Five-a-day for health and happiness
Building small actions into your daily life can make you feel good, and feeling good is an important part of being healthy. There are 5 ways to wellbeing that are proven to make a real difference to you.
- Connect - with the people around you.
With family and friends at home, school. Social media is good to keep in touch with your friends but this needs to be balanced with face to face contact. Having someone to talk to is very important for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Evidence indicates that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental health. This seems to be the case for people across all ages.
- Be active - walk, cycle, swim, run, dance, or play a game; exercising makes you feel good.
We know that exercise is a great way of improving your feelings as well as improving your fitness. Find something you enjoy and build it into your life. Regular physical activity is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
- Keep learning -Try something new; learn how to play a musical instrument. Learn to cook. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
The continuation of learning through life has the benefits of enhancing an individual's self-esteem, encouraging social interaction and a more active life.
- Take notice - be curious, ask questions, catch sight of beauty, notice the changing season, try to find something good in everything you do - reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matter to you.
Research has shown that being trained to be aware of sensations, thoughts and feelings for 8-12 weeks has been shown to enhance wellbeing for several years.
- Give - do something nice for a friend, a family member or someone at school or in the community: smile, thank someone, volunteer your time.
Giving can make you feel good inside. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing, compared to control groups.
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About mental health
We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Mental health is just like physical health. It can be good or bad, lead to problems that last for a few weeks or ones that need to be managed over a lifetime.
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. Mental health problems are common and can happen to anybody, regardless of age, race, gender or social background. If you are concerned about how you're feeling and it's having an affect on your daily life, relationships, work and physical health you should talk to somebody you trust, or seek some professional help.
Look after your mental health
There are some things that we can all do to look after our mental health and wellbeing and you can find out more on the
NHS Choices. You can also read more about
common mental health concerns and when to seek help as well as downloading some
free audio guides to boost your mood that may help.
Asking for help
If you need help with your mental health then it is best to do one of the following:
- Talk to your GP. Your GP will be able to give you advice about treatment and can make a referral to a mental health service on your behalf if you are experiencing acute or long term problems.
- Speak to our Adult Social Care Team on 0845 130 4959 and someone will guide and advise you about the services South Tyneside Council and others can offer.
- For advice out of hours contact the Initial Response Team on 0303 123 1145
In South Tyneside we provide a range of mental health support services in partnership with the voluntary sector and with our local health trust
Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust. There is a range of excellent material on the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust website including:
NTW self help guide - a range of 23 mental health self help guides. Topics include stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, depression, anger, panic, obsessions and compulsions.
NTW Useful organisations - an online searchable database of self help and support organisations covering mental health, carers and ethnic minority services.
NTW Service directory - an A-Z of services provided by Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
NTW Resources Search - find mental health and wellbeing resources about various health related conditions