We all have things we would like to change in our lives. Change is not just a question of willingness or even motivation. To change, we sometimes need skills.
There is a lot of information now available on line, almost so much it can be really confusing. Mental health and physical health are both important and often linked. When we build physical strength the results are mostly obvious, strong or weak mental health is unfortunately less visible. We can build our mental health in the same way by spending time and ‘exercising’. To help we have pulled together some information to give you pointers of where to look for self-help / self-care tips. Self-care can take many forms, but exercise, eating well, sleeping well and having good social connections can all help.
If you are really not certain and need information or just a general introduction to mental health, please try the MIND site:
If you want to explore self-care options the below site is excellent, just use the search facility and there are lots of self-help resources available:
We all get stressed, exams, driving to work, a picky boss….. stress is very common
and can be positive and negative.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a trigger and is generally a short-term experience. Stress can be positive or negative. When stress kicks in and helps you pull off that deadline you thought was a lost cause, it’s positive. When stress results in insomnia, poor concentration, and impaired ability to do the things you normally do, it’s negative.
Learning to cope with stress can require some trial and error. What works for your best friend might not work for you. It’s important to build your own stress reduction toolkit so that you have more than one strategy to implement when stress kicks in. These tools might include:
The single best thing you can do when under stress is to engage in deep breathing. In for 4sec, hold for 4sec then out for 6sec. Try it and notice the way you respond, your body is telling your mind it's safe, please calm down.
Shift your focus
Learn how to focus your mind through mindfulness or distract your mind (exercise, outdoors, reading, colouring, listening to music).Whatever works for you. It’s a learnt skill like riding a bike, practice is important. Just start with 10mins. If your attention wanders gently and non-judgementally bring your attention back to the task in hand.
Emphasise the positive.
Recognise and celebrate what is going ok or right. Try writing a journal and include 3 things everyday that you are grateful for.
Don't ignore the negative
it will be eating away at you, bring it to counselling (see below), face it in a safe environment.
Sometimes we have things that can trigger stress or anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works to help us notice these triggers and help us manage our response to them. It can help change problematic thinking styles or behaviour patterns so we can feel better.
For online resources please look at:
In some cases we want to talk to someone in a safe confidential environment, to someone who will listen and help us clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. This is called counselling, which is a process of talking about and working through your personal problems with a counsellor.
If you think you would benefit from counselling you can ask your GP if this is a possibility through your surgery. Alternatively there are private counsellors who work locally, be aware you will have to pay, this varies but is typically around £40 per session. There is also a local charity called DCCP which is based in Newton Abbot and provides counselling, they charge what you can afford to pay.
The Stay Alive app is a suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.