Wherever you are in your journey with achieving good mental health, you are not alone. There are some things that you can do to take control right now, whether you are on a waiting list, unsure about seeking support or able and willing to invest in your wellbeing. Picking up on early signs of poor mental health can speed up your recovery and place you on the path to a healthy, happy life.
Find out what good mental health should look like
Firstly, it's important to establish where you sit on the panic barometer. Some people self-diagnose and are prone to catastrophising, others dismiss early signs of a brewing storm only to be pole-axed when thunder strikes.
"The stereotypical picture of happiness that is often portrayed in media can be unrealistic and difficult to sustain. The full spectrum of human emotion is dismissed in a bid to achieve a peak of pleasure. Happiness isn’t one-dimensional. It’s more than a feeling… We don’t want to over-medicalise normal life experiences.
If something happens that you don’t want to happen, you’ll feel bad about it… Even jealousy, anger and fear are useful emotions. However, when the frequency, duration and intensity of your emotions starts to take up so much of who we are and starts to overtake our functioning and our relationships, one needs to stop and think: Is this something that I can manage on my own?"
- Dr Chetna Kang, psychiatrist and BBC presenter
Improving our understanding of what good mental health should feel like can help us to have a more balanced approach.
Explore psycho-educational resources at your own pace
This seems intuitive and you might have read numerous self-help books already. Yet mental health research keeps evolving and support is becoming more tailored. Here are a couple of useful resources developed by our practitioners:
- The Happiness Half Hour is a podcast based on the Science of Happiness course, developed by Prof Bruce Hood available on BBC Sounds. Expect to learn about how poor we are at predicting how much suffering or enjoyment we may get from an activity, why people are more interested in connecting with us than we’d expect and why more of us than we’d think (as well as dogs!) come to believe that they have no choice in life but to suffer.
- Stay Balanced While You Study and How to Grow a Grown-up by Dr Dominique Thompson are two books aimed at students or parents, respectively. These resources will help you find out what are the unique pressures facing this generation of young people and how to manage them. "Whilst waiting for treatment or assessment can be a little stressful, there are still actions you can take to look after yourself, and feel more in control of the situation. This will hopefully reduce your anxiety, and make you feel better. I wrote my books to help people to help themselves whilst taking steps to improve their situation. I hope they help you." - Dominique Thompson, the UK’s leading GP in student mental health.
Explore forms of one-to-one support
There is no one-size-fits all in terms of achieving good mental health. CBT, EMDR, psychodynamic therapy, music therapy, dramatherapy, art therapy, body psychotherapy, coaching, nutrition, personal training - there is a lot out there that could benefit your mind and your body. The question is – what’s right for you right now?
You may find it helpful to browse through practitioner profiles, see what resonates with you and book an initial consultation directly with your chosen practitioner. Booking an initial appointment is free, and the practitioner can give you tailored advice on whether their practice will help, or signpost you in the right direction.
You may come across some lesser known practices. For example, did you know that you could combine massage with therapy?
"Beyond talking, Body Psychotherapy involves various techniques, from breathing exercises, guided movement and visualisation to using props and art materials as a means of expression. What sets this therapy apart is the option of working with touch - a powerful and potentially transformative medium in the context of psychotherapy. Psychotherapeutic massage can help an individual regulate their nervous system and experience safety in the touch and in their body. As such, this therapy is especially beneficial to those experiencing suffering on a somatic level - be it through anxiety, depression, trauma or chronic illness.”
- Anna Cromack, body psychotherapist
Join a class
As well as special events by expert speakers, our practitioners are constantly organising new classes, some of which being free to join or cost under £10. From classes that help you discover what's holding you back, pre and post natal baby psychology, diaphragmatic breathwork, meditation to sexual embodiment, these classes can help you learn something new about yourself, quieten your mind, or help you connect with people with whom have a similar mindset.
See our What’s on page to find out what our practitioners have to offer.
Are you interested in joining a workshop focussing on a certain theme and can't find what you're looking for? Contact Alina at firstname.lastname@example.org and submit your request!
Is it time to prioritise your mental health?
We are all free to decide how to tackles life's challenges. If you were going to run a marathon, you would almost certainly train or engage with professional help to prepare for the challenge. So if your goal is to be functioning at your best in your home and work life, why not prioritise investing in expert wellbeing and performance support if you can afford it? Are you happy to splash out in a pub or in a hair salon, but would baulk at spending the same amount on your mental health? What would it take for this to change?
Allocating a set time to looking after your wellbeing on a weekly basis is an important step forward and a much undervalued investment. Are you ready to invest in your mental health?
We offer a free and confidential discovery call run by therapist Sarah Norman, who can point you in the right direction based on your individual needs.