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Five ways to take care of your mental health: guest blog by Leeds Mind

The experts at Leeds Mind recommend five ways to take care of your mental health, with some simple things you can do day to day that can amount to good mental (and physical!) health

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it, and we need to take care of it.

Good mental health means being able to think, feel and react in the ways you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health, you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as debilitating as a physical illness, or even worse.

1 in 4 people experience mental health difficulties at some point in their lives. Whether that be depression, anxiety, stress, self-harm, personality disorder, bereavement or any other negative mental health experience, Leeds Mind is there for you.

The work at Leeds Mind aims to help people build on their strengths, overcome obstacles and become more in control of their lives. They support the people of Leeds to discover their own resources to ‘recover’ from periods of poor mental health and to live life independently with their mental health condition.

Five key ways to take care of your mental health:

CONNECT

There is strong evidence that indicates feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection:

  • Speak to someone new
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them
BE ACTIVE

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting wellbeing. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities such as walking can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise. Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

TAKE NOTICE

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities and make positive choices based on your own values and motivations. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Visit a new place for lunch
LEARN

Continued learning throughout life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Read the news or a book (The Wellington Place book club meets once a month!)
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
GIVE

Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness shows that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

To find out more about any of the services Leeds Mind provide, or how you can get involved, click here to visit their website.