There is a mound of evidence to suggest that there are five key steps you can take to improving your mental state and wellbeing.
Trying these five tips may help you feel more positive and able to get more out of your life.
*Editors Note - I am not a qualified therapist or mental health professional. The tips listed below are backed by research and qualified professionals, and are meant to try at your own discretion.
1.) Get Connecting With Other People.
It is tempting, when you are feeling down and depressed, to completely withdraw from your friends, family, loved ones and society. In todays digital age, it is become almost second nature to physically withdraw ourselves from society, and keep people updated via social media platforms.
Whilst social media is handy, building relationships & relying solely on technology is NOT beneficial for your mental wellbeing.
Our primal instincts play a game with us in the modern day. Where our ancestors needed to be sociable creatures, able to fit in to the tribe & have the protection, security & approval of other members in the tribe - this has now translated into our digital age. If we are constantly posting on social media and seeking approval of likes, follows and chasing numbers, we isolate ourselves from these real-life connections we have with people.
The best moments of my life have come from spontaneous trips with my friends, playing football in the park with my pals, or the random chaotic energy that comes with a parkour session.
If possible, take time out of your day to be with friends or family. Try and arrange a fixed activity to do, such as eating a meal with your family, or walking to school/work with a friend or colleague.
That's not to say you cannot use technology. Instead of texting or using instant messenger, why not FaceTime, Zoom or Skype someone?
2.) Get Physical!
Despite also being an absolutely banger by Dua Lipa, it's important to get physical!
Evidence suggests that exercising, even for a short burst of 10 minutes' brisk walking, increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety.
Why not also set goals and work towards them? - This will help you work towards something, and you get that hit of dopamine when you hit your target or your goal, give yourself a pat on the back!
The good thing with exercise, is it is free. Just getting outside, taking a ball, going for a run or just a paced walk in the park doesn't cost anything (minus the cost of the ball I guess) - alternatively, there are loads of leisure centres and swimming pools if you wanted to get swimming, or dust that bike in the shed off and get cycling!
You don't need to spend hours in the gym to exercise. You can easily find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your day to day life.
3. ) Learn A New Skill!
Research shows that learning a new skill can boost self-confidence and self esteem. You can learn things that'll permanently enrich your life, and improve your confidence in the process. By learning new things, you'll start to recognise that you're capable of more than you might have ever expected. And that will give you a major confidence boost. Self-confidence reflects a broader view of yourself. Not only that, it helps you connect with others and builds a sense of purpose.
I have recently taken up podcasting, blogging, basic coding, and reading. (Okay - Maybe reading was a skill I had learnt previously... but hear me out....)
If I was to use the example of basic coding, I have been able to update the Contendunt site to be more unique. This included learning how to instal custom fonts, embed codes and more HTML jargon.
On top of this, I have been reading a lot more about marketing and social media, building on prior knowledge that I already had.
Reading has also helped me talk to people more. I am able to have really good phone calls with people, and in-person conversations. I am, slowly, getting over my anxiety about talking to new people, and am able to contribute and find topics to talk about so the conversation never dies out!
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
You could learn any new skill. It could be cooking or baking. Or working on a project, such as fixing that old bike in the shed so you can ride it for exercise, or you can sign up for a local course. There are loads of free courses online that are easily accessible and can give you a wealth of knowledge!
It is important to remember, you don't have to sit a course, exam or do something you don't enjoy. Find something that interests you and you want to learn.
4.) Be Charitable / Give to Others
An act of kindness can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism. They may also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they've experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community. It can give you a sense of purpose & self-worth.
This can be something as small as a random act of kindness, or something for a larger group of people or a charity.
Some examples include asking friends and family how they are feeling and listening to their answer, volunteering in your community or helping someone with a project that uses your newly learned skills!
It can be anything, big or small and you don't need to spend money! Helping other people is a great way for you to boost your own mental wellbeing.
5.) Practice Mindfulness
Paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, your body & the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing.
Some people call this awareness "mindfulness" - it can help you understand yourself better and enjoy life more. It can help you with how you view life and how you tackle challenges that come into your path!
Mindfulness has also shown to help with a number of conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, addictive behaviours such as alcohol or substance misuse and gambling, and physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.
Mindfulness can be practised in person, either through a group course or a one-to-one with a trained mindfulness coach. There are online courses, books and audio, too, where you can learn through self-directed practice at home. Even though mindfulness is understood to have Buddhist origins, you don’t need to be religious or spiritual to practise mindfulness.
What do you do in your day to day life for better mental wellbeing? Have we missed anything off of this list?
You can always reach out to us on Instagram and let us know!