November marks Men’s Mental Health Month, something I am incredibly passionate about all year round.
But to help anyone out there who may be struggling, I thought I’d reflect and use my own experiences to provide you with some tips for a better, healthier state of mind.
Mental health is a serious issue, and in England, around one in eight men have a common mental health problem. Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women which is why it is so important to continue the talk and raise awareness.
I am no stranger to mental health issues myself, so here are a few things that helped me along the way. And hopefully they will help you too.
1. Get talking
Always easier said than done but talking about it is the very first step. Whatever it may be, no one is there to judge you.
Chat to a family member, friend, or colleague – anybody you feel comfortable with and trust. If you’d rather not speak to somebody close to you, then enlist the help of a professional. Yes, it is difficult at first, but as soon as you do, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders and you will be one step closer to achieving your goal.
Talking to somebody will make you feel less alone and will keep the conversation going. This is so important! And there are so many registered organisations that are trained to help you and listen to you.
2. Drink Less Alcohol
When I left the military, I realised I’d bought my military drinking habits back home with me. It’s fine to enjoy a drink now and again, but it’s important to know your limits and whether you are drinking to mask your feelings.
Even for those that don’t suffer from mental health issues should limit their alcohol consumption. It can lead to heightened anxiety and depression; it impacts your mood and subsequently effects a lot more about you than you maybe haven’t realised before.
Alcohol can leave you feeling sluggish, lethargic and unmotivated and if these are things that you are already struggling with, then you are simply adding fuel to the fire.
Since cutting out alcohol from my diet, I have never felt better. I have much more energy, I sleep better and I am in total control.
3. Eat well
Similarly to alcohol, moderation really is key when it comes to food, too.
We all enjoy a treat now and again, but when that treat becomes a daily occurrence, or we begin swapping our healthy greens for unhealthy fats and unnecessary carbs, our bodies really begin to feel the effects.
Lack of energy, less sleep, feeling sluggish and bloated are all common effects of unhealthy and unbalanced diet.
By simply eating more greens, cutting out of the crisps, chocolates, sweets and fizzy drinks, this can really boost our moods.
It sounds such a cliché, but trust me when I say it really will make such a positive difference to your life – both physically and mentally.
4. Find a hobby
What are you interested in? Whatever it is, find yourself a hobby. Ease yourself in gently or set yourself a challenge and give yourself something to aim towards.
I always recommend exercise. And no, it’s not as simple as getting outside or going for a run and all of your issues will disappear. However, it can help ever so slightly.
Exercise releases chemicals in your body called endorphins. These trigger a positive feeling in the body, lifting your mood, and reducing the pain receptor in your brain. It can help aid in better sleep, reducing stress as well as lowering blood pressure and strengthening your heart.
If you don’t quite feel up to joining a gym, then try a fitness app. Battle Ready 360 has various challenges to help support your mind, body and nutrition. As well as the app, our social channels allow you to communicate with others, joining in with live workouts, challenges and general chats – this also helps you to meet new people, make new friends and feel a part of a community.
Meditation is a great technique to help you switch off, wind down and de-stress.
If you’re somebody that finds life is often getting on top of you and have too much going around your mind, then meditation can really help.
Mindfulness and meditation are simply focused on attention and allowing ourselves to focus on the things that we genuinely want and need to focus on, without all of the added clutter.
Everybody meditates differently. Some people do it first thing in the morning and others do it just before bed. Some do it in silence, whereas as others have a playlist. The great thing with meditation is that it is completely up to the individual.
Find what works for you and you will soon reap the rewards.
6. Routine and Structure
I find having some sort of structure to my day really helps me feel motivated and ready to take on the day.
Having a routine gives you a purpose, goals to reach and tasks to tick off. And in doing so, this allows you take on one task at a time, without feeling overwhelmed and panicked.
Taking things task by task and day by day, really helps to slow things down, providing us with a more positive outlook and improving our mood.
7. Motivational Music
Music plays such a huge part in everybody’s lives, and many people don’t even realise it.
The music we listen to subconsciously effects our mood. If we listen to a song that reminds us of a difficult time or something upsetting, this will make us feel down and lead to a potential state of depression.
Try listening to things that make you feel positive, reminds you of happy memories and that make you feel motivated and inspired to take on whatever the day has to throw at you.
Create a playlist and pop it on whenever you feel down or need a burst of positivity!
Those are my seven tips for a better state of mind. Not everything will work for everyone, but give them a go and I’m sure something will help.
If you’re looking for a new hobby or want to practice mindfulness and improve your diet, then download our Battle Ready 360 App now.
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