Today is World Mental Health Day, a great opportunity for us all to reflect on our own mental health and the mental health of others around us. Often when it comes to mental health, our immediate response is to think of the negative bias, the conditions, the illness or the problems. Although this mindset is starting to shift, we all need to focus on the positive elements of our mental health: how do we keep ourselves well, in order to be productive and happy?
As with all the high profile awareness dates in the calendar, we may feel under pressure to do activities, make big declarations or statements –when in fact, the biggest impact you can have is on the people around you.
As a member of The Collective Old Oak, I’ve always felt part of a community that inspires this behaviour. Often it is the smallest acts of kindness that come from the heart and are truly altruistic, which show you care and resonate deeply with others. Relationships with others are one the biggest predictors of wellbeing, longevity and health (Deiner & Seligman, 2002; Carr, 2011).
Here are my five top tips of small acts of kindness you can do for people around you. I challenge you to do at least one of these this week.
1. Pick up the phone and call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to for some time.
Take the opportunity to catch up, with no agenda or reason to call. We rely too much on technology to send messages, so to receive an impromptu phone call may really brighten someone’s day
2. Buy a hot drink for a colleague when you’re picking up your own morning joe on the way in to work.
With this simple act of kindness, see how much you make them smile!
3. Arrange to cook dinner for your friends.
Nothing fancy necessary, beans on toast is fine! Agree a ’no phone’ policy – all phones are put away from the start of the meal to when everyone leaves. This small practice not only gives you a much-needed break from your mobile, but it ensures maximum attention to each other and being fully present in the moment.
4. Send a fun postcard to a friend.
To receive something in the post is a nostalgic and lovely way to connect with others. Write about why they make you smile, or the fact you were just thinking about them. And you might even become pen pals!
5. Offer to help a friend out with something they need doing.
From food shopping, nipping to the post office, or helping with the laundry, everyone can always use a hand. Someone actually did this for me this week, which enabled me to run another errand and I was so grateful to that individual.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and today is a reminder that we can practice good mental health in small ways, every day.
We provide a Member’s Assistance Programme, a confidential care and counselling service for our members. Call 0800 085 1376, and mention The Collective or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Share these tips with your friends today on World Mental Health Day!