How are you (really)?
If you were to ask yourself this question - ‘How are you? Really?’ - how would you answer?
This month, we’re discussing all things mental health. Here at Revealed, we have just launched our new topic about emotional wellbeing, and on the 10th of October, we (along with the rest of the world!) will be marking World Mental Health Day. We thought this month we would take a look at mental health and how we can take care of our emotional well-being.
Mental health includes our emotional, social and psychological well-being, which can all have an impact on many areas of our lives – including our thoughts, feelings, actions, and the way we relate to each other. Many people can find themselves struggling with their feelings from time to time – it is more common than you may think.
It is very important that we learn to recognise, and take care of, our mental health – just in the same way we would take care of our physical health. So how can we do that?
Firstly, it is important to learn to recognise what we are feeling. Some emotions – sadness, grief, and anger, for example – may be difficult to cope with, as well as the pressures and stresses of everyday life – like with school or college, work, or relationships. Sometimes, things can get on top of us, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with how much we have to do, or the events that are happening in our lives. It is natural to experience ups and downs – but it is important to keep an eye on how we are feeling, and to make sure we are taking care of ourselves emotionally.
Thankfully there are small everyday changes we can all make to help support our emotional wellbeing. Try these if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions:
1. Go outside. I recommend this all the time, because I know from experience – whatever I am feeling, or whatever the circumstances, a walk to the park seems to clear my head. Sometimes, a change of scene can really help to put things into perspective.
2. Be mindful. As a culture, we’re incredibly fast-paced, and it’s easy to forget to slow down. Sometimes, sitting in a quiet room, closing our eyes and breathing deeply can help us to really slow down and connect with how we are feeling. Or, if you love a good app, there are a few based on mindfulness that may help you to take a few moments to breathe each day.
3. Gratitude. Science proves it - being thankful is beneficial to our well-being in a multitude of ways and can even make us feel more enthusiastic, determined and energetic, according to Dr Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California. Try keeping a gratitude journal – once a day, scribble down something you’re grateful for, however small.
4. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which makes us happier – it’s even recommended by the NHS for improved mental health. Whether it’s going out for a run, doing a Pilates video on YouTube or going swimming – it all counts.
5. Lean on your loved ones. Everyone needs a bit of help from time to time. It can help to talk to our friends and family – preferably in person, or perhaps over the phone. Sometimes you might just need someone you trust to listen for a while – and you can always repay the favour later!
Remember, these ideas are good for maintaining overall emotional well-being, mental health is very important, and can sometimes be a little more complex and serious, in which case you may need outside help. If you are struggling, do not hesitate to seek help from a GP, teacher, or family member, or from this list of helplines to mental health services.
To see the services Revealed offer – covering a whole range of topics including emotional well-being, healthy relationships, identity, and more – click here.