Neill Boddington is a Mental Health Adviser at The Open University. Here are his eight top tips for creating a happier mindset…
Looking at positive images can induce more happier thoughts A photo of something, someone or somewhere that evokes happy memories, or even something outside of the window can work.
2. Disengage from the negativity
Do more of the things that make you feel happy and calm. That might be a hobby, reading or watching a film. Immersive TV and films can be very useful when we want to disengage ourselves from negative feelings.
3. Stay in touch!
Keep in contact with friends and family. Even if you don’t feel like it, a phone or video call to someone special is very likely to lift yours (and their) mood. Maybe now is a great time to write someone a letter. Everyone feels good after receiving a letter so hopefully they will do the same back to you.
4. Use social for good
Use social media carefully. Seeing a sometimes fake view of the world is not good for how we feel about ourselves. When using social media ask yourself how happy is this making me feel? If the answer is less than 6/10 on a happiness scale, turn it off and do something else.
5. Get giggling
When we are feeling down, use sources of humour to perk us up. YouTube clips, TV and box sets, films or books all offer great options to take our mind of things and have a laugh. Laughter is a proven stress reliever.
6. Keep active – make those chemicals count!
Moving and exercising helps to ‘burn up’ stress chemicals and promotes ‘happy’ hormones. Whether this is a walk outside or home exercise. Check out various YouTube clips and free aps for home exercise ideas.
Music can be a powerful tool for improving our mood. Stick on something uplifting, create different play lists (productivity one for your study time and relaxation for chilling out, for example). Maybe even get up and have a dance!
8. Stay connected to the outside world
Being in nature has proved psychological benefits so get outside, even if it is only in your garden. Take a mindful look at the plants, animals, trees and sky. Take in everything around you blocking out other thoughts… simply be in the moment with nature.
Find out more:
- Read student to student advice on studying with mental health issues
- Try some of our FREE mental health courses on OpenLearn
- OU academics offer advice on how to get mental health support
- Why exercise helps with mental health
- 8 ways to create a happier mindset
- 7 mindfulness exercises (and some mythbusters too)