06 April 2018

5 tips to help boost your mental health

Investing in your mental health is vital, here are five tips you can implement today to increase your mental health.

As the saying goes; life is what you make of it. We all face challenges in our lives and more often than we appreciate, things don’t go as planned. The strength of your mental health is important when navigating these challenges. The good news is that you can invest in your mental health buy cultivating great habits.

1.     Stay as active as possible

A good habit to have is including physical activity into your lifestyle, because exercise can assist your body in producing endorphins, also known as ‘happy’ hormones. According to the  NHS adults aged 65 and over are known as the most sedentary age group. Light exercise also releases good hormones so even if all you can muster is a little 20 minute walk a few times a week, go for it! The NHS also explains that being active can lower the chances of developing mental conditions such as depression and dementia.

Running and walking aren’t the only options you have, there are other fun ways to get moving. Push the furniture aside, play your favourite song and dance. In addition to running, walking and dancing, you could also get in a good dose of movement by having sex, swimming or going for a bike ride. 

2.     Invest in quality products

When you have a condition that has you or a loved one dependent on a device or a product, using a quality brand can bring you comfort and peace of mind. You don’t want the stress and frustration that comes with using a product that doesn’t work. For example, for those who suffer from urinary or faecal incontinence, do your research and enquire from others as to which product you should try.

Remember, cost effective care isn’t just about the price of a particular product. It means choosing the right size, the right absorbency, and the right design of product for the utmost comfort and security. Cheaper does not always mean better.  The reassurance that comes with using a good quality brand adds to your overall mental health. 

3.     Express yourself

Personal writing is a great way to express yourself, because writing things down can help you release the emotions you are feeling, it can also expose the feelings you might not have known you were feeling and it allows you to do this in a safe space where it can be kept completely private.

In The Healing Properties of Writing for Persons with Mental Health Issues, Adrienne M. Ero-Phillips says: “This type of writing is often used as a cathartic release and can be very beneficial physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” Writing down three things you are grateful for each day is a great way to maintain a grateful outlook on your life. It can help you focus on the good in your life and stop you from being brought down by all your negative thoughts. Ero-Phillips explains that “journaling can be a powerful way in which people can express themselves and that often, journals are used to record daily thoughts, feelings, and aspirations and can be used to improve personal development.” 

4.     Brain food you need

According to Health24 your mental health is linked to your physical health. This means that the combination of being active and having a well-balanced diet has a direct effect on your mental health. Make sure you are eating the right foods more often than you’re eating unhealthy fast foods which are high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat. Foods to include in your diet could be fish, wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables. For those with a sweet tooth, try dark chocolate as it is a healthier alternative.

5.     Surround yourself with that which makes you happy

Having a positive outlook on life can make all the difference when it comes to your mental health. Surround yourself with positive people, limit the time you spend with people who are negative and drain you of joy. A simple way to help increase the laughter in your life is to watch a comedy film once a week.

According to Tracie Abram from Michigan State University, when we are deliberate in laughing on a daily basis, even during difficult or stressful experiences, we are able to have more strength to navigate our healing and bring solutions. Learn to laugh at yourself. Life can be very difficult, and humour is not appropriate in all cases, but it is good to consider laughing when you can see it being beneficial to your situation.


Brought to you by TENA 



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Incontinence Expert

Dr Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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