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Mental Health Awareness Week: Improving your Mental Wellbeing

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Mental health problems are incredibly common. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week have experienced a common mental health problem. Just as people are not defined by their physical injuries and disabilities, mental illness is not a character flaw and is not a sign of personal weakness. Defining people by their condition contributes to the stigma attached to mental illness, and prevents people that need help from speaking out. We can confront that stigma by treating people with mental health problems with dignity and by raising awareness of how we can improve our mental wellbeing in our day to day lives. Mental wellbeing is about being able to cope with everyday troubles and having a positive outlook on life. You could work towards this by:

Learning new skills – Why not learn a new language or work on your public speaking? Personal achievement can help us to realise our potential and give us a sense of purpose, which boosts self-confidence and mental wellbeing.

Being active – Exercise can be easily shaped into a social activity with friends or family, and the benefits of regular exercise to our mental health have been long documented, improving memory and concentration. Regular physical activity is also found to be a strong complement to therapy as a means to reduce stress levels and the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.

Being mindful – It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and strains of modern life, but research shows that taking just a few minutes out to acknowledge our surroundings in the present moment helps us to better manage our thoughts and emotions. There are a number of free resources available that can help you to make a habit out of meditation.

Surrounding yourself with good people –As little as a friend to speak to when we are feeling low can be enough to lift our mood and help us feel more connected to society, reducing stress and anxiety levels. Why not reach out to an old friend that you’ve been meaning to catch up with for ages?

Spending time away from toxic people – Working to reduce the influence that negative people have over your decisions – those that leave you feeling drained by their criticism, selfishness or dependency – means that you are better able to focus on your own needs, ambitions and happiness. Instead of wasting time trying to improve the perspective of somebody that doesn’t want to see the bright side, spend more time building relationships with the people that respect and support you.

For more information about World Mental Health Day, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website. Sources of help and guidance can be found at www.mind.org.uk

If you feel like you have a problem that can’t be solved, you don’t need to suffer in silence. The College of Animal Welfare offers free counselling services to their students on an ongoing basis as needed, and up to six sessions are available to staff free of charge. Appointments are available face-to-face as well as by video conference, FaceTime or similar. For more information on how to book an appointment please visit our website.

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