5 quick and easy steps to better mental health

Mental health is the foundational level to living a happy and healthy life yet, so many people dismiss it or feel like it’s not worth their time. When people don’t take care of their mental health and well-being, they end up on a slippery slope towards low mood and feeling unmotivated and in some cases, more serious mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Due to mental illnesses rising, the task was set to find what small things people called do to boost their well-being. After much research, their were 5 things found that people could do to live a happier lifestyle. We’ll go through the five steps now, giving you examples of how to use them in your every day life. This post is based off the information provided by the NHS which you can find here.

What are the 5 steps to mental wellbeing?

  • Connection
  • Physical activity
  • Learning
  • Giving
  • Mindfulness

Connect with other people

Humans are designed to be social creatures and it’s one of the main factors that have helped us survive through evolution. There are great benefits of social interaction with others, from reducing the risk of neurological decline and even boosting your immune system but, what about the benefits of relationships on your mental health? Well, studies suggest that engaging with others can help improve feelings of self-esteem through having a supportive social circle, a way of dealing with stress when confiding in others and feelings of belonging with your friends and family. You can learn the formula for creating long lasting relationships here.
Due to current circumstances, this part of the puzzle when it comes to self care has gotten a little bit harder but, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to connect with others so, below we have listed some ways that you can connect with people whether you’re inside or out. It is important to note that wherever it is possible to meet in person you should choose to do so, as it can easily become a habit to only use social media to interact with others.

Online

  • Go to or create a virtual pub
  • Play video games with your friends
  • Have an online sleepover
  • Discuss your work tasks with your team
  • Eat together on a video chat
  • Play games on a video chat

In person

  • Go to the park and have a picnic
  • Arrange a time to have dinner with your family
  • Go to a restaurant
  • Turn off the TV and have a deep conversation
  • Go to an outdoor or drive inn cinema
  • Take an elderly person their shopping
  • Visit a friend
  • Volunteer for a charity or company

Be physically active

We all know that exercise plays a vital role in our physical health but, evidence also shows that it can improve your mental well-being as well. when you exercise, your brain releases neurotransmitters and neurochemical’s such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, these are “feel good” chemicals that are mostly known for regulating mood. Exercise and sport are great ways to enter a state of flow, which is when a person is totally engaged in what they are focused on by balancing the difficulty of the task and their skill level, positive psychology have deemed this as a way of being intrinsically happy.
Gyms are slowly opening up around the country which is great for the gym lads and lasses out there although, we don’t know to what extent but, there is no need to worry, there are plenty of other ways to exercise and some of them you wouldn’t even consider as a workout. You don’t have to go crazy either, start of small and work your way in to things, it’s best to do things that you enjoy to do.
  • Go to the gym
  • Play a competitive team sport like football
  • Do a home workout
  • Try a solo sport like boxing
  • Do some yoga or palates
  • Play in the garden with your family
  • Go for a hike
  • do some stretching
  • Go for a walk
  • Do some gardening

Learning new skills

It’s not necessarily the fact that there are benefits to learning new things, instead, a lot of evidence suggests that the benefits come from the act of engaging in new activities and not results from it. By pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you help build new neuro connections in your brain, add more fulfilment to your life and build your own self confidence in your abilities. Here at brain boosted, we’re huge advocates of self teaching and that’s the great thing about learning, we all have opportunity to learn whether it’s from books, the internet or just people.
People often find excuses to not learn new things, usually due to not having enough time but, recently you’ve probably found yourself spending a lot more time indoors and this has created a little bit of space for you to gain some new skills.
  • Learn how to cook a new recipe (you can try our smoothies)
  • Babysit for your younger family members
  • Play a board game that you haven’t played before
  • Create something (try our art therapy blog)
  • Try fixing something that is broken
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Do a DIY science experiment
  • Try doing basic computer coding
  • Go on adventure without any tools
  • Have a barbecue
  • Practice your social skills
  • Do kick-ups with toilet paper
  • Read a book
  • Watch some edutainment
  • Listen to audible or a podcast
  • Read a blog post that your interested in 

Giving to others

We’re all facing a difficult time right now, whatever your circumstances are. We obviously know that giving to other people is going to make them happy but, research suggests that giving to others can also boost our own mental health. Some of the benefits of giving to others is that it creates positive feelings and a sense of reward, it gives you a feeling of purpose and a sense of helping others and it helps you to connect with others more easily.
One of the most popular ways to give to others is through monetary gifts which we spoke about in our blog on whether money can buy happiness but, don’t be disheartened if you don’t have any money to share, there’s plenty of other ways you can give to others.
  • Take time to listen to what people have to say
  • Buy someone a nice present
  • give money to charity
  • Help someone who is confused
  • Volunteering
  • Creating a DIY present
  • Going out with someone
  • Taking time out of your day to help someone
  • Saying thank you when someone helps you
  • Smile more

Being mindful

In short, mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses on the awareness that arises from focusing on the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better, it can slow down the mental chatter in your head and help you approach challenges in life In a proactive way. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in general, you can do here.
When trying to be mindful, a good start is to try and narrow down on your senses, what you see, smell, hear, taste or feel. There should be no judgment when being mindful, you should only notice things and then let it pass. Many people struggle with meditation and mindfulness, leaving them frustrated and probably in a worse mindset than before so, here are some ways to be more mindful in everyday life.
  • Smell your food before you eat it and chew slowly
  • Try a guided meditation
  • Try meditating on your own
  • Feel all the droplets when you take a shower
  • Don’t get angry when someone upsets you, instead, try to understand
  • Do a body scan
  • Create a routine
  • Just breathe

Bonus step

They were the 5 steps to wellbeing but, here at brain boosted we like to give you the extra boost in life and that’s why we have created a bonus tip for improving your mental health, do you want to know what it is? GRATITUDE! Lots of new evidence is showing us the importance of being grateful in life and here are some examples.
  • Better mood
  • Gratitude improves self esteem
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduce stress
  • Helps overcome trauma
When things are going well it’s quite easy to find something that you are grateful for but, during a time where things are difficult and there are some challenges you might be facing, it can be difficult to practice gratitude but, it’s one of the most important times to practice gratefulness and when you really think about it, there is always something to be grateful for. So how can you be grateful?
  • Use your manners
  • Appreciate what others do for you
  • Use a gratitude journal
  • Be happy with the little things in life
  • Be thankful for opportunities that come your way
If you feel like you may be suffering from a mental illness or you just don't feel at your best, you should speak to your GP or medical professional and discuss possible options for helping you on your journey. This blog is for educational purposes only and should not replace any medical advice.
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