Did you know that 1 in 4 people around the world will experience mental health problems in their lifetime? Low mental wellbeing can be caused by many things – from personal struggles to financial worries, the list goes on. And in times of global difficulty, where many are under more stress than usual, mental resiliency can suffer.
You may not be able to put your finger on what’s impacting your mental health, but there are several actions you can take to balance your state of mind. Of course, these tips aren’t all-encompassing, but here’s our advice for taking your first steps towards improving your mental wellbeing.
Tip #1: Focus on the here and now
When pressure starts to build up and you’re experiencing a sense of uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But with the future and other people’s actions out of your control, it’s important to focus on the here and now. Although this isn’t always easy, living in the present will help you to release anxiety attached to the future.
Tip #2: Learn a new skill
Keeping your mind busy will help to calm your thoughts, especially if you have more free time on your hands than usual. A great way to take your focus away from negative thoughts is learning a new skill.
Have you ever thought about painting? Maybe you’re a budding chef or a secret exercise-enthusiast? Whatever you decide to do, discover something you enjoy doing and do more of it.
Tip #3: Keep in touch and make new connections
No matter how you’re feeling right now, it’s important to remember these feelings aren’t permanent, and you don’t have to go through this on your own. Whether you reach out to your friends, family, classmates or colleagues, a chat and a cup of tea can make a world of difference.
But it also helps to make new connections. Maybe there’s an online support group you’ve found where you can speak to people who understand how you’re feeling, or an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. You might just discover a new support system by developing a new connection.
Tip #4: Set realistic goals
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. When it comes to improving your mental wellbeing, it isn’t a race. Although it’s helpful to look forward, you need to be realistic. Think about what you want to achieve and take it slow.
Draw up a calendar and set small goals to begin with – whether that’s trying a new recipe or learning to count to 100 in a foreign language, these little ‘wins’ might help you feel more positive about yourself. Then, as your confidence grows, your goals can grow too – but make sure they’re always realistic and achievable.
Tip #5: Track your achievements
Grab a fresh notebook or even the back of an envelope and begin keeping track of your achievements, no matter how small. Having a physical list of your ‘wins’ will help to focus and motivate you, as well as serving as a reminder of all you’ve achieved.
You may also find it beneficial to keep a mood diary. Tracking your mood will help you to identify what positively and negatively affects your wellbeing. Then, you can then use this information to minimise or remove any negative associations.
Put yourself first and seek help
Being proactive is important, but it’s vital to be realistic and to take a moment to breathe. Put yourself first and focus on the things that make you happy – this will help you to calm your mind.
Make sure to remind yourself that you aren’t alone in this. Outside of your personal network there are numerous emotional support charities, which you can contact online or by telephone. Night or day, there's always someone you can talk to.