9 ways to protect your mental health
Developing positive coping strategies is a great way to improve wellbeing, reduce stress and anxiety, and support positive mental health. Although these strategies may seem simplistic, it has been shown that the little things can make a big difference. Everyone is different and when it comes to promoting good mental health and wellbeing, it’s important to explore different strategies to find out what works for you and ensure that you implement these into your everyday life.
Take some time to yourself
Taking some time for ourselves everyday can help us feel less stressed and improve our relationships which will positively impact our mental health. Take up a new hobby or rediscover an old interest because keeping learning and being mentally stimulated protects our mental health. This doesn’t have to be a major commitment and things like picking up a good book, doing some exercise, or cooking a meal can all be beneficial.
Enjoy the moment
Life can be busy, challenging and overwhelming at times. We often forget to appreciate where we are or allow ourselves time to find and feel grateful for the positives we have enjoyed. Practice being present in the moment. Take the time to notice the world around you, your own thoughts and feelings.
Be kind to others and yourself
The smallest acts of kindness really can make a difference. Giving to others makes other people and you feel good by creating positive feelings and a sense of self-worth and value. Remember to be kind to yourself too. For example, think about something you’re proud of, or say something nice to yourself that you’ve heard other people say to you.
Appreciate and express gratitude
Appreciation and gratitude help us focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have. They help us feel positive emotions, cope with adversity, and build strong relationships; all of which support positive mental health. For example, thinking of someone you know who’s done something you appreciate and let them know.
Reframe unhelpful thoughts
Unhelpful negative thoughts can lead to unhelpful, negative feelings and actions. It’s possible to influence this process and we can improve our mental health as a result.
For example, try to take perspective and consider what you might say to a friend, family member or colleague thinking in the same way. Sometimes it can be difficult to replace a negative thought with a positive one and that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong, but if we continue to practice challenging the negative thoughts we experience, we can improve our ability to reframe them in a more helpful and positive way.
Connect with others
Feelings of loneliness negatively affect our mental health and wellbeing. By reaching out and making a meaningful connection with people who share common ground, ideas and values, we can develop a sense of belonging. Having good support networks in place, such as through sport, protects our mental health.
Humour improves our wellbeing and reduces stress. Laughter has been shown to positively impact our mental and physical health. Where possible, try to appreciate the lighter side of life. Maybe make time to watch a comedy on TV, listen to a funny podcast, tell a joke or remember something that made you laugh.
Practice saying no
Saying ‘no’ can be difficult for many people. However, saying ‘no’ is an important part of setting personal boundaries and allowing us more time to focus on the things that we need or want from life. Taking on too much can lead to stress, feeling overwhelmed, neglecting the things that matter to us, and ultimately it can negatively impact our mental health.
Enjoy green space and nature
Contact with green space has been associated with benefits to our mental health, particularly in terms of reducing our stress levels. If you’re able to, get outside and spend some time in a park, forest, or train outdoors.
BONUS: Learn more about mental health in sport
If you want to take a deeper dive into the mental health of young people in sports, then look no further than our ‘Mental Health for Young Players’ eLearning pathway. Hosted on the Accelerate Sport LXP Platform, the pathway comprises of 4 online sports training courses.
- Understanding Mental Health in Young Players
- Dealing with Anxiety in Young Players
- Building Resilience in Young Players
- Tackling Eating Disorders in Sport
Learn more about the pathway, and discover how you can earn discounts on your course purchases.
Click HERE to find out more.