World Mental Health Day 2015

October the 10th is World Mental Health Day. To mark the occasion and to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health WorkGuru is getting back to basics; we are revisiting the brilliant Foresight report and their Five Ways to Mental Wellbeing. Five simple things that we can all be doing to boost and maintain our mental wellbeing.

discussionConnect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active
olddancersGo for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice
safarimanBe curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning
plumberTry something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

walterpressieDo something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

Four Reasons Why Our Friends Are Important

A recent survey by the counselling organisation Relate reported that 1 in 10 of the people questioned did not have a close friend and that 1 in 5 of us feel unloved. 81% of people who are married or cohabiting feel good about themselves compared with 69% who are single.

Friendships are important, but it is often a part of our life that we just don’t give enough attention to. It sits in our ‘would be nice to do if I had enough time’ pile rather than our ‘essential’ pile.

There are lots of reasons why we should be investing the effort in making and maintaining good, supportive friendships. Here are just four:

1. Friends Make you Happy
People who have close friends are happier. People who consistently rate themselves as ‘very happy’ have more rich and satisfying friendships; they spend least time alone and more time socialising. Great relationships might not guarantee you great happiness, but the evidence is that you cannot achieve great happiness without them.

2. Friends Lighten the Load
Having your friends with you either in your thoughts or in person helps us to negotiate life’s challenges. Researchers found that people accompanied by a friend, or who thought of a supportive friend saw a hill as less steep than people on their own or thinking of someone who wasn’t a friend. Having a friend by your side or in your thoughts quite literally “lightens the load’ and helps you to manage life’s difficulties.

3. Friends Increase Our Resilience
Having the support of friends increases our physical and our mental resilience. Social connection protects us from stress related illness and symptoms and boosts our immune system providing resistance to infectious diseases. It also protects us from the vagaries of life. The greater the network of people we can call on when life is dealing us a dud-hand, the greater our ability to cope.

4. Sharing Good News With Friends Boosts Your Feel-Good Factor
Sharing good news with others helps us to savour the experience. Research has shown that when good things happen, sharing the news with friends helps us to experience even more positive affect than could be attributed to the event alone. Telling someone else about a positive event increases your happiness and life satisfaction. When it comes to good news, it is definitely positive to share.

For further information:

1. Diener, E., Sligman, M.E.P., (2002) Very Happy People Psychological Science. 13:1

2. Schnall, S., Harber, K.D., Stefanucci, J.K., Proffitt, D.R. (2008) Social Support and the Perception of a Geographical Slant. Journal of Exp Psych 44

3. Cohen, S., Doyle, WJ., Turner, R., Alper, C.M., Skoner, D.P., (2003) Socialbility and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Psychological Science 14:5

4. Langton, C.A., (1994( Capitalizing on coping and daily-life events: Expressive responses to positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 67.