Understanding Mental Health: The Foundation of Wellness

on
11/12/2023

Let’s explore the crucial role of mental health in overall wellness and draw parallels between mental and physical health, emphasising the importance of attention and care for both. The article highlights how neglecting mental health can lead to long-term issues, just like physical health. We also discuss the benefits of therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in addressing mental health challenges, and offer practical tips for maintaining good mental health, underscoring the importance of sleep, connection, nature, exercise, hydration, work-life balance, goal-setting, and seeking professional support. Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is mental health?

Mental health is a lot like physical health. It’s another part of ourselves that we need to keep an eye on and look after to make sure that we stay well and able to live the kind of life we want. The difference is that physical health relates to what happens to our bodies and mental health relates to what happens to our internal emotional experience but the two are very much linked.

If we stop paying attention to, or we ignore, our mental or physical health, we can end up with more problems in the longer term. For example, ignoring a niggling back ache that doesn’t go away on its own can get worse over time and lead to problems such as needing time off work, struggling to do the things you enjoy and potentially feeling depressed. Similarly, ignoring a niggling issue with anxiety or low mood that doesn’t go away on its own, can get worse over time and lead to the same kinds of problems.

It’s easy to ignore the niggles but if we learn to pay attention to them as they arise and seek the right kind of help or learn the right ways to deal with them then we can prevent a lot of bigger problems down the road.  This is how therapy can help you, by exploring the niggles, understanding what’s keeping them going and learning different ways to make them go away or manage them.

Just remember, it’s completely normal to have tough times and difficult life experiences and it’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry or anxious at times. How we think about and respond to these experiences, however, can sometimes make things feel worse and this can have a big impact on our mental health over time.

For example, Dave has been going through a tough time after he was made redundant. He believes he is useless and a failure and this makes him feel down and sad. His motivation to do things changes because of how he is feeling. He starts to do less and begins to avoid his friends and his hobbies because he can’t be bothered. The less he does, the worse he feels and more intense his thoughts about being useless and a failure become. He becomes stuck and struggles to find a way forwards.

How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of many types of therapies that can help Dave. CBT will teach him skills to rebuild his routine, challenge his negative thoughts and reconnect with his sources of enjoyment. The effect of this will reduce his negative feelings, get him feeling more like himself again and help him to navigate any future difficulties he might encounter.

Please note: There are lots of different things that can impact on mental health some of which can be helped with therapy but others which might require medication or support from Psychiatrists and/or other more specialised services.

The team at Well Minds Psychological Therapy Service are not trained to provide medication or diagnoses for specific disorders, please reach out to your GP if this is something you are seeking. If you would like to contact us to discuss an assessment for suitability for therapy at the White House, please contact the admin team.

Top tips for good mental health

Sleep

Not enough sleep and/or poor quality sleep can cause symptoms of anxiety and low mood.

Connect

Spend time with people who you feel supported by and feel connected to.

Get Out

Time outdoors in nature is scientifically proven to improve mental health.

Move

Even small amounts of exercise such as a 10 minute walk or stretching can have a huge impact on mood.

Hydrate

Dehydration can affect brain function and mood.

Balance

Prioritise a good work life balance to manage your stress.

Goals

Make one small but achievable change at a time to move you in a positive direction.

Support

Seek out an accredited therapist who can help you understand and work on the areas that are difficult for you.

Sally Willan

Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist & Psychotherapist

Sally is a qualified and Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (BABCP) with over 10 years’ experience of working with common mental health issues within NHS services.

Sally Willan

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