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What is mental health and how do I look after it?

What is mental health? According to research charity Independent Age, mental health describes your emotional wellbeing – how you think and feel, and how you deal with everyday stresses. It’s just as important as your physical health. And like your physical health, it can get better or worse as your situation changes. What can affect your mental health? ●Loss and bereavement ●Loneliness ●Retirement and reduced social contact ●Moving into a care home ●Disability or poorer physical health ●Losing your independence ●Finding it more difficult to do things your used to doing ●Time of year and weather ●Several other things How to look after your mental health The NHS suggests there are five easy steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing: -Connect with other people According to the mental health charity Mind, “there is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.” -Be physically active Not only is this important for your physical health and fitness, but being active can also cause chemical changes in your brain which can help positively change your mood. -Learn new skills This can help connect with others and build a sense of purpose. -Give to others There is lots of research that outlines the benefits of altruism and the improvement it can have on your mood. The Mental Health Foundation have outlined these benefits here. -Pay attention to the present moment According to Mind, studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being. One way to do this is by practicing mindfulness. You can read more about mindfulness here.

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