In numerous ways mental health and wellbeing is similar to physical health and wellbeing, it is essential that we take care of it. When we are physically ill, we take the much-needed medication, we seek professional help and we take the necessary steps to heal, however, this is unfortunately not always the case when our mental health takes a dip. Before we can explore how we can heal our mental health, it is useful to start with the idea that overall wellbeing of any individual involves both the mind and the body, meaning that physical and mental wellbeing are closely related.
It is important to note that good mental wellbeing does not only mean the absence of mental illness, it also means that one is in a state of overall wellbeing and where one is able to feel good, cope and function well in the world. Sometimes it may be necessary to seek out professional help, however, there is evidence that suggests that there are five simple steps that may be taken in order to improve wellbeing and can in turn result in one feeling happier and more positive.
- Step One: Connect with other people, this step is often seen as a very simple and obvious step, as we often are surrounded by others. However, due to the social nature of human beings there is strong evidence that shows that feeling close to and valued by others is a fundamental human need and can result in the building of self – worth and belonging. Steps to connecting with others can include: actively listening to others, engaging in conversations with someone new, calling instead of texting or even just setting aside an hour or so for dinner with family and friends.
- Step Two: Be active, not only is being active great for physical fitness, evidence shows that it may improve mental wellbeing by: raising self – esteem, helping you set and achieve goals and lastly it may cause a release of positive brain chemicals that help in creating a positive mood.
- Step Three: Keep Learning, learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a newfound sense of confidence as well as it may help you connect with others and help build a sense of purpose.
- Step Four: Give back, it is suggested that random acts of kindness and giving may improve mental wellbeing as it may create a sense of reward and positive feelings, whilst also creating a sense of purpose and self – worth.
- Step Five: Mindfulness, the term Mindfulness is explained as the ability to be fully present and aware of the moment we are in and what we are doing, rather than to be reactive and overwhelmed by the world around us. This is often the most difficult of the steps as it includes shutting out everything around us, however this is an extremely beneficial step that can improve our wellbeing as it helps us to center ourselves and enjoy the moment which may boost our moods. Some mindful activities include colouring in, gardening, beadwork, journaling and any other activity where your full attention may be caught and utilised.
These simple five steps can help promote positive feelings about the self and may improve overall mood and mental wellbeing. This in turn may see an improvement in overall wellbeing with a more positive outlook on this journey of life.
The Author: Zayaan Sarlie (Humanitas Student)
Zayaan Sarlie is currently a Humanitas Counselling Student. Here is a little bit more about her:
My name is Zayaan and I truly believe that everyone, at some point, experiences challenges in their lives and sometimes we may need a little extra assistance. I am a sincere, open – minded, insightful, caring, empathetic and trustworthy individual that aims to create a safe, warm and secure therapeutic environment that encourages healing and growth.
I am passionate about the human mind and of people in general, I have examined how the body reacts to the mind and how the mind may impact the body, thus it is important to have a safe space wherein the mind and body may learn to heal and work together in harmony. As your counsellor I aspire to create that safe space wherein my clients may be empowered to discover and explore the different solutions to the challenges that are present in their lives in a supportive environment. I also aim to facilitate a journey towards happiness and healing: emotionally, mentally, physically and psychologically – as well as to create an overall sense of wellness and to aid in growth.
“You have the ability to survive anything. That is why despite the storms made of pain and loss, despite all the chaos that you have had to endure you are still here and you are still going strong” – Nikita Gill