Counsellor Sarah Barr gives a guide on ways to be mentally healthy.

Mental health describes how we think and feel about ourselves. Which impacts on how we cope with stress, face challenges, build relationships and move on from difficult experiences.Our mental well-being can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.

Having a good mental health is not about having no mental health problems.
There is plenty of things you can do to take control of your mental health.Some people who are mentally healthy have these positive characteristics:
  • A sense of contentment
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Feel and express a range of emotions
  • Build and maintain good relationships with other people
  • A sense of meaning and purpose
  • Cope with stresses of everyday life
  • A willingness to learn new things
  • Flexible to change
  • A balance between work and play
  • Self-confidence.

These positive characteristics of mental health enable you to participate in life to the full and the ability to cope when faced with challenges.

It is important to say being mentally healthy does not mean never going through hard times, as we all face loss, disappointment and change. Although these are normal parts of life, they can cause anxiety, sadness, depression and stress. People with a strong mental health are better equipped to bouce back. This ability is called resilience.

People who are mentally resilient have tools for coping. They may remain focused and flexible. Even when they do not know how to solve a problem, they know a solution is there, it is just about finding it.

What you can do to help your mental well-being

1. Check-in with yourself

Think about what may be affecting your mental health. We are all different and have different personalities and life stories. Therefore what affects one person’s mental health may not affect yours.

We all have times when our mental health is low, we feel stressed, anxious or depressed. This may be triggered by a life event, feeling lonely, relationship or work problems or financial worry.

Other times there may be no clear reason as to why we feel the way we do, perhaps it may be something that is unresolved from your past.

It is about recognising the triggers that are negative for your own mental well-being.


2. Building positive relationships

Connecting with other people can help decrease loneliness and give us a sense of belonging.

By making time and priotising the people you love can help improve your mental well-being.

Other options include joining a group or class, meeting people with a shared interest will improve your self-confidence and build a support network.

Talking to those who you trust about how you feel will also help you feel secure and reassured.

3. Be active

Staying active is good for your mental health. Your body and mind are linked, therefore by improving your physical health it will have a positive effect to your mental health.

Physical activities release endorphin’s which are chemicals that lift your mood. Regular exercise can relieve stress, improve memory and hep you to sleep better.

4. Do what you love

Ask yourself what do you love to do? and how often do you do it? If we do not prioritse a hobby or an interest we are not prioritising ourselves.

When we do something we love, such as swimming or reading we will feel good about ourselves, which improves our mood and outlook on life. Yet when we do not designate time to do these things we can become more stressed.

5. Self-Care

“You cannot pour from an empty cup”.

Self-care is vital, it is not selfish. If you do not look after yourself it is is difficult to care for others. Self-care can improve your mood, confidence and help you better cope with lifes challenges and stresses.

Self-care can range from sitting down with a cup of tea for ten minutes, having a bath or going for a spa day. Whatever it is just make sure you take time for yourself, you deserve it!

6. Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can improve our mental well-being, it reminds us of what we have to be grateful for. So instead of focusing on negatives and what we don’t have, we are focusing on what we do have, creating gratitude.

Practicing gratitude can be done either by writing down all that you are grateful for or by reminding yourself daily by going through the list in your mind.

If you have made efforts to improve your mental health and feel that you may need extra help or support.

Counselling may be an option.

I am available for a free consultation in Letterkenny and Moville to talk a little more on the benefits of counselling. I can be contacted by calling 0864477867 or through my facebook page.

Take Care~ Sarah.