World Mental Health Month

October is World Mental Health Month.

I’m not going to say that mental health matters now more than ever, but recent global events, economic uncertainty, war and political events, and a rise in mental health disorders, certainly mean that a focus on our mental health is incredibly important. 

So isn’t it great to know that there are many simple ways that we can support our own mental health, and for many of us, this is enough to enjoy the benefits of positive mental health. 

So What Exactly Is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

It encompasses how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life and its challenges. 

Mental health matters at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence and all the way through adulthood.

Just as our physical health fluctuates, our mental health can vary over time. 

It's influenced by various factors, including biological factors (such as genetics and brain chemistry), life experiences, and our family history.

Why do we want good mental heath?

Our mental health greatly affects how we experience our day-to-day life.  Here are some reasons why striving for good mental health is so worthwhile.

Emotional Well-being: We experience a wide range of positive emotions such as happiness, contentment, and joy. It enables us to better manage and understand our emotions.

Physical Health: Mental health and physical health are interconnected. Chronic stress and mental health disorders can contribute to physical health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, weakened immune system, and digestive issues.

Resilience: Mental health resilience enables us to cope with challenges, adversity, and trauma. Resilience means we can bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and adapt to change.

Productivity and Creativity: Good mental health enhances our cognitive functions, including concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills. It promotes creativity and innovation, contributing to productivity at work and in various aspects of life.

Healthy Relationships: It allows us to communicate effectively, empathise with others, and maintain strong connections, leading us to supportive and fulfilling relationships.

Reduced Risk of Mental Health Disorders: Good mental health practices, such as stress management, regular exercise, and social support, can reduce the risk of developing mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Improved Decision Making: When we are in a positive mental state, we can think more clearly, weigh options effectively, and make decisions that align with our goals and values.

Community and Societal Impact: We are more likely to engage in social activities, volunteer, and support others, creating a more supportive and compassionate society.

How We Can Influence Our Mental Health?

The great news is we all have so much power to influence our mental health.

And there are no pre-requisites, these are things that everyone can incorporate into our lives, in whatever ways work for us.

Stay Connected: Our social interactions provide vital emotional support and strengthen relationships.

Move Regularly: To boost our physical health and release stress-relieving endorphins.

Prioritise Sleep: And establish a relaxing bedtime routine.

Nature Time: For reduced stress, a mood boost, and a greater sense of connection.

Mindful Screen Time: Be conscious of social media use, set boundaries, and engage in real-life connections and activities that support our well-being.

Professional Support: Seek help from mental health professionals when we need it; therapy and counselling are great options.

Leverage Positive Psychology: Explore the benefits of positive psychology practices for enhanced mental well-being.

How Can I Leverage Positive Psychology?

At its core, positive psychology focuses on cultivating strengths, fostering positive emotions, and nurturing meaningful connections. 

It’s a paradigm that understands mental health as more than the absence of illness—it’s about flourishing, resilience, and genuine happiness. 

Here are some positive psychology practices we can all use to support our mental health.

Gratitude: Reflecting on what we're thankful for fosters contentment and joy, shifting focus from scarcity to abundance.

Mindfulness: Anchoring in the present, mindfulness reduces stress, enhances self-awareness, and promotes calm and balance.

Resilience: Seeing setbacks as growth opportunities strengthens resilience, reframing challenges as stepping stones for personal development.

Journaling: Encourages self-reflection, gratitude, and emotional expression, enhancing self-awareness and overall psychological well-being.

Positive Relationships: Investing in connections and kindness enriches social lives, significantly contributing to happiness and well-being.

Meaningful Goals: Pursuing clear, achievable goals provides direction, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment.

It’s About Consistency Not Perfection

Looking after our mental health, and using these practices, is about consistency and what happens most of the time, not perfection.

It's not about flawless execution or having a perfect mindset at all times. Mental health is a journey, and like any journey, there are ups and downs, and self-compassion is key.

Enjoy taking the time to explore what practices feel right to you.

What makes you feel the best, what relaxes you, what brings you joy?

Who are the people, and what are the activities, that make you most feel most like yourself?

If you start there, you can’t go wrong. 

And check out our guided Grow Journals, which we created to be simple, enjoyable ways that anyone can enjoy the benefits of positive psychology.

We have a Journal for Kids, a Journal for Teens, and a Journal for Adults (launching November 2023).

Head to our website if you'd like to learn more.