Take a holistic approach to your emotional health and you’ll be smiling in no time.
One area of Indigenous health that often gets overlooked is our mental health. Research has shown that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer higher rates of social and emotional well-being problems than other Australians. In fact, depression is on of the most common health problems that doctors see among their Aboriginal patients.
If you want to keep yourself emotionally healthy, you need to look after yourself physically, spiritually and mentally. The Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) suggests that when it comes to ensuring your emotional well-being, you should follow your ABCs. That is:
ACT ” Keep active as much as possible, physically, socially and mentally. That means doing things like getting enough exercise.
Exercise has many mental health benefits. The MHCA recommends getting regular exercise because:
- It can help reduce anxiety ” people who exercise report feeling less stressed out;
- Bad feelings such as anger, tiredness or stress can be improved by exercise;
- Exercising can improve the way you feel about your body and physical abilities; and
- Exercise is a great way to meet other people.
You should also ensure that you’re eating a healthy balanced diet, and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
You also need to keep yourself socially active, so ensure you make the time to socialise with friends and family.
Finally, you need to keep your mind active, so take the time to read a good book, take up a part time course in a subject you’re interested in, or take up a hobby that you enjoy.
BELONG ” Try connecting with your community. Join a community group or attend a community event, join a sporting team or just say hello to your neighbour. Share a laugh with mates, or make a new friend.
COMMIT ” Look to the future and set some goals for yourself. Plan a holiday, train for a mini-marathon or volunteer for a charity or cause you believe in.
Try to learn ways to cope with negative thoughts, rather than just blocking them out. Start keeping a journal where you can express yourself if you’re feeling bad, or relive a special moment that made you feel good.
If you follow your ABCs, you’re well on the way to a healthier, happier you!