What is mental wellbeing?

Mental wellbeing is a combination of how we feel, how we function, and our knowledge that we are separate from our problems. Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, behavioural, and social wellbeing. It can sometimes be used as a term to describe the absence of a mental disorder; however, a more contemporary perspective is that mental health is something that everyone has and needs to take care of, just like our physical health.

The World Health Organisation has described mental health as: “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Good mental health allows you to freely think, feel and react in the ways that enable you to live your life the way you want to. On the other hand, poor mental health can cause how you think, feel, and behave to become challenging and difficult to cope with.

Why is mental wellbeing important?

Mental wellbeing is important for everyday daily tasks and living life to our full abilities. Ireland has one of the highest rates of mental health illness in Europe, with 18.5% reporting having a psychological disorder or substance dependency issue in 2016, compared with 10.7% globally . Also, the overall number of people with mental health issues has increased, with 1 in 6 people in the UK experiencing common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression in any given week. Organisations can play a vital role in the prevention of these mental health concerns by ensuring access to support and psychological safety.

Mental wellbeing determines how we handle stress in our lives, how we relate to others, and contributes to our health choices.

Other benefits of taking care of our mental wellbeing can include:

  • Improving our relationships
  • Improving our mood
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Create an enhanced sense of inner peace
  • Allows our minds to think more clearly
  • Increasing our self-esteem

What is an example of mental wellbeing?

Examples include good professional relationships, clear feedback and instructions, positive feedback, and work–life balance. In contrast, factors such as poor or unclear communication, unrealistic deadlines, poor relationships, workplace conflict, and a lack of support can cause negative mental wellbeing

How to improve your mental wellbeing?

When you struggle with mental health, the first step to feeling better is finding a way to talk about how you’re feeling. For many of us, this can be a difficult task.

Below are some ways in how you can improve your mental wellbeing.

1.Talk to someone you trust

Talking about feelings is sometimes seen as a weakness. Opening up about how you feel is a part of you taking charge of your mental health. It can be a way of coping with and managing your struggles. Talking about your problems can make you feel relieved and unburdened.

Ensure there is enough time to have an in-depth conversation, allowing at least 30 minutes or more. Start with a text message if a face-to-face conversation is too intimidating. Gather together a few key points that you would like to communicate, as this will help reduce anxiety levels about having this conversation. Research information about your struggles as this can help to clarify your thoughts and make the conversation easier.

2.Be physically active

A person who is active not only benefits from the physical aspect, but evidence also shows that being active regularly can also improve your mental wellbeing. Being active improves mental wellbeing by:

  • Helping you achieve your goals by dedicating yourself to something
  • Increases your confidence, both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Releases serotonin when exercising which can lift your mood

3.Take on a hobby

Many underestimate the powerful effect taking up a hobby has on a person’s mental wellbeing. A simple hobby like a book club or cooking class can improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Helping you to connect to others and make new friends
  • Increases your self-esteem and builds confidence
  • Provides a sense of purpose and something to look forward to every week

4.Practice mindfulness

Paying more attention and focusing on the present moment can help improve your mental wellbeing. The practice of mindfulness includes focusing on your feelings, thoughts, your body, and the world around you. This can help you live a fuller life and allow you to understand your body and mind better.

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