Like our physical health, we often take our mental health for granted – until something goes wrong. Whether you have experienced mental illness or not, there are some key things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy.
Preventing mental health disorders in healthy people is about stopping them developing in the first place.
If you’ve already experienced a mental illness, prevention is about reducing further episodes of illness, the disability that mental illness can cause and the negative impact on your life and the lives of your family members and carers. Anyone can suffer low periods or stressful life events, and these can have an impact on your mental health.
There are some fundamental things you can do regularly to keep yourself mentally healthy; they will also serve you well when you are not feeling so good.
Decrease your risk of becoming ill
- Keep yourself active – physically, socially, mentally.
- Teach yourself to think positively - or seek help with this.
- Get help for alcohol and drug problems.
- Improve your education.
- Get regular general health checks.
- Try to live free from discrimination and abusive relationships.
- Work towards financial security.
- Connect to community – join a group, chat to neighbours, meet a friend.
- Include people from culturally different backgrounds in your life.
- Look to the future – take on a new challenge, have a go!
Top tips for keeping well
- Share thoughts and feelings with friends, family or a counsellor. Talking your problems through as soon as they appear can really help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Eat nutritious food, get adequate sleep and exercise regularly. Doing these things can trigger a chain of healing affects - especially when you feel anxious or under stress.
- Build and maintain your self-esteem. As you work on building your self-esteem you will feel better more often, enjoy your life more than you did before, and do more of the things you have always wanted to do.
- Learn to relax and spend time doing the things you love to do! There are many relaxation techniques and other methods available to suit personalities and lifestyles, eg, hobbies, reading and meditation.
- Seek help. A problem can sometimes be too hard to solve alone - or with friends and family - so it’s important to seek professional help. You can see your family doctor, a community group, a psychiatrist, nurse, occupational therapist, psychologist, social worker or counsellor.
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