Health & Wellness

World Mental Health Day -10 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health TODAY!

October 5, 2016

10 ways to improve your mental health

 

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

Sunshine

sunshine

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.

Exercise

Steptember

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.’

Time Out

time outWorking 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

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

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

Midlife Exercise and Diet

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.

Gratitude

thankful

Making time to give thanks helps us to focus on the positives in our lives.

Keep a Journal

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

have a massage

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.

Eat Healthy

healthy food

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.

If you are feeling depressed take a step forward by seeking professional help.Click To Tweet

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?

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25 Comments

  • Reply Carolann October 5, 2016 at 11:14

    This post has so much valuable information in it. Mental health is a topic that’s not discussed nearly enough. I love all of your advice it’s so right on! Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:22

      Thanks Carolann, I’ll be devoting my newsletter next week to Mental Health and publishing more relevant posts during the week.

  • Reply Carol Cassara October 6, 2016 at 04:33

    I am a big believer in self-help. Love all the suggestions here, and they work.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:22

      I know it is hard for some. I can fall into a ‘down mood’ I wouldn’t say full on depression but even my mood is sometimes difficult to lift. Being able to reach out for help and support is so important.

  • Reply Tammy October 6, 2016 at 05:03

    I have come to embrace the idea of taking care of me. It only took me 55+ years to learn it. Love all the suggestions here. I truly need to work on eating healthy and have never been able to master the meditation gig. Everything else, I got it down pat!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:23

      Good for you Tammy! Yes meditation is something I struggle with – not easy to clear my mind but I have all the others in place so that’s a good thing. Like you it took me until my 50s to start looking after me.

  • Reply Tamara Warner Minton October 6, 2016 at 05:53

    All of these are spot on! I love the energy exercising gives me, and I am vegetarian, and watching every bite so I don’t eat much cholesterol!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:24

      I love the buzz from exercise too Tam. I wish others who didn’t exercise could feel it. Even 10 minutes of walking makes you feel so much better in the body and mind.

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski October 6, 2016 at 06:12

    Everything you posted is spot on. Diet and exercise can do wonders for depression!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:24

      Thanks Cathy!

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan October 6, 2016 at 06:19

    What a great post! I am dealing with depression now and all of these tips are right on and exactly what I try to do everyday so I can quickly get back to being myself.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:27

      Oh I do hope you are okay Doreen. I find I get low sometimes and it is difficult to pull ourselves out of it. I find these tips really do work. I’ll be devoting next week to mental health and ways we can all help and support each other.

  • Reply Nancy Hill October 6, 2016 at 06:48

    Ultimately we are, and must be, our own best advocates and friends. Great article!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 6, 2016 at 09:25

      Thanks Nancy. Sometimes it is hard to pull ourselves out of a low state of mind or we find it difficult to ask for help. Once we do though a weight is lifted that is for sure.

  • Reply Leanne October 6, 2016 at 10:48

    Some great suggestions Sue – and the pictures that went with them were so lovely. The pics alone boosted my happiness level! Great to see mental health being advocated so well.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 10, 2016 at 16:36

      Thanks Leanne I’m so glad the pics gave you a boost.

  • Reply Jennifer October 6, 2016 at 12:09

    I am all about self-care. Life can be hard and if we don’t learn how to put ourselves first, then we have the mental and emotional framework needed to handle life.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 10, 2016 at 16:37

      Totally agree Jennifer – we need to have some time to ourselves to refresh and recharge.

  • Reply Shelley zurek October 6, 2016 at 14:19

    Add to this list, have a doctor and/or Pharmacist check your meds. So many mental issues are related to the crazy ass drugs that people are taking.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 10, 2016 at 17:39

      That is a great point Shelley thanks!

  • Reply Sizzling Towards 60 Focus on Midlife Mental Health - Sizzling Towards Sixty October 9, 2016 at 11:12

    […] You might like to start with 10 Ways you Can Improve your Mental Health Today! […]

  • Reply Rosemond October 13, 2016 at 04:23

    Sharing this post and also sending in a private message to someone who I know is struggling with anxiety and depression. Exercise, I’ve found, is crucial to maintaining mental health. I also take medication for anxiety and depression, plus therapy, but exercise for me must be a piece of the puzzle.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 14, 2016 at 06:06

      Hi Rosie thank you so much for sharing and I hope it brings some comfort to your friend. I can’t live without exercise. Apart from the physical benefits, the benefits to my mental health are priceless. If I’m upset, stressed or anxious I just go for a walk or a run and feel so much better afterwards. Take care of yourself and you seem to have a good Mental Health plan in place.

  • Reply Margaretha Montagu October 13, 2016 at 05:06

    All very useful suggestions. My favourite is the gratitude one – nothing lifts my mood as much as remembering all the things I have that I am grateful for.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 14, 2016 at 06:10

      Exactly Margaretha, however sometimes life gets in the way and we forget how lucky we are.

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