This week is mental health awareness week. But what is mental health, and how do we look after ours?

five ways to wellbeing Connect, Keep Learning, Be Active, Take Notice, Givefive ways to wellbeing

Posted on: 9 May 2019

A common misunderstanding is to equate the term ‘mental health’ with ‘mental illness’.

We all have mental health in the same way we have physical health

Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem.

If you’re in good mental health, you can:

  • make the most of your potential
  • cope with life
  • play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.

Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’ and it’s just as important as good physical health.

Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.

Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time.

Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.

There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.

Evidence suggests there are 5 steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing.

If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.

Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. Learn more in Connect for mental wellbeing.

Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Learn more in Get active for mental wellbeing.

Visit Active Devon for a list of activities near you – from gardening clubs to Couch to 5k running groups, there’s something for everyone.

Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Find out more in learn for mental wellbeing.  Visit Learn Devon for local learning opportunities.

Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Learn more in Give for mental wellbeing

You can find out more about volunteering opportunities in Devon through our volunteering communities website.

Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Learn more in Mindfulness for mental wellbeing

It’s Naturally Healthy month throughout May, so there’s no better way to be mindful than getting out and about in our natural surroundings.

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