Mental health is made up of our emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing. Maintaining positive mental health can be a challenge for anyone, particularly in the fast-paced world that we live in. These six tips can help you to improve your mood, become more resilient and increase your overall health and wellbeing.
1. Incorporate Movement
Physical exercise can help to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. When we are stressed or anxious our body releases stress-related hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol levels are high in our blood, our stress and anxiety levels remain high. Exercise is a great way to improve mental health and wellbeing. When we exercise our brain releases chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins that can counteract stress-related hormones. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise three times per week is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
If you don’t like the word exercise, think of creating more activity that involves physical movement throughout your day such as taking the stairs, doing five squats while making a cup of tea, walking on the spot for five minutes every hour – over the course of the day these physical movements will accumulate and improve overall health and wellbeing.
2. Healthy Diet
What we put in our body can directly impact our mental health and mood. Research has shown that having a balanced and nutritious diet can improve mood – this is known as the gut-brain interaction. For example, certain types of food can help people manage depression, such foods are rich in vitamin B, magnesium, vitamin D3, and omega-3’s (Johnson, 2019).
3. Relaxed Breathing
Relaxed breathing can help us to manage anxiety and stress. Relaxed breathing is not deep breathing like meditation. Relaxed breathing involves slowing your breathing rate down. For instance, breathing in slowly for four counts, holding for two counts and breathing out slowly for four counts – do this over a period of 2-5 minutes when feeling anxious, nervous, or stressed. Another technique is Box Breathing. This short video below demonstrates how Box Breathing works and the benefits for our mental health and overall wellbeing.
4. Practice Gratitude
Life can often become busy and stressful. Moving from one task to the next, one event to another. This may lead us to not being present in the moment and we may fall into a pattern of taking things for granted or stop appreciating the people or things that we value. When we take things for granted it can place constraints on our ability to experience happiness. Being grateful for a few minutes every day can help us to enjoy life, appreciate the small things, nurture our relationships, and enjoy the things that we value. Keeping a gratitude journal is a way to practice reflecting on the things that you have, the people in your life and why you appreciate it/them, or if journaling isn’t your thing, write down three things that you were grateful for that day prior to going to sleep.
5. Challenge Unhealthy Thinking
Unhealthy thinking can impact on how we feel, think, behave and react to events, people, or things in our life. Giving ourselves permission to challenge or reframe our unhealthy thinking can significantly improve our mental health. It can be as simple as changing a word: Can’t can become CAN by removing the “'t” (Unhelpful Thinking Styles, n.d.).
There are simple and easy strategies that we can adopt to help challenge our unhealthy thinking. This could include externalizing your thoughts by writing them down. When we do this, we can see the thought through an objective lens which helps to reduce the emotion that is connected to the thought. This process can reduce the power, impact, and influence of the thought. This short video will give you more strategies.
6. Lots of Laughter
Laughter is the shock absorber that softens the bumps of life!
Laughter can be very therapeutic and beneficial to your mental health. Every time we laugh, our brain releases a neurochemical called dopamine – this chemical makes us feel happy and calm. Don’t underestimate the power of laughter!
About Asuria Wellbeing Services
Asuria provides a range of wellbeing services to empower you with the knowledge, tools, and skills to help you get and keep a job. The Asuria Wellbeing Specialist Team are highly trained, registered allied health professionals, including psychologists, social workers and counsellors. We will support you every step of the way, by conducting evidence-based assessments and delivering counselling interventions if you are having trouble finding or keeping a job.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Asuria’s Wellbeing Specialist services, call 1800 773 338 or visit our website.
Written by Deborah Flower, Psychologist – Asuria National Wellbeing Manager
Deborah Flower works in our Wellbeing Specialist Team as the National Wellbeing Manager to provide Allied Health services through her experience as a dedicated psychologist.
Bringing years of experience to her role within Asuria, Deborah and her team work to provide wellbeing support to our clients.