It is so important to focus on our mental health. According to Mind charity, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a kind of mental health problem per year. Now more than ever, we need to focus on taking care of ourselves and improving our mental state.
One way in which we can all take steps to care for ourselves is to have a positive outlook or positive mental attitude. A positive mental attitude can not only see us achieve more in our day to day activities and relationships, but it can also increase our sense of achievement. Motivation is an integral part of obtaining a positive mental attitude. Regardless of the circumstances around us, we can influence how we respond to any situation.
Here are some tips to stay positive, keep motivated, and help you to look after your mind and mental health:
Often, our lives are so busy we have hundreds of thoughts hurtling through our heads. This can be extremely overwhelming and stress-inducing. It’s really important to take a moment to just breath. The power of slowing down, focusing on your breathing, and calming your thoughts is massively overlooked. Practice controlling your breathing with this handy breathwork technique:
- Sit calmly and upright (or try this while lying down)
- Keep your mouth closed and inhale through your nose to the count of four
- Keep your breath held to the count of seven, and finally, exhale out your mouth to the count of eight
- Repeat this process a minimum of three times to feel relaxed but you can keep this going for as long as it takes for you to feel relaxed.
Concentrating on calming down your breathing helps to target overthinking and diminish stressed and negative thoughts. If you find this technique to be helpful, try to work it into your daily routine.
GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF EXERCISE
Getting your blood pumping and endorphins flowing is a fantastic way of keeping on top of your mental health and improving your outlook on the day. Physical activity has been proven to help improve your quality of sleep, improve your mood through the release of feel-good hormones, and reduce the risk of depression.
To enhance these positive effects, try getting up early and fitting a run in before your work day to set you up in a great mood for a good mental health day.
If you’re not a runner or not an early bird, no need to panic! There’s so many different forms of exercise to try. How about a brisk walk on your lunch break? Or a yoga class in the evening? You will no doubt be able to find something you enjoy. Chances are, you’ll also be joining a community of like-minded people, which equally improves your mental health!
If you need motivational tips for persevering through a workout, keep on reading to see how listening to music and podcasts can influence your motivation levels…
PUT YOUR HEADPHONES IN
Music has the power to really change your mood. It can be seriously uplifting and motivational. Listening to your favourite playlist can make even the most mundane task seem appealing.
Music has also been proven to improve sporting performance. Coupling your favourite motivational playlist with your daily exercise is a two in one route to a positive day. Extensive research by Dr Costas Karageorghis, a sport psychologist at Brunel University, has shown performance benefits of up to 15% in some people when listening to music.
“As well as enhancing performance, music lowers the perception of effort” Karageorghis says. “It dulls or masks some of the pain associated with training. We know from scanning the brain that when athletes are played loud upbeat music there is an increase in activity in the ascending reticular activating system.”
So music not only improves your mood but it also improves your performance. What could be more motivating?
Listening to music isn’t for everyone though. For those who would prefer to skip the music, it’s worth trying out podcasts. There are so many free podcasts available on the Podcast app covering a huge variety of topics, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
There are documentaries, true crime, comedy, daily news, educational podcasts and relaxing podcasts to name a few.
Here’s a list of some podcasts focusing on motivational and positive material:
- The Quiet Life – Michael James Wong is an author, speaker, meditation teacher and interviews inspiring people to discuss home practices for the mind and mental health
- Happy Place by Fearne Cotton – Fearne talks to incredible people about life, love, and loss as guests reveal what happiness means to them
- Gretchen Rubin – is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and co-host of Happier Podcast and she’s known as the queen of self-help. Gretchen’s podcast focuses on ideas and ways to make your life happier.
It’s so important to maintain connections and relationships with people. Even those that are long distance. It’s hard when everyone’s calendars fill up and you get so busy and overwhelmed, but regardless, it’s important to schedule in a time to catch up with those that are important to you. A phone call with a family member or arranging to meet up with an old friend goes a long way and you may be shocked by how much it improves your mood.
At the same time, it’s also great to have your own space. If your work means you are constantly surrounded by others and you find yourself craving some alone time, make sure to schedule that in! Go on a walk and listen to a new podcasts (see recommendations above), or plan in some time to sit down and watch your favourite TV show. It’s all about balance.
FILTER YOUR CONTENT
We can easily get into the habit of tuning into the daily news channel. However, constantly hearing bad news being churned out can take a toll on your mental health. Whilst it is important to keep up to date with current affairs, try to filter the content you absorb to make sure it isn’t negatively impacting your wellbeing. If it starts to impact your mood, it’s time to turn it off.
Perhaps switch up your daily news intake by following The Good News Movement (@goodnews_movement) and The Happy News (@thehappynewspaper) on Instagram for a daily dose of positive news and wonderful people. It’s a great way to improve your mood!
Overall, it’s incredibly important to be self-aware and recognise the signs of a deteriorating mental state. Remember to ask for help and advice when you need it.