The Art of Listening

The Art of Listening

 6 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health

6 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health

 This month is Mental Health Awareness month. Many people are thinking about their own mental health or how to support the mental wellbeing of those around them. Maybe a family member or a friend come to mind. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem.

Genes, negative experiences, life's challenges, physical conditions or hormone imbalances can substantially impact mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

When sharing their experience some people say:

“ I  can't stop feeling anxious! ”

“ Things are not going to work out...”

“ I try to take one day at a time but depression comes and stays for days, sometimes weeks.” 

 Do you relate to this?  If yes, you are not alone. 

But… what is mental health? 

The Mental Health Foundation describes it as: 

“… how we are feeling inside, how we are emotionally. It’s a bit like internal weather.”

I would  add that it involves how we think.  So…  how are you doing today? 

It is normal to have rainy and cloudy days. We are human. It’s when these days become too frequent that a problem arises. The good news is that there are small practices that when applied regularly and consistently have a positive impact on mental heath.  Keep reading to find out  what they are.

  1. Nutrition. As body and mind are connected paying attention to how we nourish our cells can make a considerable difference to mental health. Yes, the brain also eats and our cells need a steady supply of energy and nutrients to stay nourished. Since our body composition is about 70% of water, keeping hydrated throughout the day improves brain function and mental health. 
  2. Movement. Moving the body in a way that is pleasurable is beneficial both physically and mentally.  Aim to move for health instead of beauty standards. Moving for the right motive has a greater positive impact on mental wellbeing. For example, choosing movement that is enjoyable releases "feel- good" endorphins adding in dopamine - a natural mood booster. 
  3. Mindful breathing. A simple 60 second breathing exercise can quite quickly reduce stress levels. I would like to invite you to try it for yourself! Make sure you are in a comfortable position and take a deep diaphragm breath in through your nose. Now notice the cold air moving through your nostrils. Hold for a few seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth. Then focus your attention to the warm air moving out. How does it feel ? Repeat 5 times or keep going until you feel calm. 

       4.  Sleep. This sounds obvious. Yet there are many people who are in a constant state of sleep deprivation. Having a good night sleep usually between 7-9 hours helps reset the nervous system. The best time for restorative sleep is before midnight. This is when we produce most melatonin, a sleep hormone. Staying awake after that will affect sleep patterns and impacting mental wellbeing. 

5. Fresh air & nature. Exposing yourself  to fresh air and spending time in nature is known to relieve stress and anxiety. Oxygen affects serotonin and this contributes for feeling more relaxed and happier. Make sure you get your daily dose. This could include sitting in the garden, walking home via your local park, visiting woodlands or the seaside if it is nearby. 

6.  Sunlight. If you work from home or in an office consider spending 20 minutes in the daylight in support of your mental health. Sunlight increases vitamin D production and serotonin. This helps to boost mood and focus. 

These practices sound obvious and simple  but if you are finding life difficult right now, chances are that some of these things may be missing from your routine. 

If you would like to talk to a professional for further support, let's see how you we could work together by contacting me on