Article contributed by Metta School Senior Psychologist, Mr Leonard Lau
In these days of our fast-paced lifestyle, stressors from our environment are unavoidable. However, as the adage goes, if you can’t change the world, you can change your mindset towards it. Start keeping a healthy and positive YOU when you adopt these mind-happy tips.
1) Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
- Exercise – Research findings have shown that good physical health does enhance our mental wellbeing. Physical exercise releases endorphins to lift our mood and heighten our energy level. Regular physical activity helps to relieve our stress and aids in better memory.
- You are what you eat – Adopt a healthy diet with a low sugar and high good fats intake. This can give us more energy, improve our sleep and boost our mood. We should consciously try to avoid foods that may adversely affect our moods, such as alcohol or sugary snacks.
- Sleep well – Adopt a healthy sleep habit as it can make a difference in our ability to manage stress and balance our moods.
2) Be Socially Active
- Build relationships – Let’s acknowledge the fact that positive relationships with others are important for our mental wellbeing. Humans are social creatures who need to build and keep relationships with other people. There is always a great benefit for us to have meaningful interactions with our family members, relatives, friends, co-workers and even strangers. Such interactions help us to build a sense of positive experiences. At a deeper level, they give us opportunities to support one another emotionally.
- No man is an island – It is a good practice to remind ourselves to cut back on screen time and have direct contact with other people. Don’t let ourselves be socially isolated. Meet people with common interests by joining social, hobby or special interest groups to step out of our circle.
- Lending a hand – Research findings have shown that volunteering or participating in community life is greatly associated with an increase in mental wellbeing. Helping others can enrich our lives and give us a greater sense of meaning and purpose.
3) Keep Stress Levels in Check
- Calm your mind – Stress management strategies and relaxation techniques can help reduce our level of stress. Some of the activities are tai chi, yoga or mindfulness meditation.
- Stop to smell the roses – Put aside time for leisure activities that can give us a sense of fun and also make us feel good, such as listening to our favourite music, cycling, or taking a walk in the neighbourhood park. We need to acknowledge that leisure activities are a mental health necessity.
4) Learning New Knowledge or Skills
- Be a lifelong learner – Continued learning through life is not just about upgrading our employment-related skills set as research findings and anecdotal evidence have shown that learning new things does improve our mental wellbeing by –
– instilling a sense of curiosity (and even fun).
– helps us to build a sense of purpose and meaning.
– Enhance our self-confidence and giving us a sense of achievement.
- Some suggestions – learn a musical instrument, learn to speak a dialect or foreign language, do crosswords, etc.