We all know the basics of looking after our physical health (even if we don’t do it that well). It’s part of our everyday lives – people think about their diets, they go to the gym, they join a sports team – it’s about getting into good habits.
The key to good mental health is no different. Its about introducing new habits into our lives. This sounds simple, but it’s certainly not easy. Changing our habits can be hard work, we often need support, but the results can be life-changing!
Trouble is, most people don’t know how to look after their mental health. Yet research tells us that probably 2 out of 3 adults in the UK would benefit from improving their mental wellbeing. Sure, we might jog along OK but we experience anxiety and stress on a fairly regular basis. We might lack motivation, feel stuck in a rut, worry about the future.
And 1 in 4 of us can expect to experience mental ill-health such as depression or anxiety, which can have a devastating effect on our work, our families, and our lives. A recent World Health Organisation report estimated that up to 90% of GPs time is spent dealing with mental and physical ailments which are stress-related.
How do we react? Our most likely responses are to ‘do nothing, just live with it’, ‘eat comfort or junk food’, or ‘spend time alone’ – all strategies which are pretty certain to make things worse.
Good mental health is, if not more important, than good physical health. For everyone there will be times when more attention is needed than others.