11 Top Tips for Good Mental Health 1) Draw a line under yesterday and start each day new. Try not to take the frustrations and emotions from yesterday’s events over to the new day. Start each day with a new attitude and see it as a fresh start. We can learn from what happened yesterday, but the day will seem much brighter if we are not weighed down by yesterday’s feelings and we are more likely to see things from a positive view. 2) Make time to talk with people we know and meet. Noticing, being kind and positive and talking to people whenever we get the chance, will improve not only their day but ours. It is a chance to have a laugh, share a perspective and listen to how things are for someone else and forget how we are feeling . It will remind us we have something positive to offer others. 3) Take opportunities to learn new things and be inquisitive. Being interested in the people and world around us, asking ourselves questions and finding out the answers can help us feel more connected and grounded. It can distract us from difficult thoughts and helps us to focus on the natural and amazing things around us. Learning new skills or creating something, will give us satisfaction and boost our confidence and increase our self-esteem. 4) Find a sport or physical activity you enjoy and do regularly. Activity and exercise are essential in maintaining good mental health. Being active not only gives us a sense of achievement, is enjoyable and fun, but it boosts the chemicals in our brain that help put us in a good mood. Exercising can help eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and feeling tired. It can be a nice way to meet and socialise with other people. It can help reduce weight gain associated with some medications and make us feel better about our bodies. Doing regular exercise improves our fitness and ability to overcome illness and can contribute to having a better nights’ sleep Some people like competitive sports and the feeling of pushing themselves to new targets whilst other enjoy activities such as yoga or gardening which can be mindful and calming. 5) Have a healthy diet and drink plenty of water Eating well isn't just important for our bodies, but it's also important for our minds. Certain mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can give us a low mood. Most people get irritable or angry more quickly when they are hungry. Having a balanced diet, gives us energy and keeps us feeling positive. Drinking enough water keeps our brain from having to struggle against the effects of dehydration. Dehydration is linked to a decrease in mood and cognitive performance and even mild dehydration is enough to cause mood disturbances. 6) Look out for positive, interesting, or funny things that happen around you. Its easy to think about the past or be constantly thinking/worrying about what we are doing next. But making time to notice what is happening around us at this moment can be so enjoyable. The funny things that children (and adults) say and do, the beauty of the natural world and the changing seasons, noticing the sky and clouds, the smells and noises in our locality, the friendly and kind things that people do for each other. Listening to our favourite music, admiring some artwork or some amazing tech. Noticing changes in our local community taking time to take in lovely or familiar views. It can help us relax, feel more connected and make life more enjoyable. 7) Plan new places to visit and new things to do Making plans, gives us a feeling of being in control of our life, gives us something to look forward to and even the anticipation can be fun. It can remind us of all the possibilities there are, when our current world is feeling small and remind us of friends’ we have not contacted, for a while. Preparing to do something new gives us something to focus on, provides excitement and an opportunity to learn and grow in confidence. 8) Find ways to enjoy the great outdoors as often as you can. We often seem to curl up and hide from the world when we are feeling down, but finding some energy to get outside, have fresh air and see people and animals can make us feel so much better. Just having a change of scene, distractions from our thoughts and decisions to make about where we go, can be positive. Our world feels bigger, our senses are stimulated by all that is happening in the environment and by the weather and we may feel less isolated. Getting involved in the natural world can also be calming and help put things in a more positive perspective as well as being enjoyable and an opportunity to meet like- minded people. 9) The importance of how we say things Language is a powerful force and can influence how we feel, so its helpful to try and teach ourselves to use it positively I should go for a walk ( sounds like a chore and you are the victim in your life) Is very different to I want to go for a walk ( sounds like you are going to enjoy yourself and are in control of your life) ) Try and replace should, would and could with I want, I wish to, I will, in future I will When we are feeling nervous or anxious before we do something new, if we tell ourselves we are excited, it can feel more positive. (our body can feel similar for excitement as anxiety) 10) Ask for help when we need it and help others whenever we can. Some of us have been brought up to feel we have to cope by ourselves and asking for help is a weakness. We are great at helping others but not so good at accepting it when we need it. We all need help at times and struggling by ourselves can make life harder for ourselves and those around us particularly those who care about us. Just as in a plane we are told to put the oxygen mask on first before helping others around us it is good to accept help when we need it so we can cope and move forward. It also gives the person who helps us a nice feeling of having done something positive. 11) Establish a good sleep routine and take the rest you need. Many people struggle with poor sleep, particularly when their mental health is not at its best. Often it improves as mental health improves. But we can help give ourselves the best possible chance of a good nights’ sleep by doing the following, Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces the body's sleep-wake cycle. Adults do not need more than 8 hours sleep. Be aware of what has been eaten or drunk. Being hungry will stop sleep as will being over full. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed can also cause problems. Have a restful sleeping place, that is cool, dark and quiet, avoid IT screens or high energy music. Try and calm down before bed, perhaps have a bath. Avoid or limit to under 30 minutes daytime naps. Being active during the day can promote a better nights sleep but vigorous exercise just before bed will energise and prevent sleep. If worrying about things when trying to get off to sleep, write them down, to deal with tomorrow, try a relaxation exercise, listen to soft soothing music or read a book.