With October 10 being World Mental Health Day, there are heaps of articles and on-line pages offering advice on caring for your mental health.

BSSC’s celebrations are our contribution to this important day. But even more important is each of us caring for ourselves and others—because what we do really can make a difference.

Maybe we should all just stop for a minute or two and ask ourselves: how am I going? Am I making being mentally healthy a priority?

To find out how you’re going, consider these questions*

  • Do you think about yourself positively? Do you remind yourself—daily—of those things you do well? Perhaps you are a great friend? A person who really knows how to persevere? Maybe you make the most of your creative talents?
  • Are you grateful for what is going well? Gratitude is linked to improved well-being. Even when we feel overwhelmed, we can still be thankful for what is NOT going wrong.
  • Have you worked on that skill of being in the ‘moment’? Mindfulness is paying attention to simple stuff. Like standing in the shower and really feeling the water on your skin; the lovely warmth; the sound of the rushing water. This is so great for your mind.
  • How much exercise do get? It’s actually essential for good mental health. Exercise helps get rid of stress chemicals and boost the ‘feel-good’ endorphins that make a difference to how we perceive the world.
  • Do you eat for your whole body or just your tastebuds? Our bodies need the right fuel and our brains cannot work properly without it. A balanced diet, like exercise, increases the chemicals that calm our moods, keep us alert and maximise our capacity to learn new things more easily.
  • Sleep also really, really, really matters to our overall health as well as a positive mood. So just before bed, switch off screens, minimise coffee and consider a nice hot shower or bath.
  • Take a break. Step away from situations that are stressful. Close your eyes. Breathe in and out slowly for ten deep breaths and use mindfulness to notice how your chest and abdomen rises and fall, how the air feels as it rushes, cold, into your nose, and then leaves warmed by your body. Try this amazing little technique—it really works.
  • When you feel bad, open up to someone. Talking to a person you trust has so many benefits. These include helping you to realise that others value you and that you belong–which you do of course!
  • Doing something for someone else builds self-esteem and positive/mood-enhancing good feelings between two people. Knowing you are valued is also a boost to you. Thinking of others helps some people have a break from their own problems. It develops empathy too.

*From Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201510/9-ways-you-can-improve-your-mental-health-today