We all have mental health, like we all have physical health. Both change throughout our lives. And, like our bodies, our minds can become unwell.
Mental health problems might actually be more common than you think. In fact one in four of us will be affected by mental illness in any year. The effects are as real as a broken arm, even though there isn’t a sling or plaster cast to show for it.
When people experience mental health problems, they often feel stressed, anxious, low and experience negative thoughts, often as a reaction to negative circumstances or events.
We all feel like that now and then, but it’s when these thoughts and feelings become so frequent and/or severe that they significantly disrupt our ability to cope with life on a daily basis, such as negatively affecting our relationships, work, sleep and quality of life, that they can become mental health problems.
How to improve your mental health
It’s important to remember that, with the right advice, guidance and information, people who experience difficulties are often able to return to a state of emotional and psychological wellbeing. But the sooner you get help the better.
There are lots of things that you can do, both with professional support or without, to help improve your mental health and emotional well-being. Doing something positive can sometimes make all the difference - for you and for others.
Information and advice about a range of issues that can effect mental health and wellbeing can also be found on NHS Choices.
The following positive steps could make all the difference.
Accept who you are
There are many things that make us who we are. Some of these include our values, beliefs, background, religion, race, gender and sexuality. Respect yourself and others, everyone has something to offer.
We all have mental health. We can all feel up, down, anxious, upset etc. Try to find ways of coping with life's demands and don't be too hard on yourself if things go wrong. Following these steps will be a good start.
Ask for help
It's good to ask for help. Sometimes we feel unable to ask for help for different reasons. We can ask for help from family, friends, our doctor, the MIND helpline or local groups and organisations.
Regular physical activity can really help lift your mood and fight depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise can make you feel well and give you more energy. Find a type of physical activity in North Lincolnshire you like to do such as walking, swimming, cycling, dancing etc.
Making time to relax is very important. We all need time to ourselves. Find something you enjoy such as listening to music, reading etc.
Talk about it
Sometimes you can feels like no one understands or that you are completely alone. It usually helps to share your problems. There are people you can talk to - find out who and where they are on the MIND website.
Do something creative
We all have a creative side. When we use our creative skills practically, we get a sense of achievement and it can allow us to express our feelings. Find something you enjoy such as music, writing, painting, poetry, cooking or gardening - experiment to find something that suits you.
Meeting new people and being involved with others helps us to feel 'connected' to the world. It can provide you with support and give you the opportunity to support others.
Alcohol is a depressant which means it makes us feel down or low. It usually makes any problems worse. Drinking to 'get drunk' is very dangerous to your health. Try not to drink over the NHS' recommended amount of units.
Learn new skills
Learning a new skill can increase your confidence - whether it's for pleasure, to make new friends or to improve your chances of a job. Trying new things can make you feel good about yourself too.
Our mental health needs the same nutrition as our physical health. Having a balanced diet will not only help the way you feel but also the way that you think. Try to eat regularly and remember your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Visit NHS Choices for more information about healthy eating.
Stay in touch with friends
Friends are very important. We need different people around us to share our lives with. Friends can offer us support when we need it and we can offer it to them in return.