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Are you thriving, or simply surviving?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines good mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental health is a not simply the absence of a mental illness, rather it is a deeply complex spectrum of circumstances and conditions. The Mental Health Foundation’s (MHF) most recent research suggests that a large portion of our population would not categorise themselves as having a mental illness – but – neither would they fall into line with the WHO’s definition.  Herein lies an important point: too many of us (71% according to the MHF) are living with adequate mental health, too many of us are simply surviving, but not thriving. 

The Mental Health Foundadion called on us as a nation to make the cultivation of good mental health a priority in our lives, to actively focus on moving from surviving to thriving. Easier said than done, you may think. But there are some easily achievable steps you can take that will set this process in motion:

  • Start meditating. As little as 10 minutes of mindful practice has a scientifically proven impact on wellbeing. Schedule this into your calendar if necessary and stick to it no matter what. 
  • Keep a pen and notebook by your bed and, just before you go to sleep, jot down three things that went well in the day and three things that you are grateful for.
  • Be honest about how you are feeling, even if only telling someone you've had a stressful morning. This will ward against feelings escalating, and creating this habit can help you be more open should you encounter more serious mental health concerns.
  • Make sleep a priority, it is the cornerstone of good mental health. Read our top tips on improving the quality and quantity of your sleep here.
  • Do something charitable/volunteer. For example: look into local elderly befriending schemes. Doing good does you good.