Mental health and wellbeing are imperative to your quality of life. Proactive steps to look after your mental health and wellbeing are just as important as caring for your physical health. The following five simple actions have been associated with stress reduction, and improvement in mental health and wellbeing:
Connect | Be active | Be aware | Keep learning | Help others.
Relationships are an important ingredient to building and maintaining wellbeing. Irrespective of your age or stage of life, positive social relationships can promote wellbeing and buffer against mental ill-health. Having both close and broad relationships are beneficial. Often people withdraw socially when struggling. Even if it feels difficult, it is worth making the extra effort to connect.
2. Be active
Being active is beneficial at any age. It is good for your mental state, brain functioning and physical health. Being active does not have to be intensive exercise. Identify a physical activity that you enjoy, and which matches your level of fitness and mobility. Start simple and commit to doing it regularly.
3. Be aware
This involves being aware of your thoughts and emotions as they happen, without getting caught up in them. Bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgment, helps build self-awareness, improve resilience, regulate emotions, improve mood and reduce stress. When we are aware, we are less likely to respond reactively, and our behaviours are more likely to be aligned with our values. Being able to recognise and label what you are experiencing also means you will be better able to identify how and when to seek support.
4. Keep learning
The adult brain is capable of rewiring itself. People of all ages can benefit from ongoing learning. Learning new skills and increasing our knowledge helps us to enjoy more out of life, increases self-esteem and self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose and can connect us with others. Research also shows learning throughout life can help improve our ability to cope with stress. Learning does not have to be about gaining qualifications. It is about challenging ourselves to try something in a different way to what we have done before or discovering something new.
5. Help others
Helping others can have a positive impact on emotional and physical health. It can boost happiness for us as well as the people we help. Helping others has been associated with increases in life satisfaction, improved mood, reduced stress, sense of purpose, reduced blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
Incorporating these five actions into your day-to-day life can help you: live a happier and more fulfilling life; be more productive and present in your work; cope better with stress; and have positive physical health outcomes.
These actions have been endorsed by the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Learn more about the Five ways to wellbeing, including suggestions on activities to incorporate these actions into your daily life.
The Solicitor Outreach Service – Help when you need it
The Solicitor Outreach Service (SOS) is an independent and confidential psychology counselling service for NSW solicitors. You don’t have to be a breaking point to access help.
NSW solicitors can call SOS on 1800 592 296 for access to:
- Up to three counselling sessions with an SOS psychologist per financial year, paid for by the Law Society of NSW
- 24/7 telephone crisis counselling with a psychologist.
The SOS psychologists are familiar with the challenges commonly faced by NSW solicitors./p>
If your or someone else’s life is in danger, phone 000 immediately.
Miriam Wyzenbeek is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and the Law Society of NSW’s Wellbeing Manager.
First published Thursday 8 September 2022