11 Most Effective Ways for People to Protect Their Mental Health- A Guide by The Mental Health Foundation.

(image: Mental Health Foundation)

The 11 most effective ways for people to protect their mental health are revealed in a guide launched today by the Mental Health Foundation. 

The free guide, Our Best Mental Health Tips is based on the Foundation’s own ground-breaking study on what protects people from common problems such as anxiety and depression.  

The innovative study on which the new guide is based combined existing evidence about how we can protect our mental health with experts’ views, alongside the opinions of members of the public. 

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, who led the research and is a Director of the Foundation, said: ‘Our new guide encourages us to take care of the fundamentals of life – our relationships, our experiences, our bodies and our finances.  

The evidence shows that this is far more likely to keep us mentally healthy than the gimmicks and miracle cures promoted by some in the ‘wellness’ industry, who prey on our vulnerability. 

The truth is, there are no quick fixes for good mental or physical health. What works is developing healthy habits in our daily lives, that help us to feel OK and able to cope with everything. 

For example, in our new guide we talk about getting more from our sleep, learning to understand and manage our feelings, planning things to look forward to and getting help with money problems.’ 

The full list of mental health-promoting actions suggested by the new guide is as follows: 

  • Get closer to nature 
  • Learn to understand and manage your feelings 
  • Talk to someone you trust for support 
  • Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings 
  • Try to make the most of your money and get help with problem debts 
  • Get more from your sleep 
  • Be kind and help create a better world 
  • Keep moving 
  • Eat healthy food
  • Be curious and open-minded to new experiences 
  • Plan things to look forward to 

Most members of the public involved in the study had experienced their own, or family members’ problems with mental health, so had the benefit of hindsight when assessing what helps most with prevention.  

The study was published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Health Promotion

The new guide (and the research on which it is based) acknowledges that people may be unable to follow some of its suggestions, for instance because the place they live makes it impossible to sleep well or spend time close to nature. 

Dr Kousoulis added: ‘Enjoying good mental health should be an equally accessible goal for all of us, yet it is often out of reach for many. Government action is needed to create the circumstances that solve problems that are beyond individuals’ reach, and help prevent people having problems with mental health in the first place.’ 

You can download the new guide free of charge from the Mental Health Foundation website. You can also order hard copies by post, with a small charge.

About the Mental Health Foundation   

Our vision is of good mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems. We drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk. The Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week www.mentalhealth.org.uk  

This is a non sponsored article written by the Mental Health Foundation.

Self Care Activities to do for Those Who Love to Be Alone: by Regina Thomas

My Image Source: Envato 

Finding ways to spend a little time with just yourself without worrying about the stress of what others are needing of you can be a little challenging at times. There are many ways that you and others can enjoy a few hours of solitude with different activities for those who like to be alone.

There are also plenty of reasons why you may want to enjoy a private retreat where you have your own space to unwind. Perhaps you are just too much of a workaholic or you find your days too hectic. Or perhaps you’re not ready to settle into a committed relationship yet. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to get some time alone.

A Little Private Getaway

You can enjoy your own space without having to make other arrangements to do so, such as renting a quiet place to stay. You can do this at times when you feel most comfortable and if you don’t mind a short nap in between activities. Of course, you can also find homes that are full of amenities that will provide everything you need to relax.

Get Out in Nature

You can take part in a variety of activities such as yoga or other types of exercise that allow you to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. Or you might enjoy fishing, hiking, boating, or swimming. Many people even find ways to get involved in activities like taking hikes around the lake, camping out in the woods, or enjoying the ocean.

Whether it be camping in Pennsylvania or enjoying the sunset on Cannon Beach by yourself. Being in nature can also just improve your mental health and lessen the distractions of everyday life for a little while. 

Spend Some Time at Home

If you have children, you might find it easier to relax and have your own space. Many parents find it difficult to leave their kids at home alone so they have to choose ways to make sure that they can be left alone. But, many other times, you’ll be able to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are doing the best you can to keep your family safe and healthy.

In addition, you can also find a way to relax by watching television. A lot of families have a set schedule for watching television and it’s a common practice to have each member of the family to watch a different show during the day while relaxing in the same room. Of course, there’s no set amount of TV you can watch but in some cases, you might find a favorite show to watch on weekends so that you and others can enjoy some quality time together.

It’s a good idea to have a book nearby as well. Reading can help you unwind and allow you to feel like you are part of a world where nothing is really important. Whether you are reading a good book about nature, history, psychology, romance, or any other subject, you can learn a lot of valuable things from reading, while keeping yourself busy.

Take That Time for Yourself

It can be exciting to explore different activities for those who like to be alone. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget how great it feels to be able to just sit back and enjoy the fresh air and let it all pass you by. You don’t have to always have to be an active person to enjoy the quiet and solitude of a retreat – simply taking the time to focus and read your favorite books can be an enjoyable way to relax in the privacy of your own home.

These are just a few ideas to think about when it comes to activities for those who like to be alone. By spending some time doing different things that you enjoy, you can make sure that your mental health and self love are at an all time high.

5 Ways that Spending More Time Outdoors Can Improve Your Mental Health: by Katherine Myers

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(image: Shutterstock)

Self-care is a topic that often comes up when discussing mental health. Whilst taking a bath or reading a good book might provide a short term boost to your mood, a bit of self-care will rarely provide long-lasting improvements to your state of mind. 

Spending time in nature is one of the most effective ways of boosting your mental health. In fact, the benefits of the outdoors for your mental wellbeing have been scientifically proven in a range of different studies. Something to consider if you’ve been suffering from consistent low mood recently is whether you’ve been spending enough time outdoors. 

Especially during the winter months, it’s easy to miss the few hours of daylight whilst in the office or at school. It may not seem like a big deal, however, not getting enough sunlight exposure can be very detrimental to your mental health and over time, you will start to feel the effects. Some common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, sore bones and muscles and low mood.

Simply getting outdoors for a bit of time every day can have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Here are just some of the ways you’ll see your mental health improve by spending more time outside.

You’ll Feel More Creative

Creativity is often sparked by putting yourself in unfamiliar environments, which is the perfect excuse to get outside the next time you find yourself in a creative rut! Being in the outdoors is a great way to get away from other distractions to your creative process such as TV or social media, so you can properly focus on coming up with those brilliant ideas! In fact, one scientific study showed that being immersed in nature can boost your creative problem-solving abilities by 50%. 

Better Concentration

If you are someone who tends to have your head in the clouds, getting outdoors is a brilliant way to improve your concentration. Science has shown that the effects of a natural environment are huge for concentration. In fact, spending as little  as 20 minutes in residential parks has been proven to help ADHD children focus. 

If you’re ever struggling to concentration on studying or work, maybe consider taking your work outside and see whether it’s easier to get your head down. Not only will there be fewer distractions, but the calming effect of your environment will put you in a more positive state of mind.

Better Memory

Our brains are very receptive to the natural environment, making it easier for us to memorise information. One scientific study showed that participants in a memory assessment who had been in nature prior to taking the test performed 20% better than those who hadn’t. The next time you have a big test coming up or need to memorise something important, spending some time outdoors could be a great way to focus your mind. You’ll be surprised by how much it helps!

Reduces Stress Levels

Being in a stressful environment will increase your blood pressure, anxiety and stress whilst being in a peaceful environment ha the reverse effect. For this reason, a natural setting such as a forest, the beach or park is one of the best places to relax because it completely removes you from the distractions of modern society. Being in nature lowers your blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Studies have shown that even just a view of nature is often linked to lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction. 

Regular Sleeping Pattern

We need natural light and darkness to regulate our circadian rhythm (natural waking and sleeping patterns). Using our phones and computers exposes us to artificial light components that interfere with our ability to sleep. Getting a good night of sleep is critical for your mental health and factors such as stress can quickly make it difficult to maintain a good sleeping pattern. Spending time in nature is the best way to reset your natural circadian rhythm and get a better night of sleep.

If you’ve been feeling down or anxious, it can be even more difficult than normal to find the motivation to get outside. However, here are a few ways that you can fit some time in nature into your schedule without making too much effort. We promise it will make a huge difference!

  • Take a walk on your lunch break
  • Get out for a run in the morning
  • Go hiking with friends
  • Take a book to your local park
  • Try and walk to work or school if you can
  • Try and spend your day in a room with lots of natural light or large windows 
  • Try and incorporate more plants into your living space

This contributed post was written by freelance writer Katherine Myers.