Life is full of highs and lows. Investing in your mental health is important to help boost your resilience and better cope with life’s challenges when they arise! There are many simple ways to make positive changes in your life that can boost your mental resilience. Here are seven of our top ‘tools’ to get you started.
Some of these ideas may seem basic to you and come to you easily, others may seem more challenging, or be things that tend to drop off when life gets busy. Try identify two or three tools from the list below that you could focus on in the coming months, and let us know how it goes!
Tool One: Sleep
Let’s start with the basics, good sleep is so important to mental health! It sounds simple, but research indicates that for every hour of sleep you miss per night there is a 38% increase in the chance of feeling sad and hopeless the next day. We need our sleep to feel well, focused and happy. People differ in the amount of sleep they need, so work out the best sleep pattern for you, and try stick to it.
Tool Two: Regular Exercise
Similarly, regular exercise does wonders for your mental health. Remember the last time you felt that high after a great run or session at the gym? When we exercise, chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, are released which greatly lift our mood. Exercise can also help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, help you to sleep better, improve your memory and promote a positive sense of wellbeing.
Tool Three: Invest in your social network
We are not talking here about investing in the number of Friends you have on Facebook or Follows on Instagram. Spending quality time with friends and family is undisputedly essential for positive mental wellbeing. This can easily drop out of the schedule when work gets busy and it can feel easier and more comfortable to stay at home. Spending time with people you care about and having friends around you to support you when life gets difficult increases our resilience. Receiving encouragement and feeling valued and appreciated by the people you care about boosts self esteem and positive thinking, and encourages us to act in more positive ways.
Tool Four: Get out in nature and do activities you enjoy
Significant research highlights the mental health benefits of being outside in the natural environment, and doing activities we enjoy. These activities help to pull us away from primarily focusing on our selves – our needs, worries, regrets or desires for the future – and helps to put life in perspective. They can help us to be more present in the current moment, which can increase a sense of calm, reduce anxiety and improve our overall mood.
Tool Five: Practice gratitude
Focusing on the positives in life takes practice and discipline, but there is a clear link between gratitude, mental wellbeing, and happiness. Try keeping a gratitude journal, and making time in the day to actively reflect on positive experiences and moments that you feel grateful for. The more we practice gratitude, the better we become at identifying the positives in the day-to-day and the more naturally our minds will chose to dwell on those things we are most grateful for.
Tool Six: Use your strengths to help others
Research indicates that when we act in ways that help and support others, it has a beneficial effect on how we feel about ourselves. It helps us to see that we are valued for what we contribute. How great that in helping others, we also help ourselves! We all have different strengths, by identifying some of your strengths, and using them to serve the community around you, you can create meaning and purpose in life that will contribute to positive mental wellbeing.
Tip Seven: Get help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. It’s important to seek out professional help when you need it. Mental health professionals use evidence-based methods to help you understand the way your thoughts, feelings and behaviour interact. They can give you practical and manageable tools to help you think and feel better.
Radiant helps you to find the mental health support that is right for you. If you’re interested in finding a mental health professional today, visit www.myradiant.com.au.