Thursday 7 June 2018

Why Mental Well-being Should Be On Your Family Health Agenda

Image thanks to Pixabay

When you think about healthy lifestyles, what springs to mind? Most of us tend to think about being active and eating well. Although it’s incredibly beneficial to move more and stick to a healthy diet, don’t underestimate the importance of mental health. For many of us, being healthy is all about having a trim, functional body, but it’s also essential to keep your mind in check. As mental health dominates discussions in the media, is it time to add it to your family health agenda? We all want to be happy, confident, and content and here are some tips to promote mental well-being in your household -

1.  Talk openly 

We live in an age where we’re more connected than ever, but we’re also lonelier. This bizarre juxtaposition can take its toll on both adults and children. Social media and 24-hour access to the Internet can make you feel like you’ve got friends, but many of us go for days, even months without having face to face conversations with people we claim to love and cherish. If your routine consists of the kids coming in from school and firing up the laptop or spending hours on their phone, now is the time to try and introduce periods of time when you can put your phones down and talk. Talk about your day, share funny stories, and chat about how you feel if you’ve had a bad day or you’re feeling a bit stressed. Set a good example for your children. If you bottle everything up, or you devote too much time to chatting online, there’s every chance that your children will follow suit.

2.  Tackle issues head-on 

If you suffer from a mental health condition, you may be reticent to talk about it. There’s a stigma attached to psychological illnesses, and many people still feel uncomfortable discussing how they feel or talking about their behaviour. You probably wouldn’t think twice about telling your work colleagues that you’ve got a bad back, but it’s a totally different story with an addiction or an illness like depression. For some reason, mental illnesses can make us feel embarrassed and ashamed, and there’s also a fear of how other people’s perceptions of us will change. If you are struggling, try and tackle issues head-on, and reach out and ask for help. This can be easier said than done, but you should feel a sense of relief once you know what kind of help is available to you. There are all kinds of options out there, from facilities like an addiction recovery centre and treatments like group therapy to one-to-one counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and grief support. Whatever level of support you need, don’t be scared to ask for help.

Family at the Beach Image by Tom Wang, thanks to Shutterstock

3.  Learn what makes you happy 

Mental health is a subject that should concern all of us. You don’t have to suffer from a psychological condition to pay attention to your well-being. There are lots of steps you can take to protect your mental health and boost happiness and contentment. Make time for the people you love, spend time doing things you enjoy, and learn what makes you happy. Make the most of weekends, summer evenings and days off. Experience things as a family, but give yourself a little time off too. Indulge your interests and passions, and figure out ways you can combat stress and lift your mood on difficult days.

Examples of self-help techniques include meditation, exercise and doing creative activities, such as writing or painting. Most of us tend to prioritise our physical health, but mental well-being is equally important.

Hopefully, this guide has provided some useful tips to help you put mental health on the agenda for all your family, young or old.

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