with a family member, friend, or work colleague and ask if they were okay. Sometimes, that is all that is needed – someone to take the time to care. If you know someone is struggling ask them R U OK?