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MENTAL WELLBEING 

Caring for our Minds

Our mental wellbeing is one of the most important aspects of keeping ourselves healthy, but is often forgotten about or isn't discussed. Maintaining a healthy mindset is not always that easy and it is important to remember that no one can have a positive mindset all the time. However, our mental wellbeing can affect how we cope with stress, how we relate to others, how we make choices and it helps us to realise our own abilities. Throughout this section of the page we will look at how we can try to maintain a positive mindset, help others to gain a positive mindset and what we can do when the inevitable happens and we just aren't feeling that positive.

 
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*IMPORTANT MESSAGE*

Mental health is a very important and very sensitive topic, if anyone has any concerns related to the information discussed below, I have added some platforms which offer support, information and guidance. Please access these support networks or reach out to family and friends.

 

Positive Mindsets

When someone has a positive mindset it often means that they will have a positive outlook and will have high expectations of how things are going to turn out. Positive thinking can become a habit the more that you do it. Positive thinking does not mean we should ignore or avoid the bad things in life, what it does mean though is that we can find a different perspective and believe in our abilities to overcome these situations.
Like I said before, it isn't possible to have this mindset all the time but here are some things we can do that will help to maintain a positive mindset:

 

Positive or Fixed Mindset?

In this video it will explain the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset (a growth mindset is the same as a positive mindset). 3.40 will provide you with some tips to help you switch on to a growth mindset.

 
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5 STEPS TO MENTAL WELLBEING 

Trying to maintain our mental wellbeing doesn't need to be a massive task - here are 5 things that you can do daily or weekly that can help keep our minds healthy!

 

CONNECT

Connecting with other people and building relationships is really important for your mental wellbeing. People can provide emotional support and give you the opportunity to share past, present, and future experiences.


HOW WE CAN CONNECT:

  • Try to make time every day to be with your family and friends. Having dinner together, playing board games, going for walks, or just talking to each other are all great ways to connect.

  • Think about meeting people you haven't seen in a while, it might be friends that you don't go to school with or a member of the family (I know that this can be hard in the current situation but even a phone call or FaceTime can help).

  • Volunteer - this can be a great way to meet new people and also help out in your community (Click Here for volunteering opportunities in Orkney).

  • Try not to rely on technology or social media to build relationships.

BE ACTIVE 

When we exercise our body releases endorphins, these endorphins can trigger a positive feeling in the body that can almost instantly make us feel happier and more energetic. Regular exercise has also been proven to reduce stress, lessen feelings of anxiety and boost self-esteem. It also has its obvious physical benefits too.


HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED:

Sometimes people can feel a little low or demotivated when it comes to exercise so it is important to take small steps and make achievable goals. Start by going for a walk every other night, the fresh air and exercise are a great combination.

If you start feeling more confident you could maybe think about trying a new sport or continue going to an existing sport. Try to find an activity that you enjoy and make it a natural part of your week, even the smallest amount of exercise can make us feel better.

KEEP LEARNING

Through research, it has been discovered that your mental wellbeing can be improved by continuing to learn new skills. It has been known to raise self-confidence and self-esteem and it can help you connect to others.


WHAT WE CAN LEARN:

Sometimes it might seem that we have a lot going on and don't have time to start learning something new, but it is important to remember to make small achievable goals.

  • Instead of trying to learn a new language in a week why not try to learn one word every other day.

  • Try to learn to cook something new (maybe something healthy?).

  • Try taking on a new DIY project - there are loads of craft projects that you can find online.

  • Take on a new hobby, learn to paint, write a blog, maybe learn a new sport.

GIVE

Giving is a great act of kindness that not only helps to improve your mental wellbeing but can also help to improve others. Acts of kindness come in all sizes from giving someone a smile or saying thank you to offering to help someone or volunteering in your community. It is often suggested that you should try to attempt one act of kindness once a week.


SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS:

  • Make someone smile

  • Give someone a compliment

  • Help someone out

  • Donate blankets or clothes to a shelter or charity shop

  • Pick up rubbish around town

TAKE NOTICE

It has been suggested that being aware of what is happening around you can improve your mental wellbeing. 'Living in the moment' means that you are aware of your thoughts and feelings and you are aware of what is going on in the world around you. This mindfulness can help you to enjoy each day and will also help you to gain a better understanding of yourself and how you feel.


REMEMBERING TO TAKE NOTICE:

The best way to take notice is by living in the moment, take a moment in the day away from everything you are doing and just enjoy your surroundings!

Another way is to take notice of others, really take notice of how your friends are feeling.

OTHER IDEAS

Although you can build most of these steps into your daily routine sometimes something even smaller can help set you up for the day, why not try some of these:

  • Start the day off positive, something as simple as telling yourself it is going to be a good day.

  • Listen to an uplifting and positive playlist.

  • Surround yourself with positive people!

  • Practice positive self-talk (Click here to find examples).

HELPING OTHERS 

It is really important to look out for yourself and your own mental wellbeing, but also to help and support others when needed.
Taking notice (like discussed above) is a really easy way to help everyone maintain a positive mindset. Sometimes simply asking someone if they are okay gives them the opportunity to open up and talk, or just let them know that you are there to speak to or help if they need it.
If one of your friends or a family member talks to you about their mental wellbeing it is really important to actively listen to them, if you do not feel like you can offer them the support that they might need it is okay to encourage them to speak to an adult or use the resources found on this page. Always remember that it is their choice, try not to force someone to discuss how they are feeling. Sometimes even just a conversation can help.

 
 
Image by Matthew Ball

MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS

Know that you are not alone

 

There has been a lot of talk on this page so far about Mental WELLBEING, if you do ever feel a little low, however, it is very important to remember that this is normal, there is a very common saying "it's okay, not to be okay!" This remains true for those who live with a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression.

Everyone's mental wellbeing changes on a daily basis and you don't have to have a mental health diagnosis to experience a lower level of mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing can be impacted by many factors in our everyday life and we all cope with challenging situations in different ways so it's okay if you struggle with something that others don't. The important part is how we help ourselves and others towards mental wellbeing.

 
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*KEEP IN MIND*

Below is a list of some common examples of feelings that can have an impact on our mental wellbeing. Some of these feelings are medically diagnosed and it is important to remember that only a health professional can diagnose them.
The information that follows is very subjective, everyone will experience different aspects of mental wellbeing and it is important to remember that what works for one person will not necessarily work for everyone. It is also important to remember that it can take time to get back to a place of positive mental wellbeing so whatever you do just keep trying your best.

 
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DEPRESSION

Image by Matthew Henry

SELF-ESTEEM