Promote mental health and wellness beyond Bell Let’s Talk Day
Bell Let’s Talk Day takes place annually on January 29. Join the conversation by focusing on building awareness, acceptance and action around mental health.
Maintaining mind, body, and spirit contributes to good mental health and your ability to participate freely in the things you enjoy, deal with life’s challenges effectively and fulfill your potential; ideally while making a positive contribution to the world around you.
Here are six other ways to help you promote mental health and wellness.
1. CHALLENGE YOUR THINKING
Challenge your thinking before someone else does. The world is changing at record speed and we are forced to keep up with the pace of change. Over time, we become comfortable with our patterns of thinking and tend to rely on ‘taken for granted’ assumptions. When our thinking goes unchallenged, it can become outdated, irrelevant, and out of step with reality. Goleman reminds us to take notice of that which we may be overlooking,
The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds. (Goleman, 1985, p. 24)
Taking a moment to slow down and reflect on mental processes is a good way to challenge your thinking making sure your worldview, attitudes, and actions match the changing world around you.
2. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
According to a Harvard Medical School article, “gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible”. A number of psychological studies have demonstrated a link between good mental health and gratitude. Studies have shown that individuals who practice gratitude with regularity feel more optimistic about their lives, exercise more and make fewer visits to physicians compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation. The article also indicated, “gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power”. It is a good reminder for all of us, at the end of each day to think of at least two things to be grateful for.
“Gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”– Harvard Medical School
3. ACTS OF KINDNESS
An act of kindness is a behavioural response of compassion and actions that are selfless; or a mindset that places compassion for others before one’s interests. When we perform random acts of kindness, it promotes gratitude, empathy and compassion, reduces stress and enhances mental and physical health (Screenivasan & Weinberger (2017). Make someone laugh, say good morning to the bus driver, listen to a friend who is having a bad day and acknowledge kindness towards yourself.
4. SOCIAL NETWORK
Social networking allows individuals to be part of a community and strengthen relationships. Use networking as a source of gathering information and enjoy emotional and healthy social connections. Use apps to inspire change and healthy lifestyle options, but remember to check in with yourself and put your mental health first, schedule time to use social media, and schedule time away (Painted Brain, 2020). Some examples of apps available are Moodfit and Stop, Breathe and Think, which are both available from Google Play or the Apple store. Moodfit provides daily goals, boosts mood, keeps a gratitude journal to inspire positives in your life as well as mindfulness exercises and provides insight into mood and sleep. Stop, Breathe and Think guides checking in on feelings and offers short activities to be able to tune in with emotions.
“Use apps to inspire change and healthy lifestyle options, but remember to check in with yourself and put your mental health first, schedule time to use social media, and schedule time away.”– Painted Brain, 2020
5. HEALTHY HABITS
Healthy habits are essential for maintaining mind, body, and spirit. You’ve heard it all before–the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise and uninterrupted and enough sleep. Rather than elaborate on what you likely already know, I invite you to apply the point above and challenge your thinking about healthy habits.
Ask yourself, what does a healthy diet look like? What are some ways that I can increase my physical activity? What can I do to eliminate disruptions to my sleep and ensure I maintain regular sleep patterns?
6. APPLY YOUR STRENGTHS
According to Naimark (2018), when we have inner strength, it allows us to pursue our dreams and goals and live life to the fullest. When we apply our inner strengths such as moving with and embracing change, knowing when to ask for help and being open to learning, it can help with positive thoughts, encourage patience and push persistence. Set small, realistic goals while embracing one’s uniqueness, potential and capabilities (Stoerkel, 2019). Start with small goals and make a list of what you would like to achieve today, tomorrow, next week and long term. Create a calendar and mark off achievements as you go. Reward your accomplishments and celebrate successes with friends and family.
Moving beyond Bell Let’s Talk Day, what will you do to ensure you’re being considerate of yours and others mental health?
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Visit letstalk.bell.ca for a list of organizations with helpful resources.
If you’re a student at AU, our dedicated counsellors are here to help. Contact Counselling at AU today.