A Better State of Mind

The following article is written by a local Sixth Form student, who wanted to get involved with Student Life to try and help fellow students who are experiencing similar situations.

mental health, student life, waterfront life, ipswich

It can be very difficult being a teenager and young adult in the 21st century, especially with the amount of academic and social pressures experienced today. So, here I have my top 4 tips for a better state of mind - 

1.Exercise

I suppose you’ve heard this one countless times but it really does benefit your mental wellbeing. It can be hard even to leave the house at times but once you do just that you will already feel a lot better. The effects of exercise on mental health have been scientifically proven – while exercising, your body releases a lot of endorphins which is our ‘feel-good’ chemical, resulting in a naturally better mood after exercise. 

2. Gratitude

From my own experience, practising gratitude is a VERY helpful technique when trying to deal with your mental state. What really helps me, and a lot of people in fact, is to, in the morning - or at the end of the day - thinking about all the things you are grateful for in your life.  Perhaps write it down for a reminder throughout the day. It could be as simple as how nice the weather is, or how you’re grateful for all the people in your life. This method can really aid your happiness. 

3. Go outdoors

This sounds like a really simple concept, and it is. Nature and the outdoors really do boost your mental health. A study has shown that when going to the woods or just being amongst nature such as trees, heart rate and the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases.  Some therapists actually use walks in the forest (forest therapy) to help treat various depressive disorders – obviously being a successful way to treat patients. 

4. Negative people

You may have some negative people/friends in your life which can be harmful to your state of mind. Maybe you can’t immediately identify these individuals but just try to think about whether they are genuinely good friends, or whether they seem to be blocking your happiness.  They could always be criticising what you do/say or perhaps they get angry at you a lot. Whichever the situation, it’s very important that you try to cut these ‘friends’ out of your life.  This could be by restricting your contact with them and seeking out more positive acquaintances.


Exercise, Gratitude, Fresh Air & Negative People

written by carole thain

There is often a feeling of sadness as we come to the end of the summer season and are faced with less sunshine and fewer daylight hours. In the main, we feel more cheerful when the sun is shining and perhaps even more energetic. During winter, it is often tempting to eat and sleep more and even socialise less and this is quite natural. For people that are affected by seasonal affective disorder; feelings of low mood and other symptoms can be quite severe.

So how can we protect our wellbeing at this time of the year? Someone recently commented that there were no windows in an office that they had once worked in, this makes it even more important in winter to get outside to experience some natural light in the day. 

In Ipswich, the garden at Quay Place is a beautiful space just to come and sit and relax on a bright autumn day.  Perhaps take a proper break one lunchtime and come and discover a little haven in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the busy Waterfront area. You could even volunteer and help to keep the garden looking at its best if you enjoy being more active.

We know that exercise, whatever form that may take, is good for us.  Gardeners will tell you being outside in the fresh air is great for your physical and mental wellbeing – at Suffolk Mind we call this Ecotherapy.  Our allotment projects offer the opportunity to be out in the fresh air and have some exercise; whether it’s gentle weeding, or potting, or digging over the plot, and there is even an opportunity to socialise and feel part of a team - all working together to achieve something that so many others can enjoy.   

Autumn and Winter can have much to offer with lots to look forward to.  If you know someone who is affected by the change of the seasons and is, perhaps, more irritable, more negative and less interested in doing things, it can be difficult to know what to do to support them. Patience, kindness and just being there can help; also being sensitive about not making too many demands on them.  

Having a life that works is good for our wellbeing all year round, but at this time of the year, we may need to look after ourselves a little bit more.  So be kind to yourself as well as to others.

For more info about having a life that works visit suffolkmind.org.uk