(MY5) is my take on the five-a-day. You can routinely cultivate to bring about good brain health. MY5 comprise of five different categories that spell out the world HAPPY so that it is easy to remember. These categories together with just a few examples are set out below.
- Make sure you eat regularly - three meals and two healthy snacks is good fuel for growing brains
- Get around eight hours of sleep
- Exercise for about half an hour a day
- Include a range of activity in your day- for example doing something creative, relaxing, sporty and brain based.
- Watch out for over thinking. Brains need rest too - practise making choices and decisions based on some self-doubt or uncertainty and not always having to think the outcome to its absolute ultimate.
- Comparison contributes to insecurity and excessive competition. In situations where competition is unnecessary try looking for similarities rather than differences.
- For every possible negative outcome there is always a possible positive outcome. Practise entertaining both possibilities.
- Emotions are powerful and need expression. Try expressing something you feel unsettled about - write it, draw it, say it.
- Have a happy list of things to say or do and try and choose one to practise everyday.
- Accept but don't instantly act on emotions. Notice what you are feeling and try and wait for three minutes before you respond.
- Try and catch up with friends, face to face rather than virtually.
- Do something with your family - an old fashioned game or have a chat.
- There's lots more things you can do to develop good mental health in this way
DID YOU KNOW?
- 1 in 10 young people aged between 12 and 16 will have a diagnosable mental health problem
- Anxiety is the 'common cold' of mental ill health problems and that many young people manage symptoms such as anxiety - such as OCD, fears and phobias and panic attacks in secret
- Between 1 in 12 young people self-harm in the UK and we have the highest rate of self-harm in Europe
- Body image issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in both boys and girls leading to lowered confidence, dangerous levels or exercise and steroid misuse, depression and eating disorders
- Depression in young people is increasing
The good news is that all of these difficulties can be halted in their development if some good 'brain health' can be practised as routine, as well as seeking early help if it looks as though your mood, thinking or behaviour has got stuck in a negative spiral.
When should you worry about your mental health? Here are some warning signs to act on.
- If you have been feeling sad, irritable, angry or flat, overwhelmed or disinterested in things for a continuous period of time and this emotional state is different to your usual.
- If the way you think, feel or behave is detrimental to you and you often find yourself having to deal with the negative consequences of these thoughts and actions or if others consistently point out that they are negative.
- If you experience recurring physical symptoms that don't have a definite physicalorigin and which may beknown to be caused by stress or by unhealthy eating patterns.
All content and MINDYOUR5 are copyright to Dr Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, 2015