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How Talking Can Help Your Mental Health

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.



Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.


Keep active

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep and feel better.

It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots. What does it feel like inside your head? What does it make you feel like doing?

You don't need to sit your loved ones down for a big conversation about your wellbeing. Many people feel more comfortable when these conversations develop naturally - maybe when you're doing something together.

If it feels awkward at first, give it time. Make talking about your feelings something that you do.


EAT WELL

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect.

But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.

A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

A healthy balanced diet includes:

  • lots of different types of fruit and vegetables

  • wholegrain cereals or bread

  • nuts and seeds

  • dairy products

  • oily fish

  • plenty of water.

Eat at least three meals each day and drink plenty of water. Try to limit how many high-caffeine or sugary drinks you have, and avoid too much alcohol.

Please Note: The advice on this page may not apply if your doctor or dietician have given you specific dietary advice, e.g. if you are a kidney patient or a diabetic.



Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

Apart from the damage too much alcohol can do to your body, you would need more and more alcohol each time to feel the same short-term boost. There are healthier ways of coping with tough times.

Occasional light drinking is perfectly healthy and enjoyable for most people.

Stay within the recommended weekly alcohol limits:

  • 14 units a week for both men and women

Many people also smoke or use drugs or other substances to change how they feel. But, again, the effects are short-lived. Just like alcohol, the more you use, the more you crave. Nicotine and drugs don’t deal with the causes of difficult feelings. They don’t solve problems, they create them.


KEEP IN TOUCH


Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life. Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face-to-face. But that’s not always possible. Give them a call, drop them a note or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open. It’s good for you!

If you’re feeling out of touch with some people, look back at our section on talking about your feelings and get started!



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