Expert Tips To Boost Your Mental Health

Expert Tips To Boost Your Mental Health

How you handle everyday challenges can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing – but sometimes, even the smallest adversities can tip you over the edge, turning a good day into a bad one. For some simple ways to reduce stress levels and dial down your anxiety, we went to five mental health experts…

Amy Launder, psychotherapist & psychological coach, says…


Recognise Your Emotions

“It’s not unusual to struggle to express how you’re feeling. For example, if you ask someone how they are and they reply with ‘fine’ or ‘okay’, you might find they say, ‘I don’t feel 100% but I can’t put my finger on it’ if you probe deeper. Many people don’t realise this is something they’re struggling with. Set a timer for one minute and write down as many emotion-based words as you can. On average, adults can write around 12-15 emotional words within that time-frame – less than five indicates a difficulty recognising or naming emotions. Try finding an Emotion Wheel online – these have basic emotion words at the centre and as you move outwards, the words become more specific. For example, angry becomes hateful, hostile, hurt, frustrated, selfish and irritated. Try sitting with the wheel and working through it until you find a word that fits your emotions. The more you do this, the more natural it will feel.”

Be Realistic

“If your reaction to something feels out of proportion with what caused it, chances are it’s probably not about that particular event. For example, if your partner leaves their socks on the floor next to the washing machine and you fly into a rage, it’s probably not about them leaving their socks on the floor – perhaps it’s about feeling unappreciated at doing all the housework. Keep this in mind before you snap.”

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Suzy Reading, chartered psychologist, says…

Be More Self-Aware

“Becoming skilled at noticing how we are feeling (both in mind and body) is key to taking care of our health. Get into the habit of checking in with yourself daily – doing this at a time of day that works for you can be helpful, whether it’s when you first wake up, before you embark on your work day, or as part of your evening routine. As your ability grows, you may find yourself checking more frequently and habitually. Start by asking yourself how your body is feeling. Notice any emotional tones and check in with the thoughts you are having; consider your energy levels, and note any other cues like fatigue and hunger. Developing self-insight is a huge part of maintaining good mental health.”

Take Time To Self-Soothe

“Stress is a normal and inevitable part of life, as are other big emotions. To release the energetic charge of our feelings and alleviate stress or worry, self-soothing is essential. Different strategies resonate for different people, so try to see what works for you, but options include breathing practices, calming movement and stretches. The ‘shrug and sigh’ technique is a great starting point: breathe in and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears, exhale with a cathartic sigh and let your shoulders drop. Repeat this a few times to feel lighter and brighter. Also, try to book some white space in your diary to actively prioritise soothing practices – this will help you build the habit, helping you cope and restore in the middle of stressful times.”

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Holli Rubin, psychotherapist & head of wellbeing at The Soke, says…

Move Your Body

“Mental health goes hand in hand with physical health. The two are inextricably linked, and when we are affected by our emotions, moving our bodies and being active can make a real difference. Going for a walk is a great starting point – moving your body takes you out of your head and your thoughts, and allows your body the chance to get involved, which can be a temporary distraction. Getting outside also offers fresh air, and new sights and sounds, which are a chance to shift your mood.”

Refocus & Connect

“When you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by taking a few deep breaths, settling into a new headspace, and then doing something else for a while as a form of break and distraction. The concept of putting something away helps you come back to it with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Once you’ve calmed down, pick up the phone and call someone to have a conversation. Just being in conversation is connection and makes us feel less alone with our feelings and more likely to enable a shift in mood.”

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Anna Mathur, psychotherapist & bestselling author, says…

Tame The Inner Critic

“We often overlook the most important conversation – the one we have with ourselves. Take note of your internal chatter, what does it sound like? Is it kind, or does it leap to criticism? Would you speak to someone you cared about in the same way you speak to yourself? If not, consider what a kinder, more compassionate alternative might be. In time, by doing this, we can transform the inner bully into the inner cheerleader.”

Slow Down

“Have you ever noticed yourself walking at 100mph when you don’t actually need to? So many of us live life on fast forward, so rest and slowing down can feel like more of an inconvenience than a basic human need. It’s a simple science that the more you give, the more you need. So, if you find yourself always on the burnout rollercoaster, know that taking a break is an option. Your mind, body, and nervous system will thank you.”

Practice Gratitude

“When we feel low our mind often focuses on the things that could go wrong or haven’t gone the way we hoped. Practising gratitude is like lighting a candle in a dark room, bringing welcoming balance to that grey feeling. Make a list (on a piece of paper or simply in your mind) of 20 things you’re grateful for. Start with the fact that you have access to electricity so that you can read this article, or that you’re sitting in a comfy chair. Keep going, noticing the things that are a privilege and a joy, no matter how small or large. I guarantee your mood will shift as you write.”

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Fiona Lamb, clinical hypnotherapist for Doctify, says…

Swap Fear With Love

“Fear is just another word for anxiety. Anxiety is when our bodies enter a heightened state of awareness sensing danger. However, it’s impossible for fear and love to exist at the same time. So, if you focus on sending yourself and others compassion and love, and focus on the positives, things will seem easier. Remember that having some fear is healthy, we just have to know how to deal with it. For example, getting out of our comfort zone can cause fear, but it also exhilarates and excites us, so is beneficial for our growth. Try writing down what you’re worried about and thinking about the worst-case scenario. Coming to terms with the worst outcome can stop the mind from racing in circles. Whenever we feel anxious it’s always our emotional, creative brain becoming more overactive, so be aware of this and try to use your imagination in a more productive way.”

Breathe More

“Box breathing is a powerful tool for anxiety. Breathe in for four, hold for four, and breathe out for four. The breath is the most powerful anchor we have, and is also free. When our breath and actions slow down, so do our thoughts. Try to schedule five minutes in the morning and evening to breathe deeply – you’ll soon notice the impact this has on irrational thoughts and feelings.”

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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.


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