Small Things That Help Peoples Mental Health
Mental health affects us all in different ways. Even two people with the same disorder will have slightly different stories about how it affects them on a daily basis. When you look at mental health as a whole there are a few things which people say help: rest, medication, therapy, eating well and exercise. But there are many things people do on their own which they find helpful to their mental health.
For me with my mental health I have a few things I do to help with my lows and my obsessions. I do try and eat well but I don't stop myself having some sweet treats here and there because honestly, it makes me feel better. I try and get myself involved in something deep, so that could be writing a big blog post, painting random images or reading about something historical. I find if I have something to really focus on I can keep a lot of my PTSD and OCD at bay. I try and create a space within my flat that is super cosy and clear from mess for me to go to when the hard times hit to chill and try and have a little down time. I always try and get our the house for the day at least once a week. I like having something else to focus on and it takes my mind off obsessions. This could be shopping and going out to a new place for lunch or a walk in the forest. For me getting down to a beach is the best act of mindfulness, I adore the sea and dipping my toes in helps wash away my problems. I love talking to people about boring everyday junk rather than my problems, a chat about the weather, the latest box set or even a debate is a brilliant way to distance myself. I find talking about problems creates more in a strange way.
I find surrounding myself with positive things, people, places helps me massively and keeps me from falling into a dark place. Mindfulness and practising gratitude has now become second nature in my life and I am everyday. It helps me remember that life is good, worth it and that we are all so lucky no matter what has happened. I also look after myself by remembering to take my medication on time, knowing when I'm hitting a low and making sure I remind myself I am ill and I can't help it.
I spoke to many people about what helps them below and one theme running though is there is a lot you can do to help yourself. There is always hope and light at the end of the tunnel!
Jason who is a Hypnotherapist spoke to me about tips he offers his clients in regard to their recovery.
Wake up to a positive affirmation each morning - Have a word or a phrase written somewhere large and prominent within your bedroom so that it’s the last thing you see before you close your eyes and the first thing you see when you open them.
Take some 'me' time - Set aside some time in your day to spend on you. This may be doing something you enjoy or it could be taking 5 minutes to have some time alone.
"You're only as happy as you choose to be' - People and theasy things around us can influence how we think and feel but, only if we allow them to. You're in charge of how happy you are, so choose to be happy.
Create a safe space -When working with clients I often set up a safe place anchor that the client can return to whenever they choose to. You can create this within yourself by thinking of a time, a place or a memory where you were the happiest you've ever been. The more you practice returning to the place in times of calmness the easier it'll become to access this state in times of need.
Focus on your breathing - If you notice yourself feeling down or upset, shift your focus to your breathing and take long, deep breaths in fully engaging the diaphragm. Research has shown that diaphragmatic breathing can postively affect your mindset.
I spoke to Eva about what helps her on a daily basis:
For me, a holistic approach is very important. This approach includes food, activities, sleep, relationships and faith (prayer /spirituality)
Food - focus on food with vitamins, minerals and tryptophan.
Activities - I walk every day at least 30 minutes (brisk walk 2-3 bus stops), I am a salsa dancer, dancing helps me to switch off, be more happy.
Sleep - I used to suffer with insomnia, regular sleep pattern is important. I go to bed midnight and get up at 9am. I think every person needs to find out what is good for them, my sister goes to bed at 10pm and gets up at 6.30am.
Relationships - connecting with people, relationship and friendships based on trust. Confidential relationships help us share our days and grow as a person.
Faith - I'm a Christian. Every person of faith when they pray stay calm to connect with the Highest Source of love and positive energy - they connect with themselves too. One of the things we people do is to run from ourselves, we dread to spend time alone.
I spoke to some others about what they find helpful for their mental health
As a recovering people-pleaser, one thing that has greatly helped my mental health and overall anxiety levels is learning how to say No without guilt. The concept of No can feel so scary and overwhelming, but it has truly set me free of feeling exhausted and spread too thin with commitments I am not completely passionate about it. In turn, I now live with less anxiety and the need to please, and with more joy and flow within my life.
The best thing is to have something your passionate about, after all passion fuels desire to live and be. Physical activities enable the body to stay productive and foster the production and release of endorphins. For me, my passion is photography.
I would say to help with my mental Health, it's always good to take a few minutes within a day to try and be mindful. I'm always wanting more and more pushing hard to achieve, but by take a moment can help slow me down. I have recently just started reading (due to dyslexia) anybody wanting to start with magazine's then build it up. Music can also be a massive part to help to just think within the moment, but playing an instrument can be so helpful when have stressful thoughts.
As soon as I wake I try to think of all the positive things in my life and try to stay as focused as possible. Fortune telling of what the day has in store for me is a big no so I just try and say as relaxed as possible. Making sure I have people around me as much as posssible just for a chat to stop me over thinking when on my own.
I’ve found that channeling my pain into something meaningful has often been critical for my mental health. I used to feel this pain and ask why me? That left me to spiral further. Now I try to use my struggle to spark my creativity, my mind, and my passion. It gives me purpose.
Mindfulness Meditation. I like the ap “Calm”, but my son prefers “Head Space”. Duke Integrative Medicine has a great program with an online option. According to their research 10 min a day of mindfulness is as effective as Prozac.
Creating music, cycling, the beach, a meal or breakfast with a friend. Also laughing and watching silly or scary horror films
What helps me with my mental health is writing, playing with my dog, MUSIC, and being around my loved ones. It’s amazing how music can flip my mood in a 180 degree turn!
Having a solid & strong support network of family and friends to turn to in my dark times, my faith (in God, in my case), my writing habits, listening to music, a good therapist and psychiatrist (yes, you often need both), taking my medications, and playing sports.