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Mental Health Matters
Mental Health

How to improve your mental well-being

In this article we will take a dive into mental health wellness and explore the link between our mental and physical health.

What is mental health?

One of the first things we need to understand is that being mentally healthy is more than being free of emotional problems. Positive mental health wellness means the ability to make and keep strong relationships, having a sense of purpose about life, and feeling good about who you are.

It’s also about the ability to adapt to change and deal with life’s challenges. This, the ability to cope with difficult situations, is what we call ‘resilience’. Resilient people are not afraid of what life might hold. They are able to stay positive, be flexible and be willing to take on uncertainty, because they know they will come out on the other end better for the experience.

The link between mental health and physical health

Physical and mental health impact on each other. Research shows that people with mental health conditions often have a physical problem too. Depression for example, often comes with headaches and exhaustion. Anxiety brings with it insomnia and upset stomachs.

Why does this happen? This might be a result of medication, it might be that you have lost the will to look after yourself, or you might not be getting the support you need to change the lifestyle behaviours that are impacting on your mental health, like drinking alcohol. It could also be that your health care practitioner may not be checking your physical symptoms (your blood pressure, for example) once they have diagnosed a mental health issue.

How to help yourself

When you improve your physical health, you will automatically make an impact on your mental health.

Exercise regularly. We know that exercise releases chemicals called endorphins that lift our mood and give us more energy. At the same time, regular exercise helps us sleep and can relieve stress and provide a sense of purpose.

Get enough sleep. This is a challenge because while poor sleep is a symptom of many mental problems, like anxiety, not sleeping enough can worsen your mental health. Work on introducing good sleep practices, like using relaxation techniques, switching off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, and ensuring your room is a quiet, dark sanctuary.

Keep relationships alive When you are emotionally distressed it can be hard to keep in contact with friends and family, and to give them the support and attention they need. But it’s important to make the effort to stay connected. Research shows that people who have social connections are both physically and mentally healthier and tend to live longer.

Get professional help. If you have tried to improve your mental health on your own but are still struggling, then it may be time to get some much-needed help. Make an appointment with one of the professional counsellors at Company Wellness Solutions or call to speak to a counsellor – 0800 014 818.

You can also visit https://cwseap.co.za/ to chat to a counsellor