If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, it can be a lonely feeling. Yet, according to the World Health Organisation, one in four people are impacted by mental disorders.
Mental health issues can impact your work life, relationships, and other areas of your health.
However, the good news is that not only are you not alone—but there also a number of actions you can take if you are suffering from mental illness. None of these are magic pills, but, cumulatively, they can hold the key to better times ahead.
What's more, all of the measures we have listed here take 10 minutes or less. Juggling work and private life can be stressful enough, without having to carve out time to devote to your mental health.
When it comes to mental health, there's usually no one quick fix. But by implementing small practices that you can fit into your day, you can improve your state of mind.
Read on to find out how you can start taking care of your mental health in only ten minutes.
What Is the Mental Illness Crisis
Before we get into strategies for improving your mental health—what is a mental health crisis?
A mental health crisis is generally characterised by the following:
- Ongoing feelings of anxiety
- A lack of feeling of well-being
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Chronic stress
- Other disorders (such as sleep disorders, eating disorders, or addiction)
While these points are often common denominators in a mental health crisis, there are many other markers.
In a nutshell, if you are feeling overwrought, unlike yourself, not in control of your emotions, hopeless, or continually afraid, you are probably experiencing a mental health crisis.
If this sounds alarming, remember, it's not a sentence. Mental health can be improved. Let's take a look at some of the most effective, strategies to start with.
Talk to Yourself Like You Would a Friend
Although we all do it, negative self-talk can be particularly eroding to mental health. Imagine if you had someone on speaker in your head, berating you night and day over the smallest things?
The first step to putting the brakes on destructive self-criticism is to monitor it. Take a step back and try to notice when and how you criticise or pass judgement on yourself.
If you are like most of us, about 80% of your thoughts about yourself and other things are negative. What's more, 95% of our thoughts are exactly the same as the day before.
Once you have observed your thought patterns, start by devoting ten minutes per day to speaking to yourself the same way you would a friend.
Not only does talking positively to yourself feel nice, but it also changes your brain. This is because the brain strengthens connections that are used the most. It also weakens ones that are neglected. This is known as neuroplasticity.
By actively changing one's thought patterns, you can alter your brain's neural pathways. The more you think certain thoughts, the more you will have those types of thoughts.
Being active and busy is considered to be good for mental health. However, it is crucial that you carve out breaks for yourself during the day.
Short breaks give you time to release tension and refresh your mind and emotions. If you are working towards improving your mental health, scheduled breaks are the perfect opportunity to engage in a wellness boosting activity.
There are numerous ten-minute activities you can plan into our breaks to up your mental state. These include:
- Going for a quick walk
- Doing a few yoga asanas
- Practising deep breathing or meditation
- Engaging in positive self-talk
To ensure that you actually take these breaks, plan them into your diary, or set an alarm on your phone.
There are a plethora of studies that show the connection between exercise and improved mental health. This is because exercise cause endorphin release, which in turn stimulates a better mood.
In addition, exercising and keeping fit can help with body image and self-esteem.
We said that there is no quick fix for a mental health crisis. However, it turns out that a single deep breath is all it takes to release stress.
By exhaling deeply, you instantly affect your vegas nerve. This results in an immediate sense of increased calm.
Make a Connection
Interpersonal connection is vital for mental well-being, a fact that is proven by research. If you are battling anxiety or depression, interaction with others is often the last thing one feels like doing.
However, it is important that you take the initiative to instigate positive interactions with others. This can be with friends, family, or co-workers, or anyone else you come into contact with.
The WHO states that work can be beneficial for mental health. However, they also outline that negative work environments can cause physical and mental health problems.
If your work environment is less than uplifting, it can feel like uphill work to engage with co-workers. However, by doing so, you can not only improve your own mental health but also be a part of building a mentally healthy workplace.
Along with positive self-talk, gratitude is another practice that has been proven to alter neural pathways for enhanced feelings of well-being.
Research shows that giving thanks can make you happier. In a recent study, participants who practised gratitude once per week had fewer psychiatrist visits and even exercised more.
One of the most effective ways to practice gratitude is to do gratitude journaling. You can also make a group activity out of gratitude by inviting co-workers or friends to engage in sharing things they are grateful for at the start of each day.
Mental Health Matters
Mental health is something that affects almost all of us. However, in less than ten minutes a day, you can start to see a shift during a mental illness crisis.
Fortunately, it's not just individuals who are tackling mental health nowadays.
Reports state that every $1 spent on mental health yields $4 in return. That equates to an ROI of 400%. If you or your company want in on changing workplaces for the better and improving mental health, you're in good company.
Mental health is important. Here at Gallagher Bassett, we are focused on building awareness around mental health. View our Mental Health suite of posters on myGB Poster Designer to assist your organisation in supporting the mental health of your employees.
To improve the health and well-being of your workplace, we invite you to contact us.