In our fast-paced world, taking a moment to reflect on our mental well-being is vital.
According to a 2023 poll of 6,000 adults by Mental Health UK, one in five UK adults admitted feeling anxious most or all of the time, and almost three quarters said they had felt anxious at least sometimes in the previous two weeks.
So how can we help combat this and improve our health? We can make small and gradual changes to our lifestyle and it’s easier than you think. Here are our three top tips to get you started:
1. Being outdoors
- Walking, fresh air and soaking up the sunlight (especially early morning) has a positive impact on our mental health and there is evidence that it can enhance physical performance as well.
- Regular exercise will not only keep any winter weight gain in check but will release dopamine and endorphins to give a longer-lasting lift to your mood.
- We suggest signing up to classes or arranging regular walks with friends, especially if you can fit them in early at weekends and get the two-for-one benefit of morning light and a good chat.
Getting somewhere between seven and nine hours sleep per night remains important for reducing risk of depression throughout life. Sleep helps us learn, improves our concentration, gives us greater self-control, reduces our risk of ill-health and is completely free of charge. If you are having problems sleeping, try these:
- Eat at least three hours before going to sleep.
- Build a routine – waking up at the same time every day (including weekends) sets you up for a successful night’s sleep.
- Try relaxation / mindfulness techniques, the web is full of meditation apps and breathing exercises – there are even sleep playlists on Spotify and “sleep stories” on YouTube.
Gratitude has been shown to reduce stress while improving mood and resilience. In one study gratitude was found to be protective for depressive and physical symptoms during a stressful life event. In another, gratitude decreased stress levels in just one month.
Try writing five things you’re grateful for in a notebook each night (even something as simple as “I’m grateful that my partner cooked dinner so I didn’t have to”) to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Why not start your journaling journey today, and unlock the potential for growth, healing, and self-discovery.
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