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Adult psychology, Behaviour, Child Psychology, Children, Health, Mental Health, Mind-Body, Mindfulness, Parenting, Psychology, Strategies, Women

What Can I Do? Strategies for improving mental health and wellbeing

Whilst working with  clients and their presenting issues a lot of similar themes arose. In addition when people are diagnosed with a particular illness then there is a cluster of similar symptoms.
Today I thought it helpful to put forward those major presenting problems and what was and is normally recommended as treatment and more positive behaviour.

Sleep. Some might say this is the pot calling the kettle black. Yes I am a night owl but I do listen to my body and when I truly need sleep I follow my body’s signs. Also if I am starting to creep into some really bad habits then I break the circuit and start again. I know I know I don’t have the added difficulty of medication, mental illness or even other health problems that may be impairing the quality of sleep I get. But we have to start somewhere, work with our own situation and give everything a try. What is going to be lost by giving something a go? Nothing. All suggestions will be recommended for adults. They issues presented are relevant to children too though other solutions would be suggested that were age appropriate.
Sleep Strategies:
* Ensure at least 8 hours quality sleep per night
* Heading to bed prior to midnight 😉 (Those on social media will laugh loud at this one for me. As I said I am providing recommendations. Nobody is perfect)
* Limit caffeinated drinks to the day or watch and listen to your body so you know how late you are able to have them yet still go to bed at a reasonable time
* Ensure your room is reasonably ventilated
* Make sure you are not too hot or too cold
* Bright lighting affects amount of sleep and sleep quality. Ensure the room is dark enough
* Make sure you have exercised and been active during the day. Tire yourself out.
* Wake up a similar time every day. The more we tend to sleep in the later we tend to stay up. Work out what is right for your body and stick with it. Bodies love routine.
Unable to get to sleep try:
– Warm Milk (I’m sure others would suggest alcohol but in all seriousness this actually may affect the quality by waking you up mid sleep when the alcohol drowsiness has worn off)
– Meditation or relaxation
– Calming music
– Yoga
– Read a book
– Get up out of bed. Do a mundane task like folding washing, ironing, sweeping the floor, washing dishes. Then head back to bed.
– Resist lying in bed tossing and turning. After 15-30minutes get up and try aforementioned tasks.
– Heat bag, water bottle
– Write in a journal any thoughts you may be ruminating over
Some Feng Shui Remedies also include:
– No exposed beams over the bed
– Fresh Sheets and covers often
– Clear space under the bed (no shoes, storage, books) as they all affect quality of sleep
Holistic remedies:
– Calm and Clear flower essence
– Lavender essential oil/ mist spray
– Sodalite Crystal

Appetite:
People really can get distressed if their appetite does not stay the same. Whether it is losing that hearty appetite you once had or over eating to the point you begin to put on weight.
– Keep having regular small meals to give your body fuel
– Nutritional meals with lots of vegetables and fruit etc….. you all know the drill and I am not a dietician
– Avoid emotional eating, look to your journal first and then use distraction if that doesn’t stop the craving
– Enjoy meals with other people whether that is going out, inviting them over or just sharing a sandwich with them in the lunch room at work.

Energy:
This can be unsettling for people. Particularly if they are used to be active. Therefore to keep regular energy levels its important to use your energy. It’s like charging a car battery. The more you use it and for the longer periods of time the better charged it gets and the more energy and quality energy at that, that it has.
* Undertake tasks that you are interested
* Play sport or something similar like hiking or riding bikes. Anything that gets you moving.
* Ensure you have enough sleep as this definitely impacts upon energy levels
* Eat nutritional food. The less nutritional the more sluggish we become.

Mood:
This one can be a difficult one to manage. It’s not that easy to just “snap out of it”
Mood diaries are really helpful in gaining an insight into the patterns we have. Upon recording just for one week you will find that you feel certain ways on certain days, you have certain triggers of people, situations, foods even. When this is all in black and white it is difficult to ignore isn’t it. (Email me if you would like a template of a mood chart)
– Be aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions
– Be aware of triggers and avoid them when you are feeling down or lower in mood
– Have positive thoughts and affirmations you can use during stressful or tough situations
– Surround yourself with people you know make you smile, laugh or feel happy. Avoid people who don’t
– Go outside and exercise would be even better. Vitamin D and endorphins are great for you.
– Listen to your favourite uplifting music
– Call family and friends often (only if they are not a stressor of course)

Libido
Yes this is definitely affected during times of symptomatic mental illness. To ensure and promote positive mental health the answer is simple, enjoy! There are so many positives to arise [yes I went there ;-)] out of partaking in “relations” with others.
Regular sexual intercourse definitely improves the hormone levels in you body and reduces others.
Just Do It as they say 😉
(Please use protection etc etc…)

Concentration
We find that many people suffer from reduced rates of concentration. A lot has to do with the thoughts that are invading the brain but also to do with what areas of the brain are stimulated at the point in time.
To ensure good levels of concentration and less impact from deterioration in mental health
undertake:
– games that use your thinking areas: there are app’s now, DS, computer and in the paper. Do those cryptic crosswords, any crossword for that fact. Sudoko, word finds, brain training games.
– use your brain to calculate items at the shop
– go different paths to work, school or a friend’s house.
– read

Interests/activity
– Exercise is a major recommendation here, exercise reduces cortisol levels (stress hormones) in the blood.
– Ensure that when you are feeling low to continue to attempt to do that which you are interested in
– Find new areas and activities that keep your interest
– Love music, art and drawing. Do that then.
– Be passionate at whatever you are engaging in. If you lose interest that is ok. Move to something else as staying with that, does not keep your interest and will then impact upon your mental health state.
– Be active in any way you can.
– Yoga is a great way to be active for mind, body and spirit. Just ask Yoga JG (Home of the heart)

Below has been lifted from a post I wrote during last years mental health week focusing on Children

So below I have written some points to focus upon to improve and promote positive mental health and wellbeing in children.
* Ensure positive and secure attachments with parents or major caregivers.
* Provide guidelines/rules and boundaries that supply a safe, effective space that encourages learning and self development.
* Be clear about these and do not change “the goal posts” all the time
*Surround children with positive role models as to how to conduct themselves and the qualities they may aspire to have.
* Encourage self worth
* Be consistent in your parenting
* Provide encouragement regularly.
* Highlight positive and desired behaviour often.  Even if it is behaviour we “expect” reinforce it often.
* Make consequences immediate. Children have short attention spans therefore will not connect past behaviour with current reaction/consequence if much later.
* Most of all – Promote Self Love

I hope that some of these strategies are helpful for you. Feel free to list anything else you find useful in the comments for other people to see.

Its Mental Health Week this week and I have opened a link for a blog hop. Would love you to join in. Be the change. Lets talk about this.



Get the code yourself:
get the InLinkz code

If you have immediate concerns for your child or adolescent please contact your general practitioner who will refer you to the appropriate mental health service in your state or to the relevant professional.  . For telephone-based assistance, you may like to call Lifeline (131 114) or Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800).

Information on this website is to be used as a guide only and does not take the place of appropriate clinical care. Please see Mental Health: where to find help

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About Bringing Spirit Into The Everyday

Modern Suburban Hippie (minus hallucinogens :) ) Vegetarian. Passionate. Love Laughs. Yoga. Chai Lattes. Crystals. Oracle cards. Goddesses. Angels. Spiritual. Perfume Loving. Intuitive Parenting. Breastfeeding Mama. Sport Loving. Opinionated. Scorpio. Psychologist. I have 3 little people who rock my world.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “What Can I Do? Strategies for improving mental health and wellbeing

  1. Great stuff Cath. I researched an article a few years ago about the affect lack of sleep has on your mind and your body and it was startling stuff. If only you could store sleep; I would have heaps left over from my uni days 😉

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

    Posted by Maria Tedeschi (Mum's Word) | October 11, 2011, 11:47 am
  2. another great post Cath. always find your blogs useful and inciteful. Would love a mood chart emailed to me please if possible. Had a session with my psych yesterday and he said i’m focused on my goals a bit more now but still showing symptoms of depression. He’s given me a 3 month reprieve now. yay. am also going to do a meditation course thru the local council activites. starts soon. hoping it will help me with my sleeping patterns. but realised that insomnia is hereditary. can that be reversed?
    love eileen. xx

    Posted by Eileen McGregor | October 11, 2011, 9:54 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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