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14 Things You Should Do For Good Mental Health, According To Experts

With the winter nights slowly approaching, this can be a difficult time for everyone’s mental health. But this year, experts have provided a list of preventative measures people can take to help boost wellbeing.

The research from the Mental Health Foundation wanted to find the best “preventative self-management actions” – or healthy behaviours – people can engage in to help maintain good mental health.

A team of 23 international experts were asked to come up with a list of behaviours they believe can help people sustain good mental health.

The actions were then put to a group of almost 1,500 people who had lived with a mental health condition who voted on the “most appropriate” actions that people can take.

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14 things you can do to sustain good mental health, according to the research:

  • Avoid illicit drugs

  • Avoid unmanageable debt

  • Improve quantity and quality of sleep

  • Learn to understand, regulate and manage your mood

  • Prioritise fun or have something to look forward to

  • Spend time in green spaces

  • Seek help

  • Remain curious and open for (new) experiences

  • Have a healthy diet

  • Help others, contribute to something bigger

  • Engage in physical activity

  • Practise gratitude and cultivate hope

  • Strengthen social connections

  • Get support for good parenting practice

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, director of Mental Health Foundation for England and Wales, pointed out that the means to practise this advice “are not readily available to everyone”.

“For example, poverty, low education and isolation may mean that for some individuals it is not possible to avoid unmanageable debt,” he said. “Now that we have this clear evidence, governments should take action that empowers people to better look after their own mental health.”

Some behaviours, such as prioritising fun and helping others, are perhaps most relevant to maintaining mental health that’s already in a good place. But the research also included actions such as avoiding illicit drugs and seeking help, which people with experience of poor mental health marked as useful.

“The majority of people in our study, with the hindsight of their experience of poor mental health, told us that getting some support to avoid illicit drugs and unmanageable debt, to sleep better and to regulate their emotions, is what would have made the biggest difference to them,” Dr Kousoulis said.

The authors said the findings point to the “fundamentals of life that protect our mental health” and they attacked the concept of “miracle cures” billed to improve wellbeing, which potentially “take advantage of people’s vulnerability”.




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