In this podcast I talk with my friend and colleague Ken about my views on mental health and how we create efficacy. We all have health be that physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. I prefer to take an approach that considers the whole person, whole life, rather than separate into the individual parts. An integrated approach where our health is dynamic. That said today we will be talking about some of the aspects relevant to mental health.
I will talk about building blocks for health, with a focus on mental health.
Drains and enablers.
The impact of virtual working.
Listening and helping others.
A definition of Mental Health
I think about mental health as the capacity to respond in an appropriate way to life. If we can do that then we are doing OK. If we can’t then it could be that the circumstances are too big, we do not feel equipped or we have lost our capacity. Someone who is thriving will have a mind that is working well. They will enjoy a good memory, the ability to attend to what matters, good self-esteem, relate well to people with good problem-solving skills.
The dynamic nature is important to acknowledge. One might be thriving then a close family member or friend dies. For a period, you may struggle, experience low mood, memory loss, a lack of focus. Does this mean mental health has deteriorated and that the individual now needs professional support? This is where education and awareness can be so valuable to enable us to discern between a normal reaction to a difficult situation or someone who has declined towards ill health.
What are the foundations for our Mental Health?
The simple things are so impactful and under-rated.
- Sleep – we often under-estimate the value a good sleep can have on our overall health, which includes our mental health.
- Think – a mind that can focus, settle, switch off, be alert as required, focus, and provide appropriate attention. Creating good habits that create good thinking.
- Eat – Our brains need good nutrition to work well. It is interesting to explore the research around nutrients and depression.
- Move – We’ve developed a zoom posture some of us over the past while. Previously we used to refer to being chair shaped. We are not designed to sit still so moving more will support a healthy brain.
- Connecting – It has become clear that good relationships are a fundamental to how we feel. Isolation is devastating.
Having the right people around us who help to shape our perspective, who listen well and without judgement are worth keeping around.
To hear about my suggestions for how we can manage our mental resources and train our minds to switch off, there are tried and tested tips about ¾’s of the way through the podcast.
Remember that even in the most difficult and darkest of times, recovery is possible and probable. Sometimes the most important and most valuable thing you can do is walk alongside someone who is struggling. Be there, connect, listen without judgement, and believe in them. Most of us can build the foundations that enable us to thrive and those very same fundamentals support those of us who have an underlying mental health condition.
You can find the podcast here.
Enjoy and do let me know how you get on.