And like most aspects of health, I suspect prevention is better than cure. Looking after your mental wellbeing needn’t be painful, introspective or time consuming, in fact most likely it involves fitting in a few more of the activities you enjoy into life. It might even include eating some tasty foods. On that note, I thought I’d post a few mind friendly resources to celebrate World Mental Health Day (which was yesterday, y’know, but I figured an early night would do my mind more good than staying up blogging).
Do something nice for yourself today
5-a-day for your mind the mindapples project is well worth checking out, they want to “make looking after our minds as natural as brushing our teeth” through a 5 a day for the mind.
Get moving all moving is great, activities that get you outside even better. Walking, gardening, running – whatever you fancy.
Start a happiness project – I can’t recommend Gretchen Ruben’s happiness project blog enough. It’s stacked full of happiness experiments for you to pick and choose from
Sit still and breathe headspace have a beginners guide to meditation, starting with just 10 minutes a day. Sitting still has to be the cheapest, most portable stress reliever ever
Be nice to yourself Just do something nice for yourself. Oh and speak kindly to yourself too.
Food and mood are inextricably linked
Eat real food – the Whitehall II study, a long running study following over 10,000 civil servants found that those who ate more processed foods (fried foods, sweets, refined grains) were more likely to develop depression than those who ate a less processed diet high in wholegrains and fruit and vegetables. You might also want to take it a step further and go for a Mediterranean style diet – recent research suggests that this may be protective against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Give your body what it needs our minds run on flesh and blood hardware after all, so it’s no surprise that if there’s something lacking from our diets we’re more likely to run into mental health difficulties. The Mental Health Foundation and Sustain both have really good guides. Our brains also like to be well hydrated to work at their best.
Keep a healthy weight I work with a lot of people with very severe weight problems and it always strikes me how many of them also suffer from depression. Turns out there’s a reciprocal link here – depression increases the risk of becoming obese while obesity seems to predispose us to depression
Learn about how our minds work
If like me you just find how our minds work fascinating you might like these resources
All in the mind is an excellent BBC podcast exploring the limits and potential of the human mind
Psychology Today is a massive collection of fascinating articles with new ones added all the time.
And if you’re already worried
Go and talk to your GP – don’t be scared, they’re human and you might even have more in common than you’d think. The good news is that there are lots of services now for mental health difficulties, especially those that are more common like mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress. And it’s not all drugs, treatments range from talking therapies through to bibliotherapy and gardening therapies.
Contact MIND – in the UK we have a fantastic mental health charity called MIND who
have a phone helpline, great information on their website and local
centres providing courses and other activities in your local community.
(and the photos? Two of my personal mind apples)
How do you pamper your mind?