World Mental Health Day
Brain & Mind Experts Share Advice for Improving Mental Health
It’s been a challenging year for everybody and with more uncertainty on the horizon, looking after our own mental health and helping to support family and friends who may be struggling with their mental health is more. important more than ever.
The team of Brain and Mind Experts at Re:Cognition Health share their top advice to help improve mental health, all of which can be done online for those shielding!
Laugh – it’s true that sometimes laughter really can be the best medicine! Laughter can help ease social anxiety, helping us to distract from any pressure or negative feelings. It also makes the brain release endorphins, which improve mood, create a sense of calmness and reduce stress. Whether doing a laughter yoga session on Youtube, watching a comedy on TV or having a giggle with friends, a daily dose of laughter is good for the soul.
Socialise –meeting friends is so beneficial for the brain and mind. Social interaction generates dopamine which gives us a natural “high”. In addition, socialising and maintaining friendships helps reduce anxiety and depression and improve cognitive sharpness and performance, at every stage of life. Socialising can also help protect our brains from neurodegenerative diseases and improve memory function. Whilst meeting friends and family face to face is best, it may not be possible at present for many people so tapping into technology such as Facetime or Zoom are a great way to stay in touch. Even an old-fashioned phone call is a great way to help keep connected.
Exercise is so important for mental health, helping to improve mood, reduce stress and has a very positive effect on self-esteem. Exercise can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as having countless health benefits for the body and brain (including helping to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s). Whether doing a living room HIIT session or going for a power walk around the park; the physical and mental benefits of exercise are numerous.
Take a break whether working from home, looking after children, running a home or being a fulltime carer, we all need to take a break to clear the mind and help avoid burnout. Breaks help improve our mental performance, decision-making ability and attention span and also help us gain a better perspective. A post lunch 20 minute nap is a healthy “working from home” habit which will boost alertness and increase your work performance. Top tip: drink a coffee before your nap and the caffeine will kick in just as you are waking!
Surround yourself with positivity – there is a lot of negativity at the moment, reported in the news, which consequently feeds stress and anxiety and distorts our thinking. When we are surrounded by ongoing negativity we begin to think negatively, which can be a hard cycle to break. Try to focus on the positive aspects of the world around you and everything you are grateful for; reflect on your achievements and times of happiness. Also try to set some long-term goals so you have something to look forward to such as going on a holiday, throwing a party, seeing friends and family again.
Getting help- If you, or any of your loved ones are struggling with mental health, it is important to consult with a professional at the earliest opportunity. Early interventions will help deliver the very best outcomes.