Keep on top of yourself

Mental health issues dot the landscape, in the media, among social circles, in families, and so on. Some of you may have experienced a mental illness. Someone you know may have been faced by trying times. Whatever the case may be, if you’re feeling lost or confused, know that this does not have to be the end of positive experiences.

How many of us have actually stopped for a moment to consider what it means to be in a good state of mental health? What can we do to foster our own wellbeing?

As human beings, we are inherently social and as such, we need positive and respectful relationships. The key to this is our own willingness to work at it. Positive, loving and supportive relationships enhance positive self-image and self-esteem, which leave us feeling happier and healthier. No one, no matter who they are, has the right to make you feel bad or disempowered about who you are. Such relationships drain your spirit. Cutting off such relationships and removing toxic company might save you a lot of stress and help you become much more productive and content with yourself and your life.

Setting realistic and achievable goals are a great way to promote self-efficiency. Every idea and goal can be accomplished with a little thing known as persistence. Once you’ve set a goal, make a simple plan and take action. Make lots of little goals and kick them, one at a time. It’s like putting one foot in front of the other.

Being physically healthy is closely related to mental health. This means having a healthy diet and lifestyle. Yes, it helps to indulge in the odd piece (or block) of chocolate here and there, but for the most part, it is important that a lack of self-control leads to lower feelings of self-esteem. Equally, don’t go straight for a diet or anything drastic. Arguably, every time you drink a weight-loss shake, you’re going to feel that you’re not meeting your goals. So, take up and maintain a nutritious diet, regular exercise and good dose of that weirdly alien concept at this time of semester – sleep.

If you’ve been struggling with any form of mental illness or just been lacking your upbeat vibes, try to make a small change here or there. Start somewhere, because anywhere is better than nowhere. Feel empowered to do so. You are the expert and manager of your journey and experience. Take control and you’ll be able to soar.

If you think you may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem, please contact ANU Counselling on 6125 2442, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.