” A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. There is no such thing as a mind/body split. One of the kindest things you can do for your mental health is take care of your physical health. If you feel good physically, the chances are better you will feel good mentally. AA groups know this with their famous acronym –H.A.L.T. – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.”
” This is when we are vulnerable. This is when we grab fast food or alcohol or get into car accidents due to fatigue. What is the antidote? Good nutrition, exercise, and rest. Simple things – that Grandma knew.”
Jann Gumbiner, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine
10 Simple Ways to Keep a Happy, Healthy Mind
- Eat Healthily – We all know that what we eat has a big impact on our physical well-being, but it also affects our mental happiness. As the old adage goes; a healthy body makes a healthy mind, so we must think about our diet and what foods we perhaps eat far too much of. Whilst we have all been tempted to forgo the healthier foods for the convenience of takeaway food, there are lots of quick and easy meals that are much better for us. Eating three meals a day ( or 5 smaller meals as I do) will keep our energy levels up and keep us feeling good all day long. As well as eating healthy foods, we should be drinking lots of water to keep us hydrated and boost our metabolism; resulting in us feeling and looking better.
- Watch what you Drink – While a lot of people drink alcohol and caffeine to change their mood, their effect is only temporary. When the feelings of energy or excitement fade you will often feel a lot worse than before you drank, which has a big effect on your mental well-being. Most people only drink alcohol or caffeine in moderation which can often be good for us. However, some people carry on drinking to delay the onset of these negative feelings, or to escape underlying feelings of nervousness or depression. This is can be very dangerous and can cause long-term health problems or cover up existing conditions. Many professionals advise that we “Try to drink no more than four units of alcohol a day if you are male and three if you are female, and try not to drink caffeinated after seven o’clock at night.”
- Take some Exercise – Doing a little exercise each and every day has many different benefits; both mental and physical. When you exercise your body releases endorphins which can greatly improve your mood. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and join a gym to get some exercise; simply walking or cycling to your destination rather than driving, cleaning the house while listening to music and gardening are all easy ways to get the blood pumping. And after a while you will begin to find that doing tasks is easier and more appealing, which in turn will also make you feel better about yourself.
- Talking to Others – In today’s world with the Internet and social media, it has never been easier to keep in touch with friends and family. Feeling connected with other people is an important part of what makes us human and neglecting this part of life can have detrimental effects on our mental health. Many mental health problems have their roots in experiencing problems with communication and can be helped or even prevented by keeping in touch with others and maintaining strong relationships and bonds. Often if you are having difficulties, then some of the best help can be given by friends or family, those that truly know you, so ensure that open up to them about how you feel as soon as you are able but make sure that you do….. also listen to their thoughts and emotions.
- Getting a Change of Scenery – Sometimes we get stuck in a proverbial rut, it can happen to all of us! Taking a holiday is a great way to relax, improve your mood and see more of the world. However, not all of us are lucky enough to fly to Bali or Hawaii and enjoy the sun whenever we feel like it. But there are much simpler and less expensive ways of taking a break from our day-to-day routine which can equally improve our mental health. Simply taking a different route to work or just moving the furniture around will help your mind in being able to experience new things and cope with different situations. Go for a walk, take your shoes off and ground yourself by reconnecting with Mother Earth.
- Get a Hobby – ( now for those that know me I have many!)
So much of our lives are taken up by the pressures of work and other commitments these days that we sometimes forget about what we enjoy, what we are passionate about. Maybe you love to paint, play a musical instrument or have always wanted to build the best model railroad in the country ( for my dad)… Taking some time out just to yourself will help you cope with stress, focus your mind and allow you to express yourself. If you are feeling down, conveying your thoughts in a painting, a song or in a poem or story will help you understand how you feel and make you feel much better.
- Accepting that You are Unique – Many people are unhappy or self-conscious about their appearance, the way they speak or their past. They constantly compare themselves unfairly to others especially those we see in the Media. These feelings can lead to an ‘entrenched sense of worthlessness’ or even bring about depression or even eating disorders.
“By talking to others and expressing your feelings you will be able to get a better understanding of both your weaknesses and strengths. If you find it helps, take five minutes every day to list the qualities that make you unique, thinking of one positive and then one negative, and try to accept that you are you; which is the best person you can be.”
- Care for Others – It’s only natural to be concerned for other’s welfare, whoever they may be and part of maintaining healthy relationships is returning concern for those who care for you. This could be as simple as signing a ‘get well’ card at work or calling an elderly relative to ask how they are.
Also getting a pet makes you exercise these emotions constantly as you are the person that they rely on for food, shelter and love. Genuinely caring for others can greatly improve your mental health and allow you to explore those feelings you may have grown out of touch with.
You may even find that you enjoy it so much that you want to volunteer to help others in the community who are less fortunate than yourself. Allowing yourself to have feelings for others helps you understand why other people care for you and why you should care for yourself.
- Exercise your mind – Your brain needs exercise too in order to stay healthy. There are allot of different ways you can do this; from computer games or even researching one of your passions on-line like family research as I do; to doing the cross word and reading a book.
Instead of using a calculator to add up your bills, try adding up in your head first before checking if you were correct mechanically.
Learning a new word every day is also a good way of making sure your memory stays in full working order, which will help as you get older as well as in day-to-day life. Instead of reading over the word, look it up in the dictionary!
Your mind is your most valuable tool so keeping it fully functioning is very important to staying happy and living an active life.
- Remember that Help is at Hand –
” By following these simple steps you should feel better in and about yourself. However, if you are feeling anxious, depressed or think you may be suffering from a mental illness it is important to remember that there are lots of places you can go to where you will be offered plenty of support. As well as your G.P. there are many different services based locally around the country such as charities and support groups. The most important thing is to let someone know how you are feeling, be it a friend or family member, a confidential service like the Samaritans or professional services offered by your local health trust.”Michael Thornley
“Achieve your dreams”