How to Improve Your Psychological Well-Being
Mental well-being can be defined as both how we feel and how we behave. This includes our emotions and our relationship to other things, whether that be other people or things like your relationship with independence and control.
Whether you like it or not, mental health and mental well-being affect everyone, and mental health issues do not discriminate.
Whilst lots of people believe that certain people don’t suffer from mental health issues, this simply is not the case.
No matter how much money you have, how beautiful or successful you are, mental health affects everyone.
This is why mental well-being is so important.
Mental health also has a huge effect on your overall health, including your physical health. However, many people still put mental health down and refuse to admit that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Whilst more people than ever accept how important mental health is, and society has come on a lot over the past decade, there is still a lot of work to do to convince some people that your mental health should be prioritised.
Mental well-being is a key component of your mental health, and could be seen as a more preventive strategy towards protecting your mental health.
Mental well-being is a series of positive habits and traits inhibited by some people which aim to help them to thrive in life, both physically and mentally.
It is incredibly important to understand that mental well-being isn’t just avoiding a mental health crisis, and to focus on your mental well-being isn’t the feeling of ‘getting by.’
To focus on your mental well-being is to create habits and routines that inhibit a more healthy life, so that you can truly thrive.
If you prioritise your mental well-being, you will find yourself reacting to stresses and challenges more clearly and calmly, and will avoid things like burnout and brain fog.
By focusing on your mental well-being, you will find yourself handling emotion better and acting in a way that is more in line with your core beliefs and values.
Below is a list of traits that are associated with mental well-being .
You should use the below list and compare them to how you feel, to see whether or not you are prioritising or focusing on your mental well-being.
- Personal growth
- Feeling part of a team or family
- Emotional resilience
- Staying true to your core beliefs and values
- Accepting yourself for who you are
- Having hobbies and interests and prioritising them in your spare time
- Coping with stress and adversity well and handling yourself and your emotions well in these situations
- Using your strengths to your advantages
- Acting on your thoughts rather than being passive
- Feeling independent and not co-dependant on other people or other things
- Feeling confident
- Feeling optimistic and confident
- Maintaining and creating new healthy relationships
If you don’t think that you are prioritising the above things, then you might need to focus on prioritising your mental well-being.
Why Does Your Psychological Well-Being Matter?
Your psychological well-being is incredibly important for a number of different reasons.
It is now proven through a number of different studies carried out by a number of different bodies that people with better psychological well-being live physically healthier and happier lives, live longer and also go through their life avoiding more social problems .
By focusing on your psychological well-being, you are also a lot less likely to engage in things like criminal activity, taking part in antisocial behaviour or taking drugs or alcohol throughout your life.
Your mental and emotional psychological well-being will also likely predict your social standing, with people with higher levels of psychological well-being and happiness earning more money, generally having healthier social circles and also engaging in things like volunteering [3,4].
Recent studies are also now showing that positive psychological well-being also links to less stress, less chronic disease, mortality and overall healthier behaviours .
The core of these findings are psychological, with numerous studies proving that a lot of aspects of your physical health rely on your mental health and that those with higher levels of optimism and positive habits are also more likely to exercise more regularly, eat a healthier diet and avoid things like smoking.
Why Do People Often Neglect Their Mental Health?
Unfortunately, millions of people throughout the world are still neglecting their mental health. Although society has made great strides and improvements in prioritising mental health, a lot of people simply do not incorporate mental well-being into their busy lives and daily routines.
In the UK, we’re very lucky that we are becoming more open to different aspects of mental health and psychological well-being, as many countries across the world are still decades behind us when it comes to accepting mental health issues and psychological well-being.
Unfortunately, there is still a huge stigma attached to mental health and mental illnesses.
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to mental health is that if you do suffer from a mental illness, then something is wrong with you. Lots of people, especially men, worry that they will be seen as weak by admitting that they struggle with their mental health.
This is simply not the case.
Mental health is just as important as your physical health, and can slip just as easily as your physical health. This is why psychological well being is so important.
After all, if you neglected your physical health, you would get ill. It is exactly the same with your mental health .
When it comes to your physical health and physical illnesses, you are never seen as weak. So, why is it that people still view mental illnesses as a defining characteristic of a person?
How to Improve Your Psychological Well-Being
There are a number of different ways that you can improve your psychological well-being.
If you are suffering from poor mental well-being, or just want to improve your overall mental health, then you should try to prioritise some of the below suggestions.
Creating a purpose
One of the very best ways you can improve your mental health is to create a life purpose. A lot of people who have a purpose in their life, whether that be their work, their family or helping others find themselves living more positive and fulfilling lives.
The issue is that a lot of people struggle to find their life’s purpose because they don’t know what they care about most.
A lot of people overthink this, and sometimes the best thing that you can do is take a stab in the dark and go for it.
Why not decide that you want to start helping people more? You could volunteer at a food bank on the weekends.
Alternatively, you could decide that your purpose is to care for your family, so why not decide that they will be your priority from now on?
By creating a purpose for yourself, you will feel needed, respected and valued.
You are also more likely to live a life that is more in line with your core values and beliefs and won’t experience any cognitive dissonance (when your thoughts and actions are out of sync with one another).
This might seem like an obvious one, but positive thinking truly can change your life. However, we understand that positive thinking is often easier said than done, especially when you are not in the habit of thinking positively or prioritising your mental health or psychological well-being.
Positive thinking is hard. If you’re going through a tough time, it can be extremely difficult to remain positive.
However, there are a number of positive thinking and positive psychological books, podcasts and useful tools to help you to think more positively and reframe your thoughts and habits.
If you want to prioritise your psychological well-being, then journaling is a great place to start. Lots of people use journaling as a way of writing down your daily thoughts and feelings, so that you can make better sense of them.
You can also use different journaling prompts and diaries to structure your writing so that you can get the very best out of journaling.
You can simply write down your thoughts, or create a checklist for yourself to make sure that you are achieving daily habits to improve your mental and physical health.
Why not make it a routine to sit down and journal the last thing every evening or first thing every morning? By doing so you will start to make more sense of your thoughts and emotions, and will understand your thoughts, habits and actions more clearly.
In fact, positive psychology and joyful coach author, councillor and podcaster Sophie Cliff journals on a regular basis, and is keen to promote others too as well.
Many studies have now shown that helping other people is a great way of improving your mental health and well-being. In fact, studies have shown that helping other people is a great way of reducing stress levels and feeling some sort of achievement.
By helping other people, you will open yourself up to social interaction with new people, learn new life and people skills and will also feel valued and appreciated.
Pro-social behaviour such as volunteering or helping loved ones or people in the community will increase your levels of empathy and will also make you appreciate what you have.
Expressing gratitude is another great way of improving your mental health and psychological well-being.
In fact, positive psychology studies and specialist doctors state that expressing gratitude is now a proven way of making you happier.
This is because gratitude helps you to feel more positive about the world around you, which will in turn help you to appreciate things and other people around you better than ever before.
Expressing gratitude will also help you to improve your relationships with loved ones.
There are a few ways you can practise gratitude on a daily basis. For example, you could try to write down three things that you are grateful for every day.
Alternatively, you can make an effort to speak to people in a more appreciative way, try to listen to your loved ones more actively or treat someone you love or appreciate to a gift or treat.
You can also go on an ‘awe walk’ to feel more appreciative and gratuitous.
An ‘awe walk’ is when you go on a walk in your local area, preferably to the woods or within nature, and try to focus on the beauty that you see.
You might try to focus on the different colours of the leaves and trees, or the sounds of the birds flying overhead. You should make an effort to really look, slow down your thinking and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Identify your strengths
If you want to improve your psychological well-being, then you should try to identify and work on your personal strengths. In order to improve your mindset, you must accept and appreciate yourself and everything you have to offer.
By trying to identify your strengths, you will feel more positive and confident about yourself, your thoughts and your actions.
Why not try to make a list of things that you like about yourself? Or list some things that you think you are really good at? These could be physical, emotional or mental.
Forgive yourself and others for any wrongdoings
In order to feel truly happy and at peace, you must forgive yourself and other people for any wrongdoings.
However, this is a lot easier said than done.
A key component and aspect of forgiving other people is accepting shared humanity. This means that you need to accept that everyone is human and that everyone struggles to do the right thing at some point in their lives.
You must also accept that people are very rarely all good or all bad. People might have bad aspects, but they also must have good aspects too.
Creating positive relationships
Creating positive relationships is also a proven way of creating a more positive and healthy psychological well-being.
You could have a hundred friends, but when it comes to relationships it is important to focus on quality instead of quantity.
This means that you should try to focus the majority of your efforts on those who put the effort in with you.
You should try to prioritise spending time with people who you really admire and appreciate, and with people who admire and appreciate you just as much.
You should try to touch base as much as possible with friends and family members who mean a lot to you, and try to meet up when you can. You should also make an effort to check that they are okay, letting them know that you are there for them should they start to struggle with their mental health or well-being.
Be physically active
If you want to improve your psychological well-being, then try to get physically active by doing something that you love. Studies have shown that physical exercise is now a tried and tested way of improving your mental health and overall well-being.
You should aim to be physically active at least three times a week.
You could take up a sport, join your local gym or simply try to go on more walks in the daytime to get your blood pumping and get some fresh air.
Take frequent breaks
Lots of people who suffer from more mental health and well-being also suffer from burnout.
Burnout is when you feel stressed and exhausted from your work, so much so that you struggle to feel positive about your work or colleagues, and feel a reduced level of accomplishment when you do succeed.
This is why you should make sure that you take frequent breaks if you want to avoid burnout and poor mental well-being.
You should try to set goals for each day so that you remain positive, but you should also make sure that you schedule some breaks on a day-to-day basis so that you have time to relax, focus on yourself and reclaim your energy.
This could be a 20-minute walk around the block or local park, or taking 5 minutes out to go and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
If you are suffering from burnout or depression, then you might need to give yourself longer breaks to feel positive and energised again. This might mean that you need to take some time out over a number of days or weeks.
Why not book yourself some annual leave, or book a much-needed holiday to help you to overcome your burnout and improve your mental health and psychological well-being?
Eat a healthy diet
Nutrition is a huge part of your well-being. A healthy diet has been directly linked to happy and healthy mental and psychological well-being.
Whilst many people accept that you have to eat the right kinds of food in order to maintain a healthy body, eating the right food has also been linked to maintaining a healthy mindset.
Unfortunately, it is very easy and tempting to eat what tastes good and comforting when you are feeling low.
This usually involves eating junk food, high calorific food or sugary snacks.
However, these foods have now been proven to make you feel worse, both physically and mentally. This is because junk food and foods with high levels of sugar interfere with the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
This is why you should try your best to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Healthy foods have also been proven to create a more positive mindset.
This is because fibre-rich, protein-rich and nutrient-rich foods help to clear your mind of any brain fog, help to make you more alert and work hard to improve your concentration levels and rid your body and mind of fatigue.
Below is a list of foods that have been proven to create a positive mindset and support psychological well-being:
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Dark chocolate
Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
Sleep is an incredibly important part of anyone’s mental health and psychological well-being.
This is because individuals who are struggling to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night are a lot more likely to feel anxious or depressed, or struggle to function socially.
Get enough sun
Lots of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD). This happens when individuals do not get enough sunlight throughout the year, particularly in the winter months.
Humans need sunlight to release serotonin, which is responsible for boosting your mood and helping you to feel happy, calm and focused.
If you work from home or live in the UK, then you might find yourself staying indoors a lot, which can be bad for your mental health. This is why you should try to get out and about in the sunshine at least once a day – when the UK weather allows it, of course.
Avoid alcohol and other drugs
Unfortunately, lots of people who suffer from depression, anxiety and an overall low psychological well-being find themselves turning to drugs and alcohol as a way of trying to cope.
However, this is not a healthy way of trying to cope with your emotions.
Why is Protecting Your Mental Health More Important Now Than Ever Before?
Unfortunately, it is more important than ever before to protect and prioritise your mental health and psychological well-being.
This is because it is becoming easier and easier to slip into a poor mental mindset and poor mental well-being.
Unfortunately, studies are also showing that suicide has now become the second leading cause of death when it comes to individuals aged between 15 and 29 years old.
This could be down to the fact that people are busier than ever before, with work demands taking over family life and social media creating a significant level of distraction and expectation, especially for young people.
Treatments for Mental Health Issues
There are a number of ways that you can get help for a mental illness.
The most popular way is to get help from a therapist or counsellor, who will be able to discuss your mental health issues with you in a private, one-to-one and entirely confidential environment.
If you suffer from trauma or underlying and deep-rooted emotions and habits, then your therapist might suggest that you would benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy, which aims to help you to make better decisions and habits.
There are also a number of helplines available to anyone living in the UK which are on hand to help people if they are having a mental health issue or crisis.
If you are struggling from a mental health issue, or are trying to improve your psychological well-being but are struggling to, then you can call someone at the following places
- Samaritans – 116 123
- SANEline – 0300 304 7000
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK – 0800 689 5652
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – 0800 58 58 58
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