7 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

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Thankfully mental health is something that is being talked about more and more, but just what should you do to help maintain your own wellbeing?

Some of the suggestions below can be easily slotted into your life while others may be tougher to stick to, but our experts are sure they will help in the long run!

7 tips to maintain good mental health

1. Keep in touch

Isolation and loneliness have been shown to decrease brain activity and increase risk of dementia, so make a concerted effort to keep up with old friendships, stay in touch with extended family, find a group activity you love, make eye contact and chat at the checkout – every little counts!

2. On the move

Many health specialists believe a sedentary life to be as bad for your brain health as smoking, but you don’t have to sign up for a marathon or join a gym to reap dementia-busting benefits. Just make a point of never sitting for more than an hour, moving around if you can, and aim to infuse as much movement as possible into your life. The old adage “use it or lose it” really is worth bearing in mind.

3. Sleep soundly

Insomnia is a known risk factor for dementia, so by taking steps to improve the quality of your sleep you can help protect yourself. This might mean reducing the length of your daytime nap, so you will sleep more soundly at bedtime. Also read our advice on 10 top tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

4. Say no to sugar

Alzheimer’s experts name sugar as the one single food that plays the biggest role in the development and progression of dementia. A high-sugar diet can cause insulin resistance which damages brain cells. Cutting back on sweets and treats can bring instant cognitive benefits.

5. Take on a challenge

A healthy brain thrives on challenges which involve many different areas at the same time, so pick the most complex knitting pattern you can manage or have a bash at a foreign language or an instrument. Learning new things keeps your thinking processes alive.

6. And relax

Chronic stress can impair your brain’s ability to flush out harmful waste products, so stress management is an important antidote. Set aside a few minutes each day for a quiet session of deep, slow breathing. It sounds so simple, but can be really effective.

7. Eat well

Studies show strawberries and mangoes contain a compound called “fisetin” which appears to have Alzheimer’s-fighting properties.

Raw fruit and vegetable juices blended and drunk three times a week could reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 76%.

Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19, 2024) is coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation and they can offer help and support at any time of the year.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.