We all have times in our lives where we experience ups and downs, and it’s normal to experience a different range of emotions during difficult times. According to recent research by National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace, mental health is the number one issue young Australians are currently facing, with around 32 per cent reporting high to very high levels of psychological distress.
Learning to face challenges and resolve difficulties can help boost our mental wellbeing – but how can we achieve this?
Today, PeoplePlus National Allied Health Manager Deborah Flower is sharing some top tips for taking care of your mental health.
Laugh a lot
The old saying “Laughter is the best medicine” has an element of truth to it. Laughter has therapeutic properties, and every time we laugh, our brain releases a neurochemical called dopamine – this chemical makes us feel happy.
Make a move
Physical exercise can reduce symptoms of mental illness such as low-level stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed, the body releases hormones such as cortisol, and when cortisol is high, our stress levels remain high.
Exercise is a great way to improve mental health and wellbeing by releasing brain chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins that counteract stress-related hormones like cortisol. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise three times per week is a simple way to reduce stress-related hormones.
Every mouthful of food and drink we ingest affects our mental health. The effects are small, but implementing a healthier diet can add up and improve general wellbeing.
Certain types of diets can help people manage depression, such as foods rich in vitamin B, magnesium, vitamin D3, and omega-3s. Having an unhealthy diet leads to an unhealthy gut and an unhealthy gut has been linked to depression – so healthy eating is a must for managing depression.
Take a deep breath
Relaxed breathing can help us to manage anxiety and stress.
Relaxed breathing is not deep breathing like mediation – rather, it involves slowing your breathing and lowering your heart rate. An example of this could be breathing in for 4 counts, holding for 2 counts and breathing out for 4 counts – do this over a period of 2-5 minutes when you’re feeling anxious, nervous or stressed.
Attitude of gratitude
Quite often when life becomes busy and stressful, we take things for granted. We forget to appreciate what we have and we lose sight of the importance of our relationships which can impact our happiness levels. Being grateful can help us to enjoy life by appreciating the good things, nurturing our relationships and enjoying our possessions, interests and hobbies. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to practice reflecting on the things that you have, the people in your life and why you appreciate them.
Kick your negative thinking
Our negative thoughts can impact on how we feel, think, behave and react to events. Giving ourselves permission to challenge these thoughts can significantly improve our mental health. You can increase positive thinking by saying to yourself “I choose to be happy today”, or it could be as simple as changing one word in your thought process: “Can’t” becomes “Can” when we remove the t.
As part of our services to support job seekers find meaningful and sustainable work, PeoplePlus provides a range of health and social care services designed to help you overcome barriers to work.
Our team also understands the positive impact that mental wellbeing has on your staff and how it affects your business, which is why we provide targeted support dependent on the needs of your organisation.
To find out more about our Allied Health Services, contact us today on 1800 773 338 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org