We all have mental health. Good mental health is an asset that helps us to thrive. It's not just the absence of a mental health problem, but having the ability to think, feel and act in a way that allows us to enjoy life and deal with the challenges it presents. Yet it can be easy to assume that ongoing stress is the price we have to pay to keep our lives on track. It's time to challenge that assumption.
In 2017 the Mental Health Foundation commissioned a UK survey aimed at understanding the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems, levels of positive and negative mental health in the population, and the actions people take to deal with the stressors in their lives.
It concluded that current levels of good mental health are disturbingly low and that our collective mental health is deteriorating. Most of us report experiencing a mental health problem in our lifetime. And although we’ve made great strides in the health of our bodies and our life expectancy, we now need to achieve the same for the good health of our minds.
Connect – with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work or in your local community. Have a conversation, pass the time of day. Make time for that chat. Building these connections will support and enrich your life every day.
Be Active – go for a walk, run, cycle, swim. Play a game, try gardening or dancing, DIY or a practical hobby. Exercise makes you feel good physically and mentally. So discover a physical activity you enjoy and suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Take Notice – be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Savour the moment, whether you are walking, eating lunch or talking to friends. Enjoy the now rather than ruminating about a past you can’t change and worrying about the future. Reflecting on your experiences will help you recognise, appreciate and reinforce what matters to you.
Keep Learning – try something new. Rediscover an old interest, take on a different responsibility at work, fix a bike, learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you’ll enjoy achieving. Learning new things can be fun as well as making you more confident.
Give – do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Mental Wellbeing Self-assessment
Five Ways to Mental Wellbeing