Where's the health in Mental Health?

Top tips for mental health for World Mental Health Day

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Where’s the Health in Mental Health?

Monday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day that gives us the opportunity to promote and discuss mental health; its importance, its taboos and the many issues that surround the topic.

Follow any discussion or undertake any search related to mental health on Google or social media and you will discover many brilliant resources and organisations. The NHS Choices website is likely to be one of the first you come across; packed full of information about mental illnesses and signposting to where you can find help if you are struggling.

But within all this information, debate, and discussion, there is something missing. Something vital to improving the mental health of individuals and society as a whole. What is it? It’s a focus on the health element of mental health. When we discuss mental health, 90% of the time what we are actually talking about is mental illness or poor mental health. Anxiety, depression, stress, burnout – these issues are the focus of our discussion. Don’t get me wrong. These issues need our attention. But what we need more is a focus on what it means to be mentally healthy, and the tools to get us there.

Let me put it another way. Do you know what it means to be physically healthy? Do you know have the tools to get there. I’m guessing the answer is yes; you know that you should buy fresh food and prepare healthy, well balanced meals, and you need to exercise regularly. Now, do you know what it means to be mentally healthy? Do you have the tools to get there? I’m guessing that, for most of us, the answer is no. I’m also guessing that the number of us who consciously practice developing a healthy mind, and prioritise it as much as a healthy body, is even fewer.

Mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

So, here’s my top tips to building this state of well-being:

  1. Strengthen your relationships. THE most important thing you can do for your mental wellbeing is to reach out to your friends, family and community and deepen your connections
  2. Practice mindfulness. Learn how to gain mastery over your own mind, whist finding a sense of stillness
  3. Exercise and eat healthily. The mind and body are connected, don’t you know?
  4. Practice self care. Re-discover what you love doing, and do more of it. Say no more. Treat yourself. Become your own best friend. Build your self esteem and confidence.
  5. Practice gratitude. Note down the things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
  6. Set goals. Small or large, give yourself something to work towards, and reward yourself when you get there.

Our minds are crucial to our experience of life. Let’s make it a happy, healthy one!

Zoe’s latest course, Happiness through Mindfulness is now open for bookings. Email info@zoeflint.com to book. Follow Zoe on Facebook ZoeFlintHypno and Twitter ZoeFlintCoach for more hints, tips and discussions

Zoe Flint

Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Founder of the Colchester Happiness Project, ZoeFlint.com