By Liza Horan, Editor
My research to produce this Mental Wellbeing content package revealed hard evidence that our thoughts and feelings require management for good quality of life, and that each of us has to be the primary care-taker for ourselves. Adequate support services within the conventional medical field fell short of demand before the pandemic, and now demand is greater. The pandemic showed us, sometimes in all-too-real terms, that our intellectual and emotional selves are central to our life experience and that physical and mental health are inextricably connected.
While mental wellbeing is a personal and collective experience. It’s up to individuals, communities and civic society to be proactive, and there are practical things we can do. The NHS offers five tips for mental wellbeing: Connect with others, be physically active, learn new skills, give to others, and be present in the moment.
Here are some more ways we can all participate in improving mental wellbeing for ourselves and each other.
- Be mindful about the language we use around mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that we react to word choice even if we’re not aware of it’s impact on us. For instance, it’s better to say, “Someone living with schizophrenia,” rather than “a schizo” or “crazy.” You’d be surprised how many mental health slurs have seeped into common language. We can do better by educating ourselves on these terms and becoming more thoughtful about our choices. See details in “Mental Wellbeing: Demystifying the language of our intellectual and emotional selves”.
- Strengthen your mind, body and spirit connection to better understand the state of your thoughts and feelings. Once we can interpret where stress or anxiety is coming from, for example, we’ll be better able to respond to it. There are loads of free and easy methods to do so, such as quieting ourselves to assess how we think and feel; being present by doing only one thing at a time, not multitasking; and trying a free online course on a method such as meditation or journaling. Read the list of holistic modalities that are currently used to support and treat mental health issues in the transcript of Episode 8: The shift to mental wellbeing. Also, search for free trials of mind-body-spirit services online, such as those offered by Headspace, Gaia and EmbodyMe*.
- Read the Global Wellness Institute’s report, “Defining the Mental Wellness Economy.” The 122-page report is free to download. It defines the continuum of mental health to mental wellbeing — which runs from languishing to resilience to flourishing — and identifies four pathways to mental wellbeing. It is the first report of its kind because it provides clear definitions of aspects of mental wellness and measures the business of it (when possible). Among the most significant findings are the fact that mental wellness is holistic and that spirituality (meaning and beliefs) play a key role. Listen to the interview with report co-author Katherine Johnson in Episode 8 of The Mindstream Podcast.
- Join the Wellbeing Economy Alliance as an individual, a business or an association, and urge your political leaders to join as a government. It’s about committing to do what we can to encourage a fair and equitable society for humanity and the planet — and it’s not just a feel-good move, it’s about practical plans, policies and practices to make it real and measure progress. It’s free to join, and the momentum of this movement will increase with each member. Learn more and sign up at WEALL.org.
- Familiarise yourself with all the free support services available to you. Phone lines, apps, online and in person groups, are among the offerings of charitable organisations, governments, health businesses, and medical insurers. It’s handy to know about them for yourself and others. Find A Helpline lists support services by country. Here are a few in the U.K. and U.S.A.