Professional angel investor, speaker and business mentor Mark Lyttleton knows all too well the considerable pressures and stresses involved in building and scaling a successful business. This article will share tactics to help improve mental wellbeing, making people more resilient and able to cope with the setbacks and obstacles that come their way.
Mental health and wellbeing is relevant to everyone, irrespective of whether they have a mental health condition or not. Just as people recognise the need to take care of their physical health, mental health needs to be a priority too.
Mental health is about more than merely the absence of mental disorder. Mental health is a state of wellbeing that helps people to realise their own potential by successfully coping with the stresses of life, working productively and contributing to their community.
When an individual is mentally healthy they can cope with day-to-day challenges, form positive relationships and use their abilities to reach their potential. Mental health is actually about much more than merely the absence of mental illness.
A growing body of research indicates that the better a person’s mental wellbeing, the better their health and performance at work. Everyone experiences their highs and lows, often triggered by unexpected life events. Investing in their own mental wellbeing helps people to better handle these problems and find routes to overcome them.
In terms of taking care of mental wellbeing, the first step is to identify and reduce or remove individual stressors both at home and at work. Of course, people cannot change the past and may not always have much control over future events. However, there are often steps that can be taken to remove or at least reduce root causes of stress. The more an individual invests in identifying stressors, the better equipped they are to do something about them.
Human beings are social creatures. Good relationships are intrinsic to mental wellbeing, helping people to build and maintain a sense of self-worth and belonging. They also present an opportunity to share experiences and give and receive emotional support. Taking time to connect with family and friends each day can be an effective means of improving mental health. Turning off the TV and actively interacting with children, partners and family members – or leveraging technology like FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with friends and family who live far away – helps to improve connection, making people feel less isolated.
Exercise not only helps to improve physical fitness and health but also improves mental wellbeing too, raising self-esteem and providing a sense of achievement triggered by meeting fitness challenges or goals. This causes chemical changes in the brain that actively help to improve mood.
Research indicates that learning new skills can promote mental wellbeing by raising self-esteem, boosting self-confidence and helping to instil a sense of purpose. There are many different routes to learning, for example trying a new hobby, signing up for a college course, embarking on a DIY project or taking on more responsibility at work. However, it is important for people to find activities they enjoy that improve their lives rather than sitting exams and learning new qualifications just for the sake of it.
Research shows that acts of kindness and giving create positive feelings, helping people to connect with others, find a sense of purpose and build self-worth.
In terms of improving mental health, living in the moment is important. This means being mindful of your feelings, thoughts and body, as well as the world around you. Mindfulness can help people to not only understand themselves better but also enjoy an enhanced quality of life.