Tomorrow marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK; and the Mental Health Foundation is focusing on kindness.
The focus has been placed on kindness “because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity.” They rightly state that kindness “strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity.” We also know that kindness is a key element of maintaining a strong sense of wellbeing, and in developing the same in others. The ask is to celebrate acts of kindness this week – and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has to share.
More broadly, we know that there are wider influences on our mental health and wellbeing. A great way to consider these is through the ‘five ways to wellbeing’:
- Connect: taking time to connect with others, even virtually in these current times, is hugely important for sharing in life, what’s happening, what could be troubling you, what could be troubling someone else, and maybe even some laughter.
- Be active: getting out, stretching the legs, doing whatever exercise you’re able to helps to keep your mind alert, increases your energy and helps to create a positive mood.
- Take notice: observing the world around you helps to keep you focused on the present, the things you can enjoy, the things you can control and the things you can influence.
- Learn: self development is really important – even if just something small – learning something new helps to keep the mind active and helps us to grow our self esteem.
- Give: and not necessarily physical gifts or money… giving someone, a community, or an organisation, the gift of your time and support can significantlty help others, and develop a strong sense of wellbeing in yourself.
Developing a strong mental wellbeing is, in my opinion, something we should all be cognisant of at all times – not just if we feel down, or find ourselves struggling to deal with specific circumstances. Take a little time, every day, to find ways to connect, be active, take notice, learn and give. From my own experience, you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.
And, over the next week, let’s celebrate kindness.