Health and Fitness Tip of the Month: Mental Health

By Lauren Daws

According to the NHS, one in four of us will suffer from mental health problems at some point in our lives. With 7.8% of people in the UK meeting the criteria for diagnosis of mixed anxiety and depression; this makes it the most common mental health issue in the UK. With such high numbers of people being affected by mental health, it’s important that we speak about it.

Nearly everyone experiences stress on a day-to-day basis, but what are the best ways to deal with it?

The best ways to deal with stress

  • Instead of viewing stress as a negative, think of it as your body preparing you for the situation. Click here to watch Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk on ‘How to make stress your friend’.
  • Accept the things that you can’t change – trying to control everything and becoming stressed when things don’t go as you wanted them to isn’t a practical way to live. Try to accept things which are out of your control and focus on those that are.
  • Spend time with people you care about – spending time with friends and family can help to take your mind off of the things that are making you stressed.

How can you help yourself?

  • Mindfulness – make sure to take the time to pay attention to the outside world and notice the things that are going on around you rather than focusing on what’s going on in your head.
  • Everything that happens in your life is just an experience and will pass, stay focused on the present moment.
  • Try something new – focusing your energy into something positive is a good way to spend your free time.

Helping someone with mental health problems 

If someone close to you is fighting a mental illness, it’s normal for you to want to help them. But you should make sure that you go about this in the right way to avoid putting any added pressure on them. Here are some tips:

  • Listen to them – while making sure that you’re not forcing them to share anything they’re not comfortable with, offering to just listen to what they’re going through can often be really helpful.
  • Don’t try to ‘fix’ all their issues – just showing that you empathise with their situation and acknowledging the way that they’re feeling is a good way to show your support.

If you are worried that you or someone close to you may be suffering from mental health problems, you can seek guidance from your GP, speak to someone anonymously by calling the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, or take a look at the mental health helplines page on the NHS website.

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