How simple lifestyle changes can help you build coping skills for the future.

Everyone knows you have to work at getting physically fit.  But what about mental fitness?

The two key components of mental fitness are resilience and mental well-being.

Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity. Everyone has different levels of resilience, but this is something that you can build on.

Mental Wellbeing is the state of feeling comfortable, healthy and happy with opportunities to live a fulfilled life, a key part of being mentally fit.

Common factors associated with building resilience include:

  1. Maintaining a positive outlook on yourself, the world around you and your future
  2. Feeling motivated and energised to achieve your goals.
  3. Being able to focus on your needs, feeling you have a purpose in life
  4. Self-confidence, liking yourself and having a sense of self-worth.
  5. Accepting support from friends, family or people at work. Appreciating what others do for you.
  6. Building acceptance skills: learn to accept that everything won’t be perfect all the time, avoid blaming yourself for things that are not your fault.

What could stop you accessing support?

There are a number of reasons why you might find it difficult to access help:

  • You might be scared of being seen as different from others
  • Research shows that the single most commonly reported barrier to professional help-seeking is ‘Stigma’.
  • Stigma means negative attitudes towards people with mental health difficulties. Stigma can affect how others see us or even the way we see ourselves.
  • Not feeling a sense of safety and trust when you are accessing support.

 

How can I overcome this problem?

Some simple Dos and Don’ts to help you build mental fitness by building mental wellbeing and resilience include:

 

Do:

  • Keep Learning: When was the last time you tried something new? Keep your mind active, challenge yourself and learn something new. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting off? There’s no time like the present.
  • Be Active: When was the last time you got up and out? Keep moving and exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean the gym-it can be a walk, dancing, playing in the park with friends, or just taking your dog for a walk.
  • Give: When was the last time you made someone smile? This could involve giving your time, volunteering, help a stranger, lending a friendly ear, smile or helping hand.
  • Connect: When was the last time you laughed until you cried? Keep in touch and make contact with family or friends. Ring a mate, arrange a meet up.
  • Take Notice: When was the last time you noticed things around you? Take in your surroundings and acknowledge your abilities. Appreciate yourself and your surroundings.

Don’t:

  • DON’T Struggle on your own. Ask for help when you need it.
  • DON’T Use alcohol or drugs to cope with your feelings
  • DON’T Ignore suicidal ideas. You can be helped with this: family doctors, counsellors and other professionals are trained to listen without judging.
  • DON’T Be afraid to open up.

Trying some of these will help to restore your mental wellbeing and build resilience for the future.

 

Useful Contacts:

  • Mind Info line: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm) mind.org.uk
  • Samaritans 116 123 (UK and ROI) Advice on coping with suicidal ideas and crises. samaritans.org
  • NHS Choices nhs.uk
    Includes advice and guidance to help you live well.
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