Mental Health & Wellbeing | 10 achievable steps to a healthier mind

I've been fairly open and honest on here about my struggle with anxiety. 

I think it is important to be open about these things, and not just to shut it away from the outside world like a dirty secret.

It isn't and never will be.

Anxiety and depression and real. They are normal and people in all walks of life suffer with them daily.


More importantly, shutting it away only escalates the problem internally in most cases.

The only voice you have to confide it or to offer assurance is your own. 

You know, that voice that's telling you you're no good or that something terrible is going to happen?

That voice ain't gonna help is it?

And in my struggle over the years (the many, many years!) I have tried lots of techniques to try and help. Some really don't work (for me), like CBT but some, fortunately have.

So here is my list of 10 achievable (and I think that word is super important here because sometimes tips out there to help seem achievable in your current mindset or like a lot of hard work. Don't worry, these ones are easy!) steps to a healthier mind.




  1. Read.
    I have never been a big reader in life, mainly because my mind is always on such overdrive that I could never fully get into a book. Whilst reading a sentence, I was actively thinking about a thousand other things and not really taking the words I was reading in. It always sort of defeated the object of trying to read to relax and take my mind off things.
    But then I posted not long ago, 'What's on my bookshelf?' where I talked about how I have found a new love for books. I think the key is to A. Perserve; stick with it because sometimes a book can take a chapter or two to really get going and start to take your mind elsewhere and B. Find a really good book; not all books are going to be your sort of thing. So discover your favourite genre or author and stick to it. If you don't like it, try something else. You will get there, I promise. And when you do, you will be so fully immersed in that book, all of your other worries will disappear.
    Also, their are some great self-help books out there at the moment which could not only gently pull you into the world of ready, but also offer some great tips and help. I love Fearne Cotton's books and Katie Piper for this kind of thing.

  2. Cut the caffeine
    This is something that my GP has been telling me for years. Well, not to cut the caffeine as such, but to cut down on my tea-intake! I'm a tea lover, what can I say, I drink more than the average person I'm sure. I thought cutting down was a preposterous idea and didn't fully understand why I needed to cut down on it or the effects that caffeine could have on the body.
    But then recently I read a few posts from people who had made the switch to decaffeinated drinks and the positive effects that it had had for them, especially those suffering with anxiety.Caffeine is a stimulant. A stimulant that can cause or fuel anxiety. In addition to that, it can cause sleep problems (not great for someone suffering anxiety as night times can often be the worst time for an overactive mind), palpitations and headaches. All of which I suffered. I made the simple switch a few weeks ago now from normal tea to decaffeinated and once I was over the initial withdrawal symptoms, the effects have been great. I have had no problem sleeping (other than wanting to go to bed at like 9pm every night!), no headaches and no palpitations. It's been miraculous and I would urge anyone suffering to make the same swap.It costs around the same price and tastes no different to normal tea, so there's kinda nothing to lose by doing so!
  3. Gentle exercise
    I'm saying gentle exercise, because that's what works for me. I don't really enjoy physical exercise but I understand that my physical health has a direct effect on my mental health and releases all the endorphins..blah, blah, blah. If running or going to the gym is your thang, then go for it, the effects all round are only going to be positive ones. But if you are a lazy oaf like moi, then try some yoga, pilates or simple walking.
    Walking is my exercise of choice. I love walking and being outdoors. I think it really gives you the time to stop an appreciate the world and all that's in it. I look at the scenery, the nature all around me and I people watch as I go. I don't have to get hot and sweaty, I don't have to engage with anyone if I don't want to and I can really take a moment to myself to reassess. All whilst being (kinda) physical and releasing those all important endorphins! Sometimes, just a 10 minute walk, helps blow away the cobwebs and clear the air. I can quite often get bogged down with indoor tasks like cleaning or blogging, so getting myself out and about is really needed to grab some air and clarity.
  4. Pamper yourself
    This one is all about taking a bit of me time, but also, spending that little bit of extra time on yourself with a long soak, a face mask or a trip to the hairdressers can really help give your confidence a little boost, thus, helping your anxiety a little along the way.
    Much of my anxiety is surrounding my low self-esteem so a little pamper session every now and then can really help me.
  5. Herbal remedies
    This might not be for everyone, and there are a few options out there but I can't recommend Bach's rescue remedy enough. Now, whether or not it's a placebo or not, I don't know. But I kinda don't care even if it is, because it works! A few drops of Bach's under my tongue before anything that is particularly nerve racking, settles me down within 15 minutes or so.
    It got me through a driving test I never thought I'd even make it to, I was that nervous beforehand. But I sailed through it with my rescue remedy to hand!
  6. Set mini goals and build on them
    Sometimes, setting simple goals for the day can really make you feel like you have achieved something, even if that is just getting out of bed in the morning when you are at your lowest! Breaking down larger tasks that need to be into mini ones can also make them feel much less overwhelming and will take the pressure off.
    But in terms of mental health and wellbeing, setting small goals and then building those up gradually to much larger ones can be really helpful in achieving something that really pushes us out of our comfort zone. Choose something that makes you anxious like speaking on the telephone and set yourself the small goal of calling a friend that week, then build up to ordering a take-away or booking an appointment in a quick ten minute phone-call to then progressing to perhaps being able to do a telephone interview for a job or taking a job that involves call taking. The more you achieve in the smaller goals, the more confidence you will have to push that further.
  7. Avoid negativity
    Negativity is all around us and it can be quite difficult to avoid, but when I am in a particularly bad place, I find that the negativity I see on social media or in the news really triggers my anxiety more. Coming off social media altogether or avoiding the news can be helpful in these times. It might be that you have a particularly negative friend that can have a adverse effect on you and drag you down. Distancing yourself from that negative person temporarily and seeking out those friends who help to shine a light on your darkest days and promote positivity will make you feel better.
    Basically, know your triggers. Know where the negativity comes from in your life and try to avoid or limit it. For me, as terrible as it sounds, but I have to avoid social media posts and TV shows surrounding people getting ill and dying, like from Cancer. I have had to walk out of the room throughout all of the SU2C stuff that has been on TV when they start the real life stories VTs in the middle of a programme like the Bake off does SU2C. I don't know why but they just fill me with dread and set off my anxiety so bad I can't sleep that night for fear or losing another loved one to the horrible thing that is Cancer.
    I've just signed up to receive The Happy Newspaper, which I think is a wonderful idea to help spread a bit of positive news to balance out all the bad we hear on a daily basis. If you want to know more, check out www.thehappynewspaper.com
  8. Use motivational quotes
    This might seem a little cheesy, but when I'm feeling low or anxious, I find that some inspirational or motivational quotes really give me the little boost I need to work through it. They help me feel like I'm not alone in this and that things are achievable. Try following some meme accounts on social media, start a pinterest board, make a notebook or use post-it notes to post your favourites around  the house as a daily reminder or boost you need.
  9. Do something! 
    Sometimes, and I have no idea why, my anxiety can hit me like a ton of bricks about nothing in particular, but I find that it usually happens in times I am feeling my most calm, like sitting and watching TV or eating my lunch. Weird huh? Most mindfulness techniques are all about relaxing and calming yourself, but with an overactive mind like mine, that sometimes isn't the best things.
    I find that if I keep busy at times when my anxiety hits like that, my mind is taken off whatever it is I was worried about. And sometimes I don't even know what it is I am worried about. My tummy just flips and palpitations start and I can't shift it until I do something and get busy.
    I do anything from decide to stick some loud music on to belt out and dance around to (my mind can't get a look in when I'm busy singing happy songs), bake a cake or do some cleaning. But you can do anything, just to take your mind elsewhere for a moment.
  10. Breathe.
    Kinda seems like an obvious one, but it is such an important thing to remember. When we are anxious or tense, our breathing can go one of two ways; we either stop altogether and hold our breath (I do this at the dentists when I'm tense!) or it increases so rapidly we can't catch a breath properly (mine does this when I'm nervous and I can hardly talk, I get so out of breath).
    The easiest way to control this, is to mindfully breathe. Think about every breath in and out and pace it yourself. Don't let the anxiety control is for you. Just inhale and exhale, nice and deeply. If it helps, you can also count each breath in 1, 2, 3 and each breath out 1, 2, 3. 


I think in general, what's important though is to look after yourself. 

That includes mentally as well as physically. 

Give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself. 

Sometimes, just getting dressed is an achievement. Take that.

Give yourself time. 

Time to think, to breathe, to just be.

Sometimes we just need to do nothing. To be nothing.

Sometimes we just need to keep busy. To keep our mind off things.
Listen to your body and your mind.

Slow down the pace a little and appreciate things a little more.

And get outside. Enjoy the breeze. Take in the scenery. The nature. The air. 

Do what makes you happy and seek out the joys in life. 

~

I hope these steps help you, if only a little, as they have done me.

If they don't, don't give up.

There are many more techniques out there that may work for you.

Persevere and you can over come this. 

I promise.

12 comments:

  1. I've struggled with anxiety as long as I can remember, but it's only since having my second baby that I've finally sought help. I've book marked this for later. I know giving up caffeine is going to benefit me so much... but... I REALLY LOVE TEA lol.

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    1. Haha I really love tea too. Like, A LOT! But honestly, decaf tastes no different and means I've not had to cut down at all so my addiction can continue ;-)

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  2. I find exercise of any kind really helps to clear my mind. I always say that a good brisk walk and fresh air is enough to blow the cobwebs away if I wake up feeling a bit blah.

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    1. Oh yes definitely. Sometimes I have absolutely no motivation to go for a walk at all but I make myself and feel so much better for it. Being stuck indoors can really drag my mood down.

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  3. Interesting what you say about caffeine. I recently switched to green tea due to stomach problems and it makes me feel so much better!

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  4. Caffeine is definitely a trigger for me but I love my coffee so much. I stuck to two cups a day now which has meant my symptoms have reduced drastically.

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    1. Yes, its definitely a trigger for me too. I couldn't face cutting down though so opted for the decaf option so I could still drink my tea in abundance haha! Have you tried switching to decaf coffee? I'm not a coffee drinker so don't know if it tastes any different? The tea doesnt.

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  5. One thing I like to live by is forget the past. I found a lot of mental health are to do with the past and once you can change your mind set to it's done I can't change it it starts to make everything else so much easier x

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    1. Oh yes, great advice! It's totally all about mindset isn't it.
      Luckily the past isn't a trigger for me but I could do with telling myself I can't change things that happen so I should just go for it!

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