You only need to run for a bus or to lift something heavier than usual to become aware of the importance of your physical health. However, if you want to maximize your enjoyment of life you also need to focus on and improve mental health.

You need to ensure that you can maintain your balance by managing the ever-present danger provided by too much stress and pressure. One important and very obvious way, is to find time to replenish your mental state by spending time each week doing activities you enjoy.

What are the 5 ways you can improve mental health this week?

I try to ensure I achieve some of the following each day and most each week to feel calm and reduce any stress and pressure I’m feeling.

Sleep

It is well documented that a good nights sleep can set you up for the next day. Sometimes we don’t have the choice e.g. if we have young children and/or an over demanding job, but a sustained lack of sleep can lead to mental degradation and poor decision making. I know now that 7.5 hours sleep each night works well for me and since I wake and rise at 5.30am so most nights I’m asleep, alcohol free, by 10pm. I also find that writing, reading or reflecting in the hour before prepares me well.

Routine

I don’t particularly like routine during the day (although I should to maximize productivity) but I do first thing in the morning as it gets me mentally prepared to meet the day positively, clearly and consistently. For me 7 days a week it is “coffee – reflection and visualisation – unstacking the dishwasher – shower and dress – into the day”. You’ll find a routine that works for you.

Walk on the beach

Spending time outdoors translates to improved mental health and if it is in sight of the sea or in a park surrounded by trees and flowers, it boosts one’s spirit and endorphin levels. I like to walk on the beach, but step it up a notch it with a swim or a run or a cycle and you’re hitting the jackpot physically and mentally.

Laugh

Laughter is similar to exercise in that both are profoundly good for our mental and physical health. Laughter, similar to exercise, reduces stress hormone levels and elevates levels of endorphins, the mood improving neurochemicals that are so crucial to our mental wellbeing. So when I’m feeling gloomy its off to You Tube for a dose of Monty Python or Only Fools and Horses (or other older British male demographic humour).

Watching our sons play basketball

So this is obviously very personal and specific but works for me because we share in something they and the whole family enjoys (except when they play badly in which case the feel good factor backfires).

My list of 5 is simple but very effective for me – I am certain of doing the first two each day and most, if not all, of the five each week, which leaves me feeling less stressed and more mentally replenished.

Can you make happen 5 things that would help you become mentally fresher each week?


 

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