In this month’s post our resident Psychologist, Zoe Slater focuses on the importance of valuing good mental health. She outlines action steps we can all take during Mental Health Week 2018 so we become fit and healthy mentally and better prepared to alleviate stress we might have in our lives and around money issues.

Did you know it is ‘Mental Health Week’ in Australia from 6th – 14th Oct, 2018 and it’s ‘World Mental Health Day’ on the 10th October, 2018? It’s the perfect time of the year to focus on yourself to ensure that you are feeling fit and healthy mentally.

During this years’ ‘Mental Health Week’ there are 6 objectives in the spotlight. These objectives are action steps you can take to assist with maintaining good mental health and positive outcomes from your life.

The 6 Action steps to achieving better mental health

1. Be Active.
2. Keep Learning
3. Give
4. Connect
5. Take Notice
6. Care For Our Planet

I love these 6 objectives. All 6 of them will naturally produce ‘Happy Chemicals’ like endorphin, oxytocin, adrenalin, dopamine norepinephrine, serotonin. These natural happy chemicals will lift your mood quicker than any artificial enhancer, with far reaching benefits.

Here’s how you can take action TODAY

1. Be Active
What kind of activity makes you smile and laugh. What kind of activity reminds you that you are more than work. What kind of activity makes you feel like you have friends with a similar interest.

Walking, gardening, hiking, competitive sport, swimming, beach play, it’s endless. And if you’re stuck just google activities in your city and be prepared to be flooded with options.

If you choose an inside activity that’s great however explore a way to get involved in outside activity to. Outdoor activities are organic and more harmoniously beneficial for your body like the sun touching your skin that’s essential for your kidney’s to produce natural Vitamin D.

Oxygen breathed through the nose increases the bodies oxygen uptake including the fragrant smells of Spring. You get to hear nature at play and re-orient your connection to the planet. Exercising your eye muscles from LCD screen’s by looking at the landscape all the way to the horizon. Raise your cardiovascular, lift your spirit and build a thirst for water.

Wow, I’ve inspired myself, but I will finish the other five before I take off.

2. Keep Learning
Learning new stuff creates new neurological connections in the brain and is said to ward of things like Alzheimer’s. Learning something new creates good stress in the body and often new friends come with new interest. Learning something new becomes conversational and can create a whole new social aspect to your identity. It keeps you involved in the community, no longer alone but a sense of feeling wanted and missed, that people, your new friends are keen to see you again.

3. Give
Give your time, money or something you don’t use but others would dearly love to have.

The act of giving from the heart is a sign of abundance, that you’re not lacking. Giving time is the one thing that most people don’t have. People wish they had more time every day. Giving time is becoming the most valuable commodity of today because you can never get that time back. Giving your time creates a real time experience with that person a bond that you share, a story that’s yours to tell, a memory that stands the test of time.

Giving time is said to add almost 7 years on to your life.

Donate money to a worthy cause or turn that money into an item that will create ease and joy in someone’s life.

4. Connect
Connecting is a primal need and the major reason we survived as a specie. Connecting, feeling safe, listened to, understood and valued is part of group survival. With-out connection we feel alone and isolated not needed or wanted. Which is often how the elderly feel in modern western societies.

Taking the time to connect with yourself too. Who am I, why am I here, what do I really want to do today. How can I be kind to myself. Perhaps have a lovely long bath, a stroll through the markets, go somewhere because you can, not because you have to.

Connect with dear people you have been meaning to call but have been too busy and caught up in your own hype world.

Connecting is about reaching out, saying hi, saying I love you, saying I’m sorry.

Connecting is making an effort, being your word for that or whom are dear to you including yourself.

5. Take Notice
Take notice by slowing down and observing your life and those around you. Lift your head and focus your eyes. Look at people in the eye and see the truth. You might notice they need help, are struggling or have been waiting for you to notice them.

6. Care For Our Planet
Make a pact to act, and clean your street, or your favourite park or bush walk with a rubbish bag and collect what others have ignorantly left behind. Stop that tap from dripping, recycle your shopping bags. Use boxes instead. Recycle, re-use and re-think how you can make a difference.

By valuing your mental health and taking action you can achieve so much from life whilst also shifting any of your Money Stress to Money Success.

The key points are:

  • Value your Mental Health
  • Get involved
  • Six objectives
  • Being Mentally Healthy is fun and will ultimately reduce your health premiums and insurance

Make your mental health a lifestyle commitment. Work to LIVE – not live to work!

If you have any questions or need help or guidance please send me an email, give me a call on M: 0414 778 476 or visit me on Facebook @freedomchoiceacademy.

Zoe is the director of Zoe Slater Counselling and CEO Freedom Choice Academy. She studied at The Australian College of Applied Psychology, Sydney Campus and completed her Diploma of Counselling and Communication at the Brisbane Campus. Zoe is an Associate Member with the Queensland Counsellors Association Inc and a member with Australian Counsellors Association.

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