Mental Health Awareness Week is this week, and for all men it presents a timely reminder to check in with your outlook on life, and how you are responding to stress. To improve your mental wellbeing, here are some ideas, and please remember to speak to your GP or an experienced counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist for support if you need it.
What is mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing refers to the way in which you handle your emotions – the positive and the negative. A positive way to deal with frustrations or stress might be to exercise or practice mindfulness, whereas as counterproductive activities such as resorting to binge drinking of alcohol, smoking, sugar binges or being frustrated at others. These behaviours are considered negative as they harm your own health and wellbeing, as well as others. It may also affect your relationships with people close to you.
A healthy mental state
If you have a healthy sense of mental wellbeing there are many benefits. It lifts your mood, helps you be resilient in challenging situations, and helps you get the most out of life. We all experience highs and lows, but it is important to seek help or talk to someone if you are not coping, feeling anxious or depressed, or are not functioning in the way that you would like to each day.
Improving mental wellbeing
Getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily improves your physical health, but did you know it can also improve your mental health? Practise also getting your personal time of 30 minutes each day and you will see major improvements to your energy levels and general wellbeing. For some people doing something for themselves might mean doing meditation or yoga, while for others it might be a barbecue with friends. Ideas might be going for a walk, listening to a podcast, speaking with a friend, or working on a hobby or interest.
Other ways to help look after your wellbeing include:
- Getting enough sleep (8-10 hours a night for most adults)
- Eating regular, healthy meals and snacks
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Learning about positive ways to deal with stress and identifying what your stress triggers are
- Spending quality time with family and friends
- Spending less time on social media or in front of a screen (fresh air is better!)
- Learning a new skill or spending time on things you enjoy like being creative or outdoor leisure activities
- Taking on a hobby
- Going to unfamiliar places, which might even mean exploring more of your neighbourhood or suburb
- A good, deep belly laugh does wonders!
The Your Mental Wellbeing website is a great place to go for more wellbeing ideas or to create a personalised plan for improving your mental wellbeing.
At Family Doctors Plus we are focussed on preventive health care and helping men make healthier choices to live their best lives possible. If you’d like to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health or have any concerns at any time, please feel free to
Here are some ways you can seek support when you need it:
- Talk to someone you trust
- Talk to a GP, psychologist, or counsellor
- Join a support group (there are many for substance dependency, grief, shared experiences like heart surgery, etc). Ask your GP, friends, check community noticeboards or there is lots of information online now or in Facebook groups.
- Join a community group, such as a local Men’s Shed for shared interests and to form connections
- Websites with great resources, and sometimes even free telephone or online counselling, for mental health and wellbeing include:
- Call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Sources and further reading: