The Psychologist has issued a leaflet on healthy living for positive mental and physical health; so here are ten top tips:
Small changes in our diet can add up, but don’t over do it, otherwise it becomes impossible to maintain those changes, so look for several methods that are lasting, sustainable and even enjoyable!
Beware emotional eating and make “if-then” plans to have healthy snack alternatives available for when you are stressed (O’Conner)
Eating well is not only about what, but also about when, where and how you eat. Meals should be eaten at regular times and in specific places, preferably at a table and not on the go or in front of a computer. If it is called a meal it is more likely to be eaten mindfully (Ogden).
Get it off your chest – talking therapies such as CBT help with emotional and mental health problems, but also writing it down helps too. Writing about your emotions for about 15 minutes a day can improve well-being (Pennebaker).
If a smoker, pick a day to stop completely and then stick to it; and if you fail try again – successful quitters have usually had several attempts.
Physical activity doesn’t have to involve an expensive gym, if that is not your thing – just moving more and sitting less is a good place to start.
Problems sleeping? Don’t snooze! (Ellis). Lying in too long, going to bed too early and napping can disrupt our sleep patterns. However for most of us a short period of bad sleep is natural and should correct itself.
Stress management theory says that the relationship between stress and performance is bell-curved. Too little can cause boredom and too much can make us ill – so find your sweet spot at the top of the curve, but keep levels in check (Thomas).
When drinking alcohol don’t try to keep up with your peers! 14 units a week on average is the recommended amount for both men and women now – spread over 4-5 days with at least 2 dry days a week.
Careful, specific planning for things that you really want to do with monitoring and realistic goals can help in any behaviour change (Abraham).