Our mental health deserves as much consideration as our physical health but sadly we don’t always give it the attention it deserves. Here are some easy tweaks and additions you can make to your daily routine to improve your mental well-being:
Meditation: Mindfulness and meditation has been proved time and time again to help improve our health, reduce stress and boost productivity. Even just 10 minutes a day can have a positive effect. Check out Stop, Breathe, Think, an easy to use app that asks a few key questions about how you feel before suggesting a meditation to suit your state of mind.
Connect with other people: The Mental Health Foundation states that “people who are more socially connected to family, friends and their communities are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems”. Taking time out to chat to a colleague at lunchtime or catch up with friends at the weekend can make the world of difference to how you feel.
Be active: As well as the physical benefits it brings exercise is known to boost mood. And it doesn’t have to be a heavy gym session – walking to work, taking a stroll at lunchtime or heading to the local swimming pool a couple of times a week is all it takes to have a positive effect on your mental health.
Get into nature: A study by Stanford University found that walking in nature – seeing trees, hearing bird song and seeing the sky lowers our risk of depression and improves our mental health. You don’t have to set out for a day long hike to enjoy the benefits, a walk around a local park or spending time pottering in the garden can help improve your mood for up to seven hours. Not sure where to go? Ordnance Survey (OS) can help. Last year it launched a comprehensive map of all Britain’s green spaces. It’s available via the website or app. And if you are in Scotland the Scottish Greenspace map offers a similar service.
Laughter is the best medicine: Laughter decreases stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel good chemicals. So at the end of a long, hard day watching your favourite comedy show, or listening to an amusing podcast can provide a much needed boost.