Your Best Life Starts Now – 10 Tips to Improve Mental Wellbeing

We are our own harshest critics, but making a few tweaks to our way of thinking and living can make a huge difference to our self-esteem. Read on for a few of my very simple, tried and tested tips for increasing happiness…

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Spritz Some Self Love

Fragrance taps into your emotions by evoking pleasant memories of past romances, holidays or nights out. And according to Dr Alan Hirsch of The Smell & Taste Treatment & Research Foundation, fresh and fruity aromas like grapefruit, cucumber and apple help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Their fresh, outdoorsy aromas have been shown to induce a positive mood. I personally find that any scent I love improves my mood, so me that’s pretty much anything rose scented or by Diptyque – or my ultimate… Tuberose/Roses by Diptyque. My dream team!

Get Belly Beautiful

Forget squats and lunges – women who belly dance feel more confident and at ease with their figures. It tones and sculpts your muscles, and promotes a positive mental attitude about yourself. After hearing this I am super keen to try out belly dance but I’m a huge advocate for other genres of dance as well, like tap and ballet. Find a style that appeals to you or that you wished you’d given a go when you were younger and try it now.

Dish Out Compliments

Making flattering comments about someone’s outfit or haircut makes you feel as good as the person you’re praising. It’s amazing that such a small simple skill can change the way you view yourself, by strengthening your relationships, boosting your self-esteem and increasing your confidence. We are all suspicious of people who never give compliments, and we all know people who are stingy with them. We often find it hard to connect with these people. Give five compliments a day to start seeing the world in a more complimentary way. Of course, they should be genuine or else you won’t get the hit of pleasure, you’ll just feel inauthentic. I have always been very free-and-easy with my compliments, believing that it’s wrong to think something nice about someone and keep it from them, but my friend, who recently found herself envious of someone in her line of work told me that after she complimented her colleague on her achievements and skills, she herself felt the envy dissipate.

Think Yourself Happy

Half of our happiness is genetic, while 10 per cent comes down to circumstances, according to research carried out by social psychologist Sonja Lyunbimirsjy. So this means the remaining 40 per cent of our happiness comes down to what we do and how we think. It’s common for people to be brutally negative with themselves, observe your internal dialogue. What are you telling yourself over and over? write down these inner thoughts and when they’re on paper, alter them to say the opposite. If you regularly tell yourself, “I’m not good enough”,  you need to change that self-talk to something like, “I’m worthy of wonderful things happening in my life”. Create some alarms on your phone with positive messages or affirmations. It might sound like a faff but it’s not a waste of time. The more positive thoughts you create, the more will be created automatically.

Create a Body C.V.

I suggest drawing up a mental inventory of everything your body has achieved – from running a marathon to fighting an illness or having a baby: I also suggest thinking about what your body can still accomplish; stop fixating on what you can’t do and focus on what you want to achieve in the future. This sounds bonkers but it is actually a really great exercise. I did it with my friend at a course once and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. She even keeps hers in her paper planner (which she, and I, still use in the year 2016…).

Strength Train

Feeling physically strong is empowering. The stronger you are, the higher your self confidence. It literally turbo challenges your self-esteem. Try to do some weight training or even just take a yoga class, but do something that increases your strength. The strongest people I know, physically, tend to have bucket-loads of confidence and incredible presence.

Colour Yourself Confident

Of all environmental factors, colour has one of the most significant impacts on how you feel. If your bedroom is painted white, for instance, it can make you feel detached, according to colour psychologists. Its a cold colour that doesn’t five you much psychological support.  Instead she suggests considering a combination of green and pink, it doesn’t have to be bright – you could choose soft rose and sage. Pink is physically soothing and nurturing, while green is natures favourite colour and will make you feel secure. Paint one wall with colour and add a splash of the other hue with a cushion or throw. At the very least add accents of the psychologically supportive shades. It will have a dramatic effect on your feelings.

Make Sweet Music

According to scientific research in the USA, listening to music for one hour per day helps reduce depression by 25 per cent. Even if you’re just a little low, or even happy, music can help to elevate your mood that bit more. It’s is a transporter of people to other times, places and events and if you choose wisely, incorporating music into your daily routine can make you healthier and happier.

Get Creative

Creative activities can reduce anxiety and stress, and they even have the power to aid in the healing process if you’ve experienced trauma or injury. That’s why art therapy, music therapy, and even drama therapy are often added to standard forms of treatment for depression and anxiety.

You don’t have to be a trained writer, musician, or artist to receive the benefits of creative activity. Personal expression of emotion is powerful, from any creator – and nobody need see your work! There are a number of ways you can channel your negative feelings into creative work. Standard outlets include music (singing/playing an instrument),  writing (poetry, short stories, or journaling) art (drawing and sculpture), and drama. But there are other outlets as well. Florists can express moods through flower arrangements, and chefs use spices and herbs to suggest different moods; you can also creatively express yourself through photography, gardening or woodworking.

Slap some paint (or markers or crayons) onto a blank surface or write  unstructured poem for five minutes – anything that comes to your mind (don’t worry about rhyming or spelling). We all reap the rewards of expressing our creativity as children and it’s to our detriment that we reduce this practice so dramatically as adults.

Put Yourself in the Picture

Think how good you feel when you see a flattering picture of yourself. Getting a professional or a creative friend to take your photo means they’re looking at you with different eyes and searching for your best angles. Black and white images are also very flattering. Once you’ve got your fabulous picture, frame it, hang it and admire it. There are many versions of you, and sometimes you need a visual reminder that you’re not just the messy, stressy, rain-soaked you but are also glamorous, feminine and relaxed. Having a picture on display can remind you of that.