Mental wellbeing is about an individual’s mental health and overall ability to function in life. Personally, my mental wellbeing feels more complex than that. For me, it’s more about doing well, feeling content, feeling capable, feeling supported and being satisfied with life in general.
You may have a hugely different take on what mental wellbeing means to you, because we are all unique. But it is well known that people with higher levels of mental wellbeing are more likely to live a healthier, happier and longer life.
If you’re looking to improve your mental wellbeing, there are several things you can do to feel and function better. Here’s an overview of a few steps you can take to improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
Your purpose doesn’t necessarily have to involve changing the world or finding a career devoted to helping others. Instead, you might make it your purpose to be kind every day. If you feel like your life lacks purpose, don’t worry – there are many ways you can build a life that has more meaning. To start, write down all the things that bring you joy. Then, establish some small actions steps that can help you implement them in your life on a daily basis. Working toward these actions will give you a reason to get out of bed every day.
Write about a better future
Take a few minutes and write down all the good things that could happen to you in the future. Imagine how you could be spending your time and who you would be spending it with if you were living your ideal life. Devise an action plan for how you can make that happen. Identify small, measurable goals that will help you achieve that ideal future. Then, put that action plan into place. When you’re working towards that ideal future – even if the steps are really small – it gives you a sense of purpose and something to look forward to.
Recall positive life events
Spend time thinking about some of the best memories of your life, whether it’s a family holiday you went on 10 years ago or an award you recently won at work. Recalling your happiest times can bring more positivity into your life. Recognising the good things that have happened to you over time – the people you have built memories with or the good times that you have experienced – is an important part of improving your mental wellbeing. They serve as reminders of the fullness life has to offer, especially when circumstances may be pulling you down.
Perform acts of kindness
Doing nice things for other people reminds you that you have the power to make a difference in the world. Giving to others also helps you think more positively and feel happier. Look for opportunities to be kind to others in your everyday life. Doing so benefits you in a number of ways by releasing both endorphins and oxytocin – the feel-good hormones – as well as creating new neural connections. Consequently, kindness can become a reinforcing habit that takes less and less effort to perform. There’s also some evidence linking kindness and healing, so look for ways to be kind to others, and your body and mind will thank you.
Mindfulness is about living in the present moment. This way of being has been linked to a multitude of benefits, ranging from increased happiness to improved resilience. Although mindfulness is a skill that takes practice and dedication, over time you can get better at learning how to be present and in the moment. Mindfulness helps people manage stress, cope with serious illnesses and reduces anxiety and depression. In fact, people who practise mindfulness are better able to relax, have improved self-esteem and possess more enthusiasm over life.
Whether you send letters to people, telling them how much you appreciate them, or you write about the things you feel thankful for in a journal, expressing your gratitude will keep you focused on all the good things in life. Learning to be grateful in everything you do will become a way of life. You will discover you can be thankful for little things, such as the beauty of a sunset, as well as the big things like a new job or a visit from friend. Finding things to be thankful for every day is a simple but effective way to boost your mental wellbeing.
Identify your strengths
Feeling capable and confident is important for your mental wellbeing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to remind yourself of the things you’re good at or the strengths you possess. Try reflecting on your past achievements and the qualities that helped you succeed. Write down these things as a reminder of what you have to offer the world – and if there’s an area that you feel needs improvement, don’t be afraid to list that, too. Working on improving yourself is a great way to impact your overall sense of wellbeing.
Letting go of past hurt and anger is key to good mental wellbeing. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to allow that person to hurt you again. Instead, forgiveness is about releasing yourself of the anger that’s holding you back and keeping you bound to that person. Forgiving another person frees you to put your energy into more positive things, rather than ruminating on past hurts. If the person who wounded you is still a threat to your overall wellbeing, it also may help to set some boundaries to safeguard yourself from further unnecessary pain.
Loneliness can take a serious toll on your mental wellbeing. Just being around people isn’t the solution. Instead, it’s important to form deep connections with other people. The quality of relationships matters more than the quantity when it comes to improving your mental wellbeing. Have coffee with a friend, eat dinner with your family and call a loved one just to chat. Strong social support also is important to staying mentally healthy. If you lack a support system, take steps to meet more people. Join community activities, get acquainted with your neighbours or reach out to old friends.
How will you improve your mental wellbeing? Mental wellbeing is a key part of feeling happy and being able to function day to day. It’s easier than you may think to develop healthy habits that can foster your mental health. Start small and try practising one or two strategies to maximise your mental wellbeing. Over time, you will see the effects that these practices have on your positivity and overall mental health.
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