A Video of me Saying Hello!

I wanted to shoot a video for you all, so you can see the real me, in the flesh! I am on a journey of self discovery, and I want my followers to be a big part of that! The advantage of a video, is that you get to see my emotion.

In this video I share the news about my world record attempt and an important message that comes with it.

I hope you enjoy!

Matthew

P.S. I haven’t done any training with Youtube, including how to embed a preview on my blog! Oops! I will look it up and fix this post soon!

Ways To Improve Your Mental Health In A Lockdown Part Two

A lot of people out there will be feeling lonely and depressed right now. We have no choice to have limited contact with others And it is also easy to fall into the traps of being unproductive , binge watching tv shows or gaming all day. The lack of movement won’t be helping out body or our mind. These are 2 more things that I am doing to help with my mental health

1, Keeping up communication We shouldn’t be waiting until a crisis to get in touch with loved ones, but if there is any time to do it, its now. Let them know you love them! We have the obvious methods of phone calls and text messaging which is nice and easy. Then we have video calling on apps like Skype and WhatsApp.

But we are also lucky enough to be going through this in the age of social media. With sites like Facebook, I have a lot of friends and family at my fingertips. Its really easy to check in on everyone. Just be careful with this suggestion. Social media can be very negative in a time like this. You want to be viewing more positive material, than negative. Especially if negativity can bring you down and/or put you in your own negative mindset, like it does with me.

Support groups are really helpful at this stressful tme too. I am an admin of a group on Facebook called Mental Health and Awareness Support (shameful plug!). We have thousands of members asking for and giving advice, a lot of it lockdown and virus based. Just do your due dilligence when looking for support groups and remember that most people cannot offer you professional help.

But what about communication in-person? Well one of the few people we can still talk to is our neighbours (over the fence and from a distance of course!). They might be very lonely too or need some help. Who knows, we could be a part of the stories that we are hearing. Like the neighbours singing to children, or putting on musical performances from their balconies!

Which leads me onto my next suggestion…

2, Getting some exercise outside

Empty streets create a creat opportunity for exercise
The streets are rather empty, take advantage by getting some exercise with limited worries of getting to close to others


Its amazing what fresh air and exercise can do for the mind. Exercise is well known to help improve your mental health. I am trying to go out for a walk every day. So if allowed go for one yourself, or maybe run or cycle.. And if you have children (or dogs!), stretching their legs will hopefully release some pent up energy! Speaking of children, do you have any teddy bears in the house? If so, join us in taking part in the teddy bear hunt! Lots of people are placing teddy bears in their windows. The kids on walks can have a look for them! Of course, remember physical distancing. Try to stick to roads where you can cross over, or aim for quieter times in the day.

Have you spoken to family, friends, or your neighbours today? Have you been outside and exercised? If not, what are you waiting for?

If you missed Part One, here you go – Ways To Improve Your Mental Health In A Lockdown Part One

Crisis Contacts for North and Central America

In times of a personal crisis, you want to find accurate information and fast. I have looked at many lists of crisis contacts, and determined that some on them are inaccurate or incomplete. So I have decided to put together my own, starting with North and Central America. Stay tuned for the rest of the world, up next, I will do Europe.

If you find any errors, or have additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I will add it to my list.

THE BAHAMAS

National Suicide Hotline Phone – 322 2763

BARBADOS

Samaritans Phone – (246) 429 9999

CANADA

Crisis Services Canada Phone – 1833 456 4566 (Available to all of Canada) and 1866 277 3553 (Quebec) Text – START to 45645 (English only, 4pm – Midnight ET)

Kids Help Phone – 1800 668 6868 Text – CONNECT to 686868 Live online chat – https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/

SOS Amitie Online Chat – https://www.sos-amitie.com/web/internet/chat;jsessionid=640BE901C24D93445EF3273E54956E3F (1pm – 3am)

SOS Suicide Phenix Phone – 01 40 44 46 45 Email – accueil@sos-suicide-phenix.org

Suicide Econte Phone – 01 45 39 40 00

Trans Lifeline – Staffed by Trans Phone – 877 330 6366 (Operators usually available but not always)

CAYMAN ISLANDS

Crisis Hotline Phone 943 2422

The Counselling Centre – Free Counselling Phone – 949 8789 Online Message – https://www.dcs.gov.ky/tcc/the-counselling-centre-contact-us

The Family Resource Centre – Walk-in Crisis Intervention Phone – 949 0006

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica Suicide Hotline Phone – 506 253 5439

CUBA

Suicide Horline Phone – 532 348 14 49

DOMINCA

Crisis Hotline Phone 333

GUATEMALA

Crisis Hotline Phone – 502 254 1259

HONDURAS

Telefono de la Esperanza de Honduras Phone – 150

JAMAICA

Ministry of Education Phone – 1888 429 5273 (Youth Helpline)

MEXICO

SAPTEL Phone – (55) 5259 8121

NICARAGUA

Nicaragua Suicide Hotline Phone – 505 268 6171

PUERTO RICO

Linea Pas Phone – 1800 981 0023

SAINT LUCIA

Saint Luicia Crisis Centre Corporation Phone – 453 6848 0r 712 7574 Email – stluciacrisis@gmail.com or stluciacrisiscounsellor@gmail.com Online Contact Form – https://slucrisiscentre.com/contact-us/

SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Samaritans Phone – (784) 456 1044

ST. MAARTEN

Mental Health Foundation Phone – 311

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Lifeline Phone (868) 645 2800

UNITED STATES

Crisis Text Line Text – HOME to 741 741

IMAlive Crisis Chatline Online Chat – https://www.imalive.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone – 1800 2728255 (English), 1888 628 9454 (Spanish) and 1800 799 4889 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing)

Samaritans USA – New York City Phone (212) 673 3000

The Trevor Project – Support for LGBTQ Text – TREVOR to 1202 304 1200 Phone – 1866 488 7386 Online Instant Messager – Https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/ (Monday-Friday 3pm-10pm ET) Online Community – https://www.trevorspace.org/utm_source=trevor_website&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=homepage_tabs (Ages 13 – 24)

Trans Lifeline Phone – 1877 330 6366

Veterans Crisis Line Text – 838255 Phone – 1800 273 8255

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Lifeline Phone – 1800 273 8255

The difference between mental health and mental illness

Upset man, is he mentally ill or just poor mental health?

Too many times, people are getting mental health and mental illness around the wrong way. Or they might assume they are the same thing. Yet they are very different, and I am going to explain how.

What is mental health?

Mental health is something everyone has, just like physical health. It covers what state our mind is in, how we are thinking, feeling and reacting to situations and ourselves. At different times of our life, our mental health will vary from high to low. If we have high or good mental health, we will be approaching life with a positive mindset. Our relationships will be healthy, and will be tackling life’s challenges in good ways. But if our mental health is low, or bad, all of these things won’t be ideal. We will be negative, and our relationships will be having problems. We also are unlikely to be dealing with problems in ways we should.

Most people will vary from good to bad mental health during their lives.


What is mental illness?

Mental illness is a mental health disorder. The World Health Organisation stated that roughly 1 in 4 people will experience a mental illness at some stage of their life. Mental illness is generally longer lasting and symptoms are more intense, compared to bad mental health. The symptoms themselves vary depending on the type of illness, of which there are many.

Poor mental health can lead to, or be the result of a mental illness. Though some people can have good mental health but still be mentally ill. Likewise, your mental illness could be minor but you can still have poor mental health. Other causes of mental illness are abuse and/or trauma, abnormal brain activity or chemistry. There is also a lot of evidence that it can passed on through your genes.

You can be happy and mentally ill, or sad and not mentally ill.
You can be happy and still have a mental illness. You can also be sad and not be mentally ill.

Why is it important to distinguish the two terms?

Stigma and general understanding. Lets pretend Bob has poor mental health, but no mental illness. But Bob gets confused and thinks that he is mentally ill. Bob will be recovering fast from his poor mental health, which will lead his friends to assume everyone with a mental illness can get over it just as easy as Bob. This of course can lead to poor advice to other sufferers. Furthermore, Bobs friends would have seen how Bob was with his ‘illness’, and identified that with everyone else they know. Thus incorrectly leading them to the conclusion that everyone get mentally ill.

Even people who should know better, get it wrong. Some who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, are claiming that everyone gets mentally ill. In a support group I help monitor, someone asked if this was true. To my horror, about 80% of replies said that it is!!!

What else might happen if Bob and others like him, claim they are mentally ill? Well, someone who has an illness, might get frustrated because they are not recovering. They might not understand that Bob is not actually mentally ill.

Summery

Mental health is something everyone has . It varies depending on our surroundings and circumstances. Poor mental health is not alarming and doesn’t take much to recover from. Mental illness is a medical condition that only a quarter of people get, is dependent on traumatic events or relationships, and/or our biology. A mental illness is a serious issue that can take a long time (if at all) to fully recover from.

You can have poor mental health, a mental illness, or both. Mixing up the two can cause a lot of confusion and increased stigma.

Is Six Figure Mentors a Scam?

Frustrated woman after seeing a scam!

In my post on March 1, I outlined Six Figure Mentors. I finished by asking if SFM was a scam, or other shady venture. I took the plunge and joined SFM in June 2019, so I am 10 months in. And I am pleased to announce that I have not found any indications of such allegations.

So lets address them individually.

Scam
– Now the SFM program is not free, and to be honest, its not cheap. This is because they pay a lot of experts to help give advice and help to members. Not only that, but the essential package has nearly everything you need to get set up. For whatever package you choose, there is a risk free 30 day money back guarantee. You can try it out to see if its for you. If not, you get your money back, no questions asked. The exclusive community online full of people sharing their successes as well as their struggles. This is definitely not a scam.

I want to mention another thing which sealed the deal for me. At the start of this year, Six Figure Mentors overhauled their platform. Now its important to note, the old platform was not broken. But the new platform brought new opportunities for members to support each other and share knowledge. For us members, its a big deal. How much more are we paying now? Nothing! Co-owner Stuart Ross said that he was not comfortable with the product and the amount of value his members were getting. So they made some massive changes, for free!! Do you see any scam’s putting that much effort in to support members? Nope!

Get rich quick scheme – If only it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. You get what you put in with SFM, you need to work hard to reap the rewards later. Can you get rich off of it? Absolutely. How long would that take? For most people a long time! Results vary wildly, mainly because of how much work people are putting in (to themselves and to their work), and how disciplined, patient etc, they are. You can easily do this along side a full time job, but the more consistent time and effort you put in, the more likely you will succeed.

Some people will think that if you use Six Figure Mentors, money will pile up in no time. This is very unlikely!
Some people will think that if you use Six Figure Mentors, money will pile up in no time. This is very unlikely!

Pyramid scheme – Now I can see the thinking behind this. You are given an opportunity to market SFM’s own packages. Lots of people do this because it can really help increase your earnings. Pyramid schemes also pay people to find more members. But they do not have any benefits other than commission for sign up’s. Whereas SFM provides so many other benefits like one on one help from experts, a supportive community, and access to any related training you can think of. As well as packages that provide a platform to build on no matter what you decide to market.

I urge you all to go click on the link above to go the introduction from Stuart Ross. He explains Six Figure Mentors in more detail. Once you subscribe, you will get a sneak peek behind the scenes, and video’s designed to help you decide if SFM is right for you. The staff at SFM insist that you only sign up if you are confident that its a path you are interested in. They do not want you to waste your time if you are half interested.

Not interested? Great, you won’t hear much more from me about Six Figure Mentors, besides a more detailed explanation. But I will keep bringing other types resources to you, both free and paid. I intend to help you manage your illness and health, in effective ways!

What Is SFM and Can It Help Me?

Working from home with SFM, can improve your lifestyle and mental health

You may have noticed the tab at the top of this site – “SFM – Start Here”. In short, its a genuine opportunity to change your lifestyle. With some hard work, you can have more time, money and freedom. Perhaps you have already clicked on the tab and have worked out what it is. If not, here is an unbiased and honest review based on my experiences so far.

What is it?
Six Figure Mentors (SFM) provides training for online marketing. This enables you to market your own products, or someone else’s. This is all done via a blog like this one, and/or social media. You do not need a background or any knowledge in marketing or technology, as all training is provided.

What are the benefits to the mentally ill? SFM can be ideal for someone who struggles with depression and/or anxiety. You take charge and become your own boss, so you set your own work hours and habits. But you won’t have any problems with clients, workmates or superiors. This while giving you more time and freedom and money, to create a better lifestyle. But there is something even more important to me. That is that a lot of people have to look at their mental state and make positive changes. This not only helps you become more disciplined with your work, but other aspects of your life too. You are also encouraged by the SFM team, to discover your passions and life purpose. Once you find these, you can build a business around them. This will create an even more rewarding work life, and in turn improve your mental health.

Take what I am doing, mental illness. Helping other people who are mentally ill like myself, its my passion and my purpose. Doing this gives me an opportunity to find helpful resources from around the world. These will hopefully help you, my followers, manage your depression/anxiety. Knowing that I am helping a lot of people in need, makes my soul happy, and I find it easier to deal with my mental struggles.

Spend less time working, more time with loved ones.
Working online creates the opportunity to spend less time working, and more time with the people you love, doing things you love!

Whats the catch? Most members of the Six Figure Mentors think this, when we first see it advertised. We think its probably a scam, its a get rich quick scheme or its a pyramid scheme. There are ill informed people out there who have wrote articles claiming its something dodgy. But there is also a lot of articles saying SFM is safe. After researching, I decided that the articles promoting SFM made more sense than the others. I signed up and thankfully found out that SFM is indeed safe. Now that I have been an SFM member for 9 months, I can safely explain why I know its not a scam or any other dodgy scheme. Keep an eye out for Part Two – What SFM isn’t, which will be coming to you this Saturday!

For now, here is a list of Pro’s and Cons!

Most members of the Six Figure Mentors think this, when we first see it advertised. We think its probably a scam, its a get rich quick scheme or its a pyramid scheme. There are ill informed people out there who have wrote articles claiming its something dodgy. But there is also a lot of articles saying SFM is safe. After researching, I decided that the articles promoting SFM made more sense than the others. I signed up and thankfully found out that SFM is indeed safe. Now that I have been an SFM member for 9 months, I can safely explain why I know its not a scam or any other dodgy scheme. Keep an eye out for Part Two – What SFM isn’t, which will be coming to you this Saturday!

For now, here is a list of Pro’s and Cons!

PRO’S

  • A genuine way to change your lifestyle for the better.
  • Knowledgeable staff and supportive members.
  • An exclusive community where you can interact with other members, start working groups, and find accountability partners.
  • Access to thousands of free training programs and ability to create your own.
  • Proven results for those who work for it.
  • Money back guarantee.
  • No contracts or early termination fees.

CONS

  • Price is not cheap compared to similar companies.
  • No guarantee of success, most people have to be committed to improving their mental state.

Ways To Improve Your Mental Health In A Lockdown Part One.

Woman happy while stuck at home

As a lot of the world are going into lockdowns, with many more in isolation, how can we use this time to better our mental health? Especially with a pandemic causing stress levels to sky rocket.

I would like to share my thoughts on 3 things I am doing, things I believe everyone should be trying to do with their free time.

1, Block of things out of my control
Whats happening outside our homes right now, nearly all of it we cannot control. Whether or not I catch this virus? Well the only thing I can do is be vigilant if I do go out, and stay home as much as possible. My job and financial security? Again not a lot I can do right now. Its very scary I know, but we all need to focus on things we CAN change, which brings me to #2 and #3.

2, Work on my mental health in the morning
I am using my sudden free time to work on my mental health. In November I read a book that I highly recommend called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The main point is so important, we need to be doing a bunch of things first thing in the morning, to give your day a kick start. I am working with a lot of leaders who are saying similar things. So I really suggest you read the book to find out what the 6 things are.

I have been trying this and it actually makes a difference. If you have a productive and positive first hour or so, that is more likely to continue for the rest of the day !

3, Have some fun!
We all need some fun in our lives to counter all the stress, especially now. But it will help us in the long run too. I want you all to think of some things that you love doing, topics you are passionate about. Then, incorporate this as much as you can into your life. A few years ago I combined 3 passions of mine (Mental illness awareness, football/soccer and world records). I made a plan to break a football world record to raise money and awareness for mental illness. Last March I finally attempted a record and now I am a world record holder. In June I decided that helping people was so important to me, that I started this blog. Now, I have become admin of a support group. This helps get me through the day, knowing I have helped people through some dark times. It makes my soul happy. Your passions are so powerful and can help you do big things. Don’t waste that.

Die-cast cars which I have remembered my love for!
I have recently rediscovered my love of die-cast cars. My niece also loves them, so I am building her a racing track so we can race them like I loved to do as a young boy.

We should use our hobbies and passions to create fulfillment and purpose. Then we can take that purpose and have our lifestyle revolve around it. A lot of us will need to make a big change with our working lives. If we look for jobs that align with our purpose and take part in hobbies that we are passionate about, then we can actually enjoy our work as well as our play.

We should use our hobbies and passions to create fulfillment and purpose. Then we can take that purpose and have our lifestyle revolve around it. A lot of us will need to make a big change with our working lives. If we look for jobs that align with our purpose and take part in hobbies that we are passionate about, then we can actually enjoy our work as well as our play.

Our immediate future looks ominous if we don’t use this time wisely Soon we will re-enter the world which will not be in a good state, how we deal with it could depend on how well we dealt with our time off. The next few weeks could really define our next few years, do not waste this opportunity to make the best of a bad situation.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will suggest 3 more ways we can improve our mental health while stuck at home.

Introduction to myself and my site

Myself!

Who am I?

If you do not know my name yet, look at the address bar! Well….minus the .org, I would say that would be illegal to have .org in your name, but with all the strange names floating around now…

Anyway I digress, yes my name is Matthew Harding. Who? Well good question. I am just a guy who has been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time. I have felt a need to speak out about mental illness, but until now, I didn’t know how. More about that when I describe what I am doing with this website.

I believe that the main problem with mental illness, is that society doesn’t understand what it is and how it affects us. Much of society thinks that mental illness is not a serious problem or that it doesn’t even exist! Because of this, when it comes to professional help, governments are reluctant to fund resources and personel. Their focus is more with pleasing the voters and staying in power.

More about me

I am a 37 year old from Wellington, New Zealand. I currently work with animals (mainly dogs) in the day. I live with my partner of 3 years, as well as a LOT of pets. 9 fish, 8 chickens, 5 mice, and a cat.

I like to watch football (soccer) – I am a fan of Tottenham in England, and Wellington Phoenix here in New Zealand. Until last year, I played indoor football, I have created and captained 8 teams in 3 cities. 4 of these teams still play to this day. I quit last year due to my anxiety starting to creep into the sport I loved. I have wanted to play at least one more game, as in my last game I had bad anxiety. But I have injured both my neck and my knee, earlier this year.

Mens football game
Football is a big passion of mine, I watch a lot as well as play when I am not injured or unwell!


Speaking of football, I attempted to break a world record back in March this year. The record was most football penalties taken in an hour. The amount that I took was well over the target, but at the time of writing, Guinness are still checking the evidence. This is to make sure I broke the record in the correct way. But its looking promising. I aim to attempt the record regardless, for a second time, in March 2020. That is if I can shake these injuries. Both record attempts aim to raise money and awareness for a local mental health charity.

About this website

The main point of this website is two-fold. Firstly, I want to share the knowledge I have gained so far in my journey. Just a few years ago I was in similar shoes to many of you. I knew that I had depression and anxiety, and that they caused negative effects to my well being. But that’s all I knew. Why I was like this was mostly a mystery to me. And what to do about it besides taking pills? I didn’t have a clue!

In 2015 I hit rock bottom, yet I wasn’t entitled to free help. This meant I have had to work on my mental illnesses mainly on my own. In the 4 and a half years since, I have come a long way, and learnt a lot about myself. I know that so many of you will be able to relate to my past. Therefore the things that have worked for me, might work for you.

Secondly, I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go. As you are probably aware, being cured from depression and anxiety is rare. Instead, we have to be able to manage our illnesses so that they are less intrusive and less potent. I am researching ways to do this, as well as looking out for resources that I can use to improve my lifestyle. I will share this information with you, as well as the things I find do NOT help me and so might be things you should avoid.

Knowledge is the key. The more we can understand whats going on in our brain, the more we will know what positive changes we need to make, in our day to day lives. These changes will ensure that our illnesses do not cause as much harm.

Searching for resources
I might not use a magnifying glass, but I am on the search for resources that you and I can use to help manage our depression and anxiety.

Finally, there are three more sections to the website that may interest you.

  • Firstly is information and progress on my world record attempts. Here I will discuss my previous attempts, as well as what I am planning for the future.
  • Secondly is Secondlife and my presence in this virtual world. I will tell you about M.I.S.H (Mental Illness Safe Haven) which consists of a dance club and games area where we will hold events. Plus there is an area reserved for group discussions (and the odd talk) about mental illness and the topics I cover in my blog.
  • Lastly is SFM (Six Figure Mentors) who provide online marketing teaching. This a great opportunity to create a stress free lifestyle by working from home promoting goods and services that you love! Best of all it is safe and you can set it up around your current job. There is a lot more info on the SFM page and I will share my honest feedback on my journey with SFM, in the SFM page of my blog.

Matthew Harding – What works for me, might work for you.

7 Things YOU can do to make yourself feel better mentally (Part 1 of 3)

Happy Faces

These days, its getting easier to access professional help for mental illnesses. However, taking those steps are usually easier said than done. So its important to learn how to take care of your mental well-being, because getting that professional help wont be an option at times. If you can work out what things will help you crawl out of a dark hole, then you will be less reliant on outside help.

When we are feeling depressed, our brains get very cloudy and/or cluttered with negative thoughts. Obviously, we are wanting to feel happy again, but how can we with these thoughts taking over? Just remembering how we can cheer ourselves up, can be a huge challenge.

When reading this list, it may seem blatently obvious that we should be doing these things. But remember that it might not be so obvious when we do not have a clear mind.

In Part 1, we are going to look at 6 of these things that you can to as soon as you feel depressed. They might be really hard to start because of how you feeling. But this is the key, once you start moving forward, its usually easier to take the next step, and so on.

The order in which I have listed them, is the order in which I do them – you may find a different order will work for you. And by all means, if some are not helping, don’t continue with them. These lists are only what works for me, what works for you may be completely different.

Remember, try and be open minded, and when you can, give it a try. What have you got to lose? Nothing!

1, Seek help

Professional help should always be your first port of call, and I will endeavor to explain how (and where) to find the right sources, in future blog posts. It is important to find the best treatment for your illness, since certain treatments will only work for some people. But you need to take that step – a lot of people are not. Andrea Cipriani of the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre stated that 60% of people will show improvement to their depression symptoms, after taking anti-depressants for 2 months. Click here for their study. Other treatments generally show similar results.

However, certain peers, communities, websites, and blogs (like this one) can provide some valuable tips for those not receiving professional help. The challenge there, is working out what is good help and bad help. Like every other suggestion on this list, I will go into this in more detail, as well as doing as much research as possible. Because remember, this isn’t a professional or scientific blog. This is purely based on my opinions and info that I come across.

2, Get your thoughts out of your head

Writing In a Journal
Writing in a journal keeps you actively getting your thoughts out of your head.

Its important to get things off of your mind, so your brain is no longer foggy. This allows for less confusion, and more likely for problem solving thoughts. So get emotional! Cry or yell (if there is no-one near to make you feel bad for doing it). Or you can write things down, grab a pen and paper or a diary and write what those thoughts are saying. Perhaps you would rather write on a computer, or your phone? It doesn’t matter how you do it, the important thing is that you ARE doing it. If you struggle to get out of bed, keep a pen and paper (or phone) beside your bed.

3, Get Laughing

They don’t say laughter is the best medicine, for nothing. Laughter can be a useful distraction, from your immediate stresses. Not only that, but it requires such little effort to make it happen. This is why its my go to when I am feeling absolutely rotten! I love ‘laugh out loud shows like The Big Bang Theory. I can watch such shows over and over again and helps me physically feel better as I am physically laughing. If you have a show like this, I strongly urge you to purchase these on DVD. YouTube is also a gold mine for funny video’s. Make a funny playlist that you can put on when you are feeling upset.

4, Cuddle a pet

Yay for animals! If you don’t want pets or cant have them, feel free to ignore this suggestion. If you are considering adopting, I urge you to do it. Petting an animal is known to reduce stress, as Patricia Pendry and Jaymie Vandagriff found earlier this year. Their study found that just 10 minutes of cat and dog cuddles provided relief from stress. Owning a pet also provides more responsibility and structure to your life. In return, your pet provides a strong yet fun bond. You might want a young playful kitten to cheer you up? Or maybe an older and calm dog? There are opportunities to teach rules, manners, or perhaps with an animal with its own mental problems, that its loved and safe. All of these can create a bond between you and your pet, and give you that rewarding feeling when you have that break through moment.

5, Get Active

Man going for a walk
Going for a walk can clear your mind in a peaceful manner.

Working on your physical health, can help with your mental health. This is especially helpful if there is something bringing you down at home. Get out of there, go for a walk. This means you can be alone with your thoughts without more negativity being crammed into your brain. You are exercising, which is known to relieve tension and stress. Plus, you are exercising, so you are improving your physical well-being. This will help with your self esteem and over time will make you feel healthier. I find that working out in a public place also helps with my social anxiety. There is no pressure to interact with strangers, while spending time in the same vicinity.

6, Have a shower

If you have just been active, chances are you will need a shower anyway! The shower is a great place to collect your thoughts with no interruptions (well I would hope not!). There is something about the soothing nature of the warm water that calms ourselves and allows our minds to think straight. I have had many great ideas spawn from quick shower!

7, Do not be too hard on yourself

Be forgiving with your efforts, which is the most important suggestion. You might be attempting these activities, or going about your daily jobs. But if you are not successful, try not to feel bad. Because failing is not a big deal, despite what your brain is telling you. We are all human and we all fail from time to time, regardless of our mental health. When we do have a mental illness, many tasks can be harder to complete. With each repetition, we are learning more about the correct ways to complete the task.

Do any of these ideas work for you? Are you ready to move on make some important life changes? If so, I recommend you look at Part 2. But only when you are ready, as you do not want overwhelmed and get despondent. I also suggest you incorporate steps 2 – 5 into your day as much as you can. Try and make a habit of doing them regardless of how you feel.

What works for you? Share in the comments your experience with these ideas, or add your own!

Matthew Harding – What works for me, might work for you.