Health

10 steps for your mental health

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In the same way as we look after our physical health, we should also take care of our mental health. In most cases, even small routines or patterns of activity consciously incorporated into our everyday lives will help. Our “10 steps for your mental health” give you targeted, easy-to-implement suggestions for improving your wellbeing.

The brainchild of the Austrian association pro mente Oberösterreich, the campaign is represented in Switzerland by the Swiss NPG mental health network.

1. Stay active

Have you taken any exercise yet today? This might mean going for a walk or a jog, doing some exercises for your back, or doing some vacuum cleaning: Keeping active can take various forms. The main thing is to get moving! 

Physical activity leads to the release of nerve growth factor. This results in the formation of new nerve cells or synapses. Exercise also brings about changes in brain chemistry, triggering the release of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. 

So try to take some exercise every day. Do you have trouble fitting exercise into your daily routine, or do you find it difficult to get going? If so, it may be best to incorporate exercise into the things you already do. For example, use the stairs instead of the elevator or take a longer route on your walk home. 

2. Talk about it

Tell people what’s on your mind. Whether you talk to good friends, someone you trust, colleagues or a supervisor at work, or perhaps even consult a mental health professional: Putting your feelings, problems, and fears into words works wonders. 

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    Talk to a professional

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3. Ask for help

Asking for help takes courage, and it can trigger a positive feeling. By asking for help you are actively doing something rather than feeling helpless and at the mercy of your feelings and worries. Give it a try – start with something small perhaps: For example, you might ask your neighbor whether he has some ingredient you forgot to buy, or you could ask your friend whether she can mind your child for a few hours. When you ask people for help they’ll usually be pleased to think you’re placing trust in them and will be more than happy to oblige.

4. Learn something new

When was the last time you learned something new? There are countless different ways you can apply yourself to something new, whether it be through video tutorials, a visit to a museum, or by trying out a new recipe. New stimuli are very important for our brain and hence for our mental health. 

There’s sure to be something you’d still like to learn in this life. Go for it!

5. Relax

You don’t have to work hard first to deserve a break. Breaks and relaxation are necessary for our psychological wellbeing. Switch off now and again enjoy some downtime. Use whatever helps you best (e.g. music, walking, or meditation).

6. Allow your creativity to blossom

Engaging in something creative can provide a good balance to everyday life and possible tensions. Perhaps you’re already active in various areas and just need some inspiration? Whether you take up cooking, music, painting, photography, or gardening: Many leisure activities have a creative component. Consciously devote some time to the one that interests you the most!

7. Get involved

Feeling part of something strengthens people’s mental health. There are various ways of getting involved, be it in the neighborhood, through an organization, or in some other group or community. When was the last time you exchanged ideas or got involved in something in some form? Join an association dedicated to one of your interests, give some of your free time to a charitable organization, or start your own club.  

8. Keep in touch with friends

Friendships are important for our psychological wellbeing. They give us strength, a sense of security, and confidence. Make sure you devote enough time to friendships! Are there some old friends you haven’t seen for a while? Then get in touch and suggest meeting up regularly. It does you good to spend time with people who know you and that you trust. 

9. Accept yourself

We’re all unique. Focus on your strengths instead of counting your flaws and mistakes. Ask yourself what makes you satisfied in your personal life and in your job, what you’re passionate about, and try to devote as much time as possible to your joys and passions. Take pleasure in little things, too.

10. Don’t give up

We’ve all been through phases when things weren’t going well for us and when everything may have felt hopeless. Don’t give up on yourself in such moments, and make sure you get help. Don’t know where to turn to? You might find these resources helpful.

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    Online courses to strengthen mental wellbeing

    You can also take a proactive approach to mental wellbeing. For example, with an online course from HelloBetter. Enter the code “helloaxa” and you’ll even get a EUR 30 discount.

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Important:

If you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, consult a doctor immediately, or contact the “Die Dargebotene Hand/La Main Tendue” organization on 143.

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