A look at positive mental health

Written by Carolyn Simmonds at London Works and Abdulkarim Jeylanni from ELBA

Often, when we think about mental health, society has conditioned us to come up with a negative label or connotation. In this piece, we will be exploring positive mental health and hopefully by the end of this article you will learn some simple tips to maintain a positive mind state which will aim to improve your wellbeing and encourage more positivity in your daily life.

So, let’s dive in, what is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of our lives, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

According to statista.com in England in 2020 there were approximately 35,300 people reported to have registered under the mental health act. Given that the population of the UK is 67.8 million, we can assume that 81% of the population have positive mental health, is this good enough? What can we do to help the others and help each other?

Here are our simple tips for some first steps you can take to look after your mental wellbeing:

  • Physical activity: most physical activity will release happy hormones, it’s proven to help with depression without the side effects of medication. Harvard found that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%, therefore staying active will help with positivity.
  • Social media: although social media can be damaging to our wellbeing, some can be positive too! Find aspirational and feel-good content; join supportive online groups with positive and inspiring messages which make you feel happy and brings a smile.
  • Talk with likeminded people: talking about your feelings is a sign of strength and can help you become more determined and confident. It also gives people an opportunity to let you know just how great you are! It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up your feelings, it might encourage others to do the same.
  • Stay hydrated – In a 2018 study of over 3,000 adults by Healthline, those who drank more water had a lower risk of anxiety and depression than those who drank less water. Therefore, don’t walk past the water cooler, instead keep a glass of water near you and stay hydrated.
  • Self-Care – be kind to yourself and love yourself. Life is so busy, and we often forget ourselves, so take that break, go for a walk, get back in contact with an old friend, dance like no one is watching, sing out loud like Lulu, Lionel Ritchie and Little Mix to release your Endorphins, Dopamine and Oxytocin hormones…….or for some, perhaps retail therapy.
  • Food and nutrition -There’s an array of food which encourages mental health, why not try to incorporate the following and see if they work for you. Salmon, whole grains, avocados, spinach, yogurt, nuts, olive oil, tomatoes, and dark chocolate. Create something nice and share it with friends, because, as they say, ‘sharing is caring’.

Here is a list of what we, here at EBLA, got involved with recently as part of our internal WELBA team (wellbeing at ELBA):

  • Laughter yoga
  • Whole team lunch
  • Lunch time bike ride
  • Creative drawing
  • Team quiz
  • Stretch and flex
  • Lunch walk
  • Stress awareness session

There’s always going to be things that are sent to try us, so it’s important to remember that it is our reaction and response that determines the outcome. Situations can be controlled if we think about our responses, so if we practise positive responses this will more than likely result in a positive outcome, but initially, this could take some practise. Remember, events + responses = outcomes! E + R = O.

We hope some of what you have read has changed you perception on what mental health is or at least it’s given you another viewpoint with which to consider Mental Health, but also remind you that a positive mental approach can reap so many benefits to your health and well-being, relationships, and friendships and hopefully give you a more positive approach to your life.

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