Let’s face it – we live in a stressful world. Our lifestyle, thoughts, feelings, choices and behaviour affect our mental health and overall wellbeing, too. Although we often can’t change our external circumstances, we can change how we respond to them and improve our overall mental state.
What little tips and tricks for looking after your mental health can you incorporate into your everyday life? Whether you’re at work, at home, out and about, and even on public transport – there are subtle, simple things you can do to make you feel better, be better – and get better results.
A morning meditation routine makes all the difference to your state of mind. Guided meditations talk you through and are easy to find online. Or simply focus inwards, breathing calmly, counting your breaths and relaxing.
Set an alarm if you’re afraid of losing track of time. No time? Believe me, spend 2-5 minutes in meditation and you’ll feel as if you’ve gained time.
Depression is often caused by the past, and anxiety is usually worrying about the future. Instead, live fully in the present, and enjoy it. Mindfulness is about filling all your senses with the ‘now’ – whether it’s concentrating on relaxing your body and the sensation of your breathing (count your breaths, and there’s nothing else), or with all the feelings, smells, sounds and sights around you.
Noticing all of these leaves you with no room for worries or anxiety. Just fill your mind with the pleasure of living in the now.
Positively – say what you want
Our mind cannot compute negatives. If I tell you ‘Don’t think of a blue tree…’ – what happens? A blue tree is already there, in your head. If you tell yourself, ‘Don’t worry’ – all your mind hears is ‘worry’.
Instead of saying what you don’t want, say what you DO want – phrased positively, like: ‘Calm; relaxation; we’ll find a way; there will be an answer,’ etc.
Focusing on problems keeps you stuck in negativity. Some people’s thoughts or words are habitually negative – full of things like: ‘not’, ‘never’, ‘don’t’, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible.’ Notice when you’re being negative and take control. Instead of talking about what you DON’T want, or can’t do, say what it is that you want, or can do, and what is possible.
This helps you to create solutions. Changing your mindset will feel awkward at first – after all, you may be changing the habits of a lifetime – but it will pay dividends. To supercharge your positivity, make a gratitude list of all the things you have in life to be grateful for – like health, sunshine, friends, eyesight, a home…
Positively – imagining
Do you worry about things in the future? Anxiety is the only emotion we feel about something that hasn’t even happened. If we can create a fantasy of bad things in the future that make us feel bad in the present – why not use our incredible fortune-telling powers to create some great outcomes?
Visualise good things happening, positive results, great success. Good feelings make you confident in achieving good results.
Exercise and nutrition
Get the blood pumping to oxygenate your vital organs, and speed those feel-good endorphins through your system. Drink plenty of water, too – dehydration mimics depression and other illnesses.
Removing sugars, caffeine and processed foods from your diet, and eating whole foods will give you a healthy body as well as a healthy mind, too.