I'm always looking for simple advice that I can pass onto patients with the hope that their everyday lives will be improved. So I was interested to read a short article in the magazine InTouch which is a a quarterly publication for alumni of Kings College in London. Called 'Boost your mental health' it was written by Kumar Jacob who is the chair of Maudsley Charity, (a charity supporting mental health and well being) and had five easy to understand tips for improving well being.
1. Connect: Happy people have stronger social relationships. You're doing yourself a big favour when you invest a little time in friends, family and colleagues. This can range from developing deep personal friendships to taking a few moments to chat with the office security guard.
2. Be active: There's clear evidence showing that physical exercise reduces depression and anxiety. This doesn't mean you need to become a marathon runner. Walk to that meeting half a mile away rather than take the bus; take the stairs instead of a lift.
3. Take notice: Or, to put it another way, be curious. As we walk past the same buildings and shuffle through the same streets each day, it's easy to forget that there is beauty around us. Take a few moments on your journey to work to look at fields and villages passing by.
4. Keep learning: You've heard this before: learning to speak a foreign language or play a musical instrument does wonders for your brain. Hepful learning of this sort also includes less time-consuming activities, such as trying a new way of cooking or mastering new software.
5.Give: This doesn't necessarily mean giving money, although donating to your old school or favourite charity will probably boost your spirits. It also means giving positive feedback, expressing your appreciation and even holding a door open for someone.
Good basic stuff. And not very original. But just little steps which could do great good.
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