Between the 18th and 24th May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this years theme is kindness. Due to the current situation that we are facing it is important now more than ever to be kind to yourself and others. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health.  mentalhealth.org.uk have lots of resources and ideas on how you can get involved and below are Mental Health First Aid England’s ten keys to happier living that we thought we would share with you al

  1.  Relating – People around you offer a valuable pool of support so it is important to put time into strengthening those connections. Give it a go call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or try turning off distractions and have a chat with friends or family about your day.
  2.  Exercising – Regular activity will provide an endorphin boost and increase confidence. Give it a go by finding an activity that suits you and your schedule or swap the car for short journeys and cycle or walk instead.
  3. Awareness – Taking time to switch off autopilot and “Be in the moment” is a great tool to combat stress. Why not pay attention to your senses, what can you see, hear or feel around you? Choose a regular point in the day to reflect.
  4. Giving – Holding out a helping hand makes other people happy and will make you feel happier too. You could share your skills or offer support or ask friends family and colleagues how they are and listen without judgement.
  5. Trying it out – Learning new things is stimulating and can help to lift your mood. Try taking on a new role at work or school or try out a new hobby, club or activity that interest you.
  6. Direction – Working towards positive, realistic goals can provide motivation and structure. Choose a goal that is meaningful to you, not what someone else expects of you and remember to celebrate your progress along the way.
  7. Meaning – People who have more meaning in their lives experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Prioritise the activities, people and beliefs that bring you the strongest sense of purpose or volunteer for a cause, be part of a team and see how your actions can make a difference for others.
  8. Resilience – Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose our own response to what happens. Find an outlet such as talking to friends or writing things down and take action to improve you resilience skills.
  9. Emotions – Positive emotions can build up a buffer against stress and can even lead to changes in the brain to help maintain wellbeing. Take time to notice what you’re grateful for and focus on the good aspects of any situation and importantly set aside time to have fun.
  10. Acceptance – No one is perfect. Longing to be someone different gets in the way of making the most of our own happiness. Be kind to yourself when things go wrong and shift the focus from what you don’t have and can’t do to what you do have and can do.

This advice and more can be found on the MHFA England Website