World Mental Health Day: TheBoldAge looks at 5 ways to give your mental wellbeing some TLC
By Abi Jackson. Published 2020-10-10BOLD-Wellbeing
Feeling a little run-down mentally? TheBoldAge shares 5 tips for under-the-weather minds.
1. Watch a comedyWhen things are feeling pretty low and hopeless, it can be hard to imagine that something as inane as a funny film or sitcom is going to make a difference. But there have actually been loads of studies into the effects of laughter – it’s been found to reduce physical pain, increase blood flow to the heart, reduce feelings of depression, stress and anxiety and relax the whole body, due to the activity it sparks in the brain. So give it a go (I recommend Miranda, and old favourites like Friends).
2. Drop a ballFor lots of people, stress and being overwhelmed are a key cause of feeling mentally run-down. There’s just so much to get done and so much pressure to be constantly ‘on’ and available and achieving and doing and buying and saving and progressing – and now there’s an overdue bill, you’re worried about a family member’s health (or your own) and you’re behind at work and ARRGHHHHHH!Just stop. Slow right down. And breathe. It really is OK to drop a ball, so let’s take a moment to do that. What on that list really isn’t worth the palpitations it’s causing right now, and what steps do you need to take to safely offload it? Dropping a ball is not failure; sometimes it’s the best and most sensible solution all round. You can always pick it back up later (unless, by then, you realise you’re actually a lot happier and healthier with a more manageable load).
3. Spend time with animalsIf you have pets, this one’s a little easier. If you don’t, can you arrange to dog-sit for a friend or join them on a long walk, or visit to a petting zoo or farm? There’s something instantly soothing about being in the company of animals (that’s why ‘pet therapy’ and ‘animal therapy’ is a real thing – research has proved that pets can reduce stress, and we’ve all read those incredible stories of how dogs and horses have been transformative for people living with conditions like PTSD, dementia and autism). They’re very good listeners, too.
4. Email yourself all your thoughtsHuge strides are taking place right now to tackle mental health stigma, and make it easier for people to talk about and access appropriate support. But it can still be so hard to know where to turn and to find the words – and sometimes you might not feel able, or willing, or ready, to talk about it. There is still something massively cathartic about off-loading however, even if those words aren’t going to be heard or seen by anybody else.The act of expressing your feelings is a release, physically and mentally, so let it all out in an email. It can sit in your drafts folder forever, if you want, or you can refer back to it later and use it to help decide which bits you might feel comfortable talking to somebody else about.
5. Social and interaction and picking up the phoneThe pandemic and social distancing is playing havoc when it comes to socialising and mental health. On the one hand, meaningful social interaction – and just getting out and about and enjoying yourself – is vital for health and happiness, but on the other hand, sometimes it’s downtime and a bit of space and quiet that you really need. If you can't get out and about and lets be honest that inn itself can be a trauma at the moment then make a cup of tea and pick up the phone and have a real conversation with a trusted friend. A good natter with a trusted friend might just work wonders. If that’s how you’re feeling, No, friends aren’t trained counsellors and neither will they be able to ‘fix’ all your problems – but that’s really not the intention. This is just about a little bit of feel-good factor and reassurance and a reminder you’re not alone.
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