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Enhance your mental well-being

Mental health takes into consideration the well-being of the emotional, psychological and social aspects of life. Mental well-being refers to how people manage varying degrees of difficulty and stress, which is unique to each individual. There are strong links between making sustainable lifestyle changes such as daily mindfulness techniques, regular exercise and being in nature to enhance mental and physical well-being.


Man sitting on a rock over the ocean during sunrise
Watching sunrise to support mental well-being

Mindfulness

For over 2,500 years, mindfulness has been practised by Buddhist teachings, a tried and tested approach. In modern times, mindfulness is used as an intervention that is similar to meditation, drawing on the idea of focusing attention on the body, mind or surroundings. The aim is to increase awareness of thoughts, bodily sensations and self-compassion, to help deal with stress. Meditation and mindfulness techniques have been shown to regulate the stress response, reduce chronic inflammation and maintain a healthy gut-barrier connection (2). Contributing to a state of physical and mental well-being.


Apps and websites for guided mindfulness techniques:


Exercise

Regular physical activity has been well-researched alongside improving mental well-being. Longitudinal studies have found that physical activity has been associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety severity over time (3). Alongside enhanced sleep quality, time asleep and sleep efficiency (4). A recent review established that more significant mental health benefits were associated with 50 minutes of moderate daily movement and a daily step count above 5000 per day (5). The review suggests that moving more and sitting less will continue to enhance mental well-being.


Nature

Intuitively many people have experienced the benefits of being in nature. Exposure to green spaces (the great outdoors) has been associated with a reduction in stress (cortisol lowering) and a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression (6). Often influencing urban planners to include more green spaces in suburban and metro areas. A regular walk in the park will not only contribute to the daily exercise regime but also increase levels of social connectedness which is an important aspect of improving mental well-being.


Key takeaways to enhancing your mental well-being:

  • Establish regular mindfulness techniques to combat stress. Find something that works for you and use it regularly.

  • Aim to move for approximately 50 minutes per day such as brisk walking, running, weights, sports activities or classes such as yoga and pilates.

  • Enjoy a regular walk in the park, meet a friend and connect with friends and family.

  • Are you working from home? Ensure you get out for a walk daily to break up your day. Aim for a minimum of 5000 steps per day.

Looking for ways to support your mental well-being? Enquire today.


Reference list

  1. World Health Organisation. (2022). Mental health: Strengthening our response. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

  2. Janssen, M., Heerkens, Y., Kuijer, W., van der Heijden, B., & Engels, J. (2018). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees' mental health: A systematic review. PloS one, 13(1), e0191332. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191332

  3. Battalio, S. L., Huffman, S. E., & Jensen, M. P. (2020). Longitudinal associations between physical activity, anxiety, and depression in adults with long-term physical disabilities. Health Psychology, 39(6), 529–538. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000848

  4. Neufeld, E. V., Boland, D. M., Martin, J. L., & Cooper, C. B. (2017). Interrelationship between sleep and exercise: A systematic review. Advances in Preventive Medicine, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1364387

  5. Bernard, P., Doré, I., Romain, A. J., Hains-Monfette, G., Kingsbury, C., & Sabiston, C. (2018). Dose response association of objective physical activity with mental health in a representative national sample of adults: A cross-sectional study. PloS one, 13(10), e0204682. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204682

  6. Thompson, C. W., Roe, J., Aspinall, P., Mitchell, R., Clow, Al., & Miller, D. (2012). More green spaces is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns. Landscape and Urban Planning, 105(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.12.015

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