The NHS suggests that there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. These self-care ideas could help you feel more positive, and help you get the most out of your life.
- Connect with other people
Good relationships can help you build a sense of belonging and self-worth. They can provide you with emotional support and in turn allow you to support others.
- Be physically active
Being active is great for your physical health and provides benefits for your mental wellbeing. Physical activity can boost your self-esteem and causes chemical changes in your brain, which can help to positively affect your mood.
- Learn new skills
Learning a new skill can increase self-confidence, raise self-esteem, and can help you feel a sense of purpose.
- Give to others
Giving to others and showing kindness can be very rewarding. It can give you a feeling of purpose and self-worth, and help you to connect with other people.
- Pay attention to the present moment
Paying more attention to the present moment – including your thoughts, feelings, body and surroundings – can improve your mental wellbeing. This is often referred to as mindfulness.
For more information on the 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing, see the NHS self-help guide.
Mindfulness is a technique in which you notice what is happening in the present moment, such as your thoughts, feelings and surroundings.
Practising mindfulness can help improve your mental wellbeing, as it helps you to notice and enjoy the world around you more, and can help you understand yourself better.
Mindfulness aims to help you:
- Become more self-aware
- Feel calmer and less stressed
- Feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
- Cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
- Be kinder towards yourself
You might find mindfulness very helpful. Or you might feel like it doesn’t work or makes you feel worse. It’s important to do what works for you and your mental health. You can talk to your GP about what kinds of treatments might suit you best. You might find trying mindfulness is useful while waiting to receive other types of treatment.
Find out more about mindfulness via the Mind website.
How to practise mindfulness
It’s hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Take some time to experience your environment with all of your senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste).
Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
Focus on your breathing
When you have negative thoughts try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as you breathe in and out. Doing this even, just for a minute, can help.
Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your focus, note the experience, and then return to focusing on your breathing.
Find a quiet place around 10 to 20 feet in length and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking and the sensation of standing. When you reach the end of your path, turn, and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
Try new things
Sitting in a different place for lunch or going for a walk somewhere new can help you notice the world in a different way.