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October, A Whole Month of Happiness & Wellbeing
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October is the tenth month of the year and is from the word octo, meaning eight as it was originally the eighth month of the year in the old Roman calendar. World Mental Health Day takes place this month, its aim being to promote good mental wellbeing and to highlight important issues that need addressing. To support this, I will offer you ideas to keep your own mental health in check.

By Julia_Barnard


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In Australia Stress Less Day is this month and offers us all an opportunity to remember the importance of keeping our stress under control. On the first of October, the International Day of Older Persons is observed. Here's your opportunity to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of older people.

Tips for good mental health

Take a look at the following ideas to help you give a boost to your own mental health. Do what you can to ensure you are in tip top condition, and then you are in a great position to promote mental health to the people you know.

Become an optimist. Research supports the idea that an optimist will be less likely to suffer from depression, take control of their life and health and bounce back sooner. Optimism is about not giving up when the going gets tough. Yet when the going is good, having optimism means you expect the good to continue. It is about having hope and always believing things will improve. Being an optimist puts you in a good position to deal with situations in your life and to handle life's difficulties generally.

Life isn't always easy and even the happiest person is faced with challenges. However, it can be made a lot easier with good support around you. Think of the different sources of support in your life and the circumstances in which you would turn to them. Also, think beyond friends and family --professional agencies play a vital role and it is what they are set up for. Don't be afraid to use them.

Do something different to get out of any rut you are in. What can you do to mix things up at work? How can you vary your day? If you feel your day has become too routine, it can make life seem boring. Taking a few steps to keep things varied will give you a boost. Try a new recipe, take a different route to work, or turn the TV off for an evening and play games with your family. All simple actions that will hopefully re-energise you.

Look after your body and you'll see good improvements to your mind also. Eat healthily, don't smoke and drink alcohol in moderation. Take regular exercise.

Also, take the opportunity to learn about different mental health disorders. Then take what you have learned and pass it on to others. Spread the facts and do away with the fiction.

Stress less

Stress Less Day ties in very nicely with World Mental Health Day and offers you another opportunity to think about your life and tweak it to help prevent stress levels getting out of control. In fact the above tips have already gotten you started, so I'll add a few more here for further motivation.

Know that it is okay to make mistakes and when you do, own up to them. You'll save yourself a lot of hassle by not getting moody and defensive and other people will appreciate it. You'll also be a good role model.

Know that you cannot control or change other people. That slow driver going way below the speed limit, your partner's computer game habit, your manager's angry outbursts. You can however change how you think about them, saving yourself a lot of stress.

Feeling the stress build up? Take a few seconds to do some deep breathing. Breathe slowly in through the nose then out through the mouth. Keep going until you feel calm.

Finish up that task that's been hanging on for far too long. Get it done and you can finally forget all about it, putting an end to that nagging worry.

Spend time with your pet. Pets have been known to reduce stress, so take time out with yours today.

Respect your elders

Since it is International Day of Older Persons on the first of this month, I thought it was a good time to suggest we finally put an end to those 'sweet old lady stereotypes'. We live in a society where we seem to patronise the old in the same way we often do the young. Older people seem to be put on the scrap heap once they retire, or frowned upon if they keep going. True, some older people need our support, but they are not blank slates. They have a lifetime of experience behind them. How do you know that the sweet old lady sat on the bus is in fact sweet? In her working life she may have tyrannised her co-workers. Others don't need our support and are fully capable of making decisions. So don't go making decisions for them.

If we want the world to be a happier place, then try to treat others with respect no matter their age. You could also carry out an act of kindness. So make time this month to help out an older person who can no longer easily do certain activities. Use this time to listen to their stories and experiences.

Going forwards, if you find yourself instinctively negating older people, reflect on how you would like to be treated as a senior member of society. Make an effort to treat every senior you meet in the same way you hope to be.

Remember

Every month there is a reason to be happy.


Copyright Julia Barnard

Julia Barnard is a qualified counsellor and author living in Adelaide, Australia. You can discover more ways to be happy through her book: Promoting Happiness: a workbook to help you appreciate and get the most out of your life.

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