Mental Health Month, held in October each year, is a great opportunity to raise awareness about mental wellbeing and explore ways we can connect that can have a positive impact on our daily lives and the lives of others.
What is Mental Wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing can be defined as ‘a positive physical, social and mental state.
Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened; most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem, and this could happen to any one of us.
It’s important to maintain your mental wellbeing, with good mental wellbeing, you can:
- Make the most of your potential
- Have a sense of purpose and feel valued
- Feel good about yourself
- Have the mental ability to deal with the ups and downs of life, such as coping with challenges and making the most of opportunities
- Having control and freedom over your life
- Play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends
So, why am I so interested in Mental Health and Wellbeing?
My experience with mental health is shaped by my own personal journey with anxiety, self-doubt, eating disorders and emotional eating.
Before entering the health and wellness industry, I spent almost two decades in the fashion world. But the stress and overwhelm of managing a thriving business, caring for a young family and total lack of self-care resulted in adrenal burnout that claimed 6 months of my life-I was mentally and physically burnt out. My solution was to use food as my therapist to manage emotions such as stress, anxiety, fear and to cope with unmet needs.
I was able to take control of my eating and mind when I started taking care of my emotional needs, exercising and eating well. By improving my mental health and wellbeing I was able to cease the cycle of self-loathing, frustration and fearand best of all dissolve my struggle with emotional eating.
Now my life’s mission is to give something back and to share, with you, the lessons I have learned on my journey and help you find the confidence to take control of your life!
Stress and Mental Wellbeing
Stress and feeling overwhelmed has a profound impact on mental wellbeing says research
And women tend to be feel the affect, more than men, when it comes to coping with stress, anxiety and overwhelm.
Here are some statistics:
“Of women, 55% feeling stressed compared with 42% of men; 59% of the younger age group felt stressed compared to 40% of those aged 55-64 and 21% of those 65+.”
And sadly, every week, 1 in 6 adults experiences a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression and 1 in 5 adults has considered taking their own life at some point.
Of course, mental wellbeing does not mean being happy all the time and it does not mean you won’t experience negative or painful emotions, such as grief, loss, or failure, which are a part of normal life.
So, let’s explore some ways that can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and your daily life
Step 1: Look after yourself
Self-careis an essential strategy to help you keep your mind and body healthy enough to deal with any difficult situations as they arise.
Self-care is defined as your daily activities in looking after yourself.
Here are some tips to start your self-care practise:
- Paying attention to your own needs and feelings
- Setting healthy boundaries by setting limits around your time and what you need.
- Engaging in regular activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
- Start a Meditation practise
Step 2 :Diet and Mental Wellbeing
Most people do not associate diet with mental wellbeing. But nutrition is essential for the proper functioning of your brain. Good nutrition can make a lot of difference to your overall well-being and especially your mental health.
There have been many have observational studies, across countries, cultures and age groups, and they all conclude that diet has a direct impact on mental health.
There is a growing problem with the 20th century seeing major shifts in dietary intakes globally,with a marked increase in the consumption of sugars, snack foods, take-away foods and high-energy foods.
The thing is: Excessive consumption of Carbohydrates and processed food products) is linked to poorer mental health.
Improving your diet may help to:
- Improve your mood
- Give you more energy
- Help you think more clearly.
Healthy Mind Diet
This way of eating includes the following foods to enhance your mood:
#1-Eat your Greens
- IncludeLeafy greens such as spinach, romaine, turnip and mustard greens, and broccoli, they are high in folic acid, as are beets and lentils.
- Deficiencies in folate as well as other B vitamins have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue and anxiety
Include high-quality protein like: eggs, organic chicken breast, organic lean beef, fish-all types, turkey breast and legumes (peas, beans and lentils).
- Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your serotonin thoughts, feelings.
- These keep your serotonin levels balanced.
#3- Include healthy gut foods
like:fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics.
- Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins and fibre we need to keep you physically and mentally healthy.
#4- Healthy fats
- Include healthy fats like: oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.
- Your brain needs fatty acids (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well.
Step 3: Get Active
Exercise is the perfect complement to a healthy diet is exercise, and boosts your mental wellbeing.
Evidence has shownthat regular exercise leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes, showing improvements in self-esteem and mood.
Here is some evidence to back this statement:
Exercise can make an incredible difference on your mood. Many studies have proved that exercise improvesvitality, mood-enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem, and aid in a lowering level of tension, depression and fatigue.
Physical exercise is an effective strategy in the treatment of anxiety and depression, as are psychotherapy and pharmacological approaches; however, the former are healthier and more economical, in addition to enabling greater adherence than other strategies.
Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to provide antidepressantand anxiolytic effects and are capable of protecting the organism from the harmful effects of stress on physical and mental health.
Here are some tips for the minimum amount of exercise you need to feel great:
- 3 to 4 times a week min
- Min 30 mins at a time
Including these regularly:
- Aerobic exercise
- Resistance training
Step 4: Improve your mental health using mindfulness
Evidence has suggested the benefit of mindfulness to health and wellbeing, with results showing positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behaviour, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
What is mindfulness?
- Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.
- It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
How can mindfulness help?
- Mindfulness can be used as a tool to manage your mental wellbeing
- Mindfulness has been shown to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours.
- Mindfulness can help you lead a mentally healthier life and improve your mental wellbeing
Here are some tips to start your mindfulness practise:
- One-minute mindfulness:Mindfulness can be used in your everyday life and doesn’t have to take a lot of effort or time. You can practise mindfulness in just one minute!
- Mindful listening:By taking this time out to tune in to your environment and listen to what it tells you.
- Mindful eating:Eating mindfully can take us out of autopilot, helping us appreciate and enjoy the experience more
Step 5: Build your confidence
Working on developing confidence in yourself can be beneficial in dealing with life’s difficult situations preventing difficulties and building resilience.
Here are some steps to help you:
Develop a positive view of yourself.
- Trust your instincts
- Go with your gut feeling
- Look inside yourself for answers rather than asking others
Reframe your thinking to manage your emotions more effectively
- Keep things in perspective
- Try to avoid making a situation bigger then it is
- Call on a previous successful strategy you used in a difficult situation
Maintain a positive outlook.
- Focus on what’s going well in your life
- Start a gratitude diary
- Visualize a positive outcome
If making the changes to improve your mental wellbeing seems overwhelming, I want you to know that “you are worth it!”
Try and keep it simple, start with small steps .
And most of all try to maintain a hopeful, optimistic outlook, and expect a positive outcome instead of a negative one.
Now I would love to hear from you……
- What is the first and simplest step you can take today, toimprove your mental wellbeing?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please write a comment below.
If you or someone you know needs support please click the link below for help and some resources:
It’s Free and it might change your life.
Emotional Eating Coach
BSc (Biomed), Cert IV (PT), Wellness Coach (Level 3))
I coach 35+ women to put downtheir fork and pick uptheirlife. If you want to end your struggles with excess weight, stress and self-belief, using your strengths and capabilities,book a free 15-minute mini-coaching session with me and I’ll show you how to transform your life.
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