According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a form of mental illness at one point in their lives which roughly translates to around 450m people. It's a truly staggering number and one which will only grow if sufferers don't talk about their problems.
Having said that, many find it difficult to verbally get their feeling across, and an alarmingly high number (especially men under 45) turn to suicide as a way out which is why we at Lifehack Lane thought it appropriate in the lead-up to Mental Health Awareness Week to go through 10 simple things you can follow to help keep your mental well-being in-check.
1. Reinforce your positive attributes
Typically, mental health sufferers find it hard to celebrate themselves or even like what they see in the mirror, because more often than not they pick themselves to pieces. But self-criticism can easily be avoided if you take a moment to assess what makes you a likeable and interesting person.
Sure, you may not be everyone's ideal human, but who is? So long as you try and be the best person you can every day, then that's all that should matter.
2. Get creative
There has long been a link between artistic expression and one's overall well-being so why not embark on a passion project? It doesn't have to be anything too time-consuming. It could simply involve you devoting an hour a week to a painting, or even just purchasing a few coloring books.
Whatever it is, the arts are a great way to remove the malaise that comes from mental illness, so it's worth giving anything creative a shot.
3. Stay fit
It's a known fact that endorphins are released during exercise allowing the opiate receptors in our brain to feel much better than we did pre-exercise so why not join your local gym and really make a go of it this time?
We're so often told to go to the gym to stay in shape, but few mention the positive psychological effects exercise can have on us. And of course, you'll still have the bonus of looking great should you stick to a regimented routine.
4. Avoid drinking
When people fall into deep spirals of depression, they often turn to alcohol as an escape from the darkness they think they can't escape from while other sufferers cut it out altogether.
And more often than not, those who eradicate drink from their lifestyle generally see their mental health improving. That's not to say we suggest you cut alcohol from your life forever, but it might be wise in the short run because alcohol can make you think and do some dangerous things and thereby make you more vulnerable than you already are.
5. Learn to deal with stress and anxiety-inducing situations by being rationale
It's all in your head. Yes, you read the correctly. More often that not, our worst fears are, indeed, just in our heads, yet that still doesn't stop sufferers worrying about things non-sufferers wouldn't even give a second thought to.
In other cases, the mental health problem may be caused by a death or breakup, but even then, it's important you establish the reasons why you're upset and what you can do to combat these feelings, so they don't impact on your life forever.
Easier said than done, of course, but in most cases, talking to someone can be an excellent way to cope while online forums are great places for those who don't feel comfortable talking in person.
6. Set yourself realistic goals
At certain times in our lives, we can often feel directionless and even hopeless, and if you have a mental illness, the feelings will only be amplified. But don't let that be the case.
Instead, set some goals that you believe are realistic. After all, most people get to where they want to be in life by setting realistic goals and then moving forward once each has been met. It could be saving for a house or making enough money to quit your job and put a deposit down on that new restaurant you've always wanted to open. You may feel like nothing is possible some days, but if you establish a clearer direction in life, at least you'll have the hope that one day things will get better.
7. Don't fall into the same routine
It can be dangerous to fall into a routine that offers little the way of excitement or change and if you have an ongoing mental health problem it's certainly advised that you spice things up a bit. It doesn't have to be a drastic change. It could simply mean going to the gym 3 times a week instead of 4 and going out dancing with friends instead.
You could even sign up for an evening class in something, you've always wanted to do. Again, we are not stressing you completely overhaul your life, but opening yourself up to more options can often rejuvenate your outlook on life.
8. Seek help from others
Though we've touched upon this briefly in point 5, we think it's only right we raise the issue of talking to somebody else. Even if you feel you can't confide in anyone you know or love or if you don't have anyone on hand to talk to, there's a host of hotlines that are set up to help deal with those suffering from crippling mental illnesses.
Sometimes, letting your feelings come to the surface as opposed to having them eat away at you inside can often mean the difference between life and death so we think it's only right we raise this.
9. Be around positive people
Positivity! It's an infectious word that has the ability to seep into the hearts and minds of everyone, and though that sounds incredibly wishy-washy, it's also a utopia worth entertaining, because, whilst life will never be perfect, it can certainly be great if you're around people who are always on hand to help.
We're not suggesting you become a hippie and adopt a tree and go completely vegan. All we're suggesting is that a life lived with positive people is better than one involving isolation and an inability to want to see the world differently.
10. Watch something nice and lighthearted
It doesn't have to be anything serious. It could simply be a lighthearted HBO drama or even a favorite cartoon from your childhood. Whatever it is, watch something that you think will help alleviate any ongoing negative feelings.
Admittedly, the word escapism implies that you are running away from feelings, but by gradually getting into a habit of adopting some of the things mentioned above, you'll have a great chance at getting back to full health.