But we’re also all just swamped. We’re trying to keep up with the seemingly never-ending list of things we have to stay on top of and sometimes those little reminders we give ourselves to check in on our mental wellbeing just fall by the wayside. You’re human! It’s OK!
The key to maintaining (or improving) your mental wellbeing is consistency, though, so it’s important to adopt habits and tricks you’ll follow. We’ve teamed up with QLD Health to deliver some easy-to-remember, and easier-to-execute, practices that will help you actively take care of your mental wellbeing the way you deserve.
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Get by With a Little Help From Your Friends
To put it bluntly, if you’re not feeling great mentally, you’re probably not going want to put on a brave face and socialise. That’s fine — me time is great and hard to come by. But maintaining personal, social connections can really, really help your headspace. Embracing actually hanging out with your friends specifically when you’re not feeling your best can help put your negative feelings at ease.
In fact, even just laughing with your mates can help you immensely. According to Ros Ben-Moshe, adjunct lecturer in Public Health at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, laughter “provides relief and release from some of the stress that has embedded in our body and mind, freeing ourselves to power forward, even a little.”
Try and revel in just how much your mood improved next time you hang out with someone. Actively connecting with one another can really help clear your mind and relieve stress, even if just temporary. Whether it’s finally catching up with that one friend over coffee, basking in the sun for a picnic, or even going just going on a morning walk with a mate can be the key to boosting your wellbeing.
Get in the Groove of Using Music as a Mood-Booster
When we’re working away or on a long drive, plenty of us will sink in and try to keep our brains stimulated with a gripping audiobook or a tense true crime podcast. Keeping your wheels turning is great, but when it comes to helping your mental wellbeing, listening to uplifting music has been proven to, funnily enough, lift your mood.
According to a review of 26 studies held across several countries, including Australia, intervention via music has similar impacts on wellbeing as that of exercise. Exercise can’t and shouldn’t be replaced — that needs to be stressed — but it’s unrealistic to think you can always push yourself to do it, and that’s OK.
Listening to music is no substitute for that, but its link to improving your state of mind is clear. Additionally, taking the time to listen to music while not doing anything else — ie. not just using it as background noise while you go about stressful tasks — forces you to be present and breathe, and we all know that’s key to improving mental wellbeing.
Go on, create that nostalgic playlist. Dive into those albums you’ve been putting off. Shamelessly bop your head along to whatever tunes make you smile. It’ll be worth it.
Savour the Moment With Mindful Mealtimes
Mindful eating and drinking is, in essence, all about staying aware while you’re sustaining yourself. Even though life can feel too busy to eat and drink mindfully, staying present doing so puts you in touch with your body and your mind.
It’s not about always eating the best food for you, but instead it focuses on engaging all your senses. Not only can you enjoy the experience more than scoffing down a croissant on the way to work, but it can also help you change dietary patterns easier if that’s something you’re working towards.
In fact, when it comes to drinking water, the mere act has been proven to improve wellbeing. A 2015 study found that dehydration increased the likelihood of emotions like anger and confusion, and even fatigue.
As shared by Deakin University, researchers have also found that when people who are usually well-hydrated lower their water consumption, they “feel less calm, less content, and more tense.” Obviously, combatting that by drinking more water has been linked to more stable feelings of happiness and calm.
Habits take time to get used to, so be patient with yourself as you embark on the journey of improving your mental wellbeing. Pushing yourself to actively engage in mindful practices is a great way to help you unlock the happier and healthier mindset you deserve.
To discover even more building blocks to improving your mental wellbeing, head to Queensland Health’s ‘Dear Mind’ portal here.