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How To Improve Your Mental Health

Mental health is such a taboo subject, but the question is why? 30% of the UK's population have suffered with mental health problems, that is 15 million people. That is such a scary and overwhelming figure. What can be done to help reduce this?



What Is mental health and well-being?


Mental health is such a big part of all our lives, it affects how our day will turn out, it has control over what mood we wake up in and also it determines how we have relationships with people around us. According to the 'World Health Organisation' they define mental health as:

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

According to research, 1 in 6 adults have experienced a ‘common mental disorder’ such as depression or anxiety in the past week and 1 in 6 children aged between 6 and 16 experienced a ‘common mental disorder’ in 2021 (Nuffield Trust 2022). Mental health is so important and understanding what you can do to improve your mental well-being is a key skill to have. This article will highlight easy steps you can demonstrate in day to day life.


Get a good night's sleep:


This may sound a simple and obvious step, but studies carried out by the Mental Health Foundation have shown that 1 in 3 people have problems when it comes to sleeping which can lead to mental disorders. Here are 3 tips on how to improve your sleep pattern.


1) Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.


2) Avoid using screens in the evening, including on smartphones and tablets. The light from the screen can have a negative effect on sleep, and social media, news and games can all stimulate your brain and make you feel anxious.


3) Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. They can stop you from falling asleep and prevent deep sleep.


Do some physical exercise:


Not only does exercise improve your physical state and improve the healthiness of your heart but it also improved your mental health and well-being. It is recommended that the average person should do at least 70-105 minutes of physical exercise per week. Physical exercise allows people to notice a decrease in stress levels, increase their self-esteem and also lowers depression and anxiety levels.


Socialising:


We all know seeing friends and family helps to increase mood and allow you just to switch off and have a laugh, whether it is catching up over some retail therapy or at the pub or just a little phone call. It all helps. Dr. Sawchuk says:

We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we're in a community and being around others.

Socialising is also proven to reduce the risk of dementia as it is good for your brain health and improves cognitive skills. This means finding time to socialise is just as important as any other factor which contributes to improving mental health.


Is the rise in social media to blame for the decline in mental health?


More than half the world now uses social media (59%) with an average screen time of over 2.5 hours a day just on social media apps such as Instagram who have around 1.28 billion users. Social media is a great and easy way of keeping in contact with people and a new and cheaper way of digitally marketing your brand however, it is also full of unrealistic 'norms' which people are expected to conform to while also giving a platform for people to demonstrate hate and bullying. Not only does social media affect people's mental health due to the comparison people make to the 'Instagram Models' but it also has led to lower attention span rates and also a disruption to sleep schedules which has a correlation with a decline In mental well-being. Social media has been such a key factor in the effect and control It has over the population (especially the younger generation) that the apps had to do something about it. This has led to stronger regulations being put in place monitoring what is being said online, they have also introduced 'screen time'. This tool allows users to set a time limit on the amount they can use the apps which allows users to regain control.


Mental health is so important and should be everyone's main priority. By incorporating these easy to follow steps into your day-to-day life it should allow you to increase your mental health. If you feel like your mental health is declining, speak to someone. This can be to anyone such as your school, family and also you can chat anonymously to charities such as Samaritans and Mind Org.



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