Looking after your mind and keeping yourself in a good mood

Rebecca’s tips on minding your mental health

Written by Rebecca Lalor


People always seem to try and base their happiness off how happy others 'appear' to be. As a generation of young people living in Ireland, it is quite blatantly obvious that at the best of times the act of 'seeming' to be happy is even more superior to actually 'being' happy. We do it though habit. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, all these social media based mediums are unsurprisingly, our addictive release.

Yet how many people actually know what it is to have love and compassion for your own self? To keep a small box of TLC aside for the times when the pressure of society just gets a little too tough? Mental health is such a huge topic in our generation and we are ever so slowly improving our support platforms through contained awareness. Yet I believe that support is parallel to another important fact. It all comes down to how you treat yourself, how much you let the world influence you and how good your skills are at recognising the dangers that can in time emerge when things get too low.

Feeling low is one of the most normal aspects of our lives. Let's face it lads, being one hundred per cent joyful and delighted with the world all of the time would most definitely be both annoying and un achievable. When we become down and lack motivation to do anything in a day, it helps to just accept it. Don't kick yourself over it. We are all most certainly allowed days off when the daily treadmill of a busy academic life balanced with a social appearance and keeping healthy gets too much to bear. It is here that the recognition comes in. Anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of failure, these are all factors that we often seem to label ourselves with when times get tough, yet we forget that these are just mere projections of our resilient and strong internal personalities. They are feelings. They do not define you, no matter how much you feel like they do.

Happiness is achieved through your mind and your recognition of life around you. It is not true that you cannot be happy without another special person by your side. I had to personally learn that the hard way. So many young people end relationships and struggle to come to terms with the fact that they themselves must have the strength to build themselves up again. That your happiness was never a lock and key belonging to the other person. Friends are important but they don't complete your happy state, they aid it. Whether you choose to talk about a problem or just have a giggle over a stupid YouTube video with the girls, chatting in itself often works wonders in taking your mind off something. Very often our subconscious states tend to big up an issue to end up hurting you more than it actually should. I personally always try to remind myself that if it ain't gonna matter in two years time, not to let it matter now.

Keeping yourself in a good mood takes a plan. You have to be conscious of your personality and how exactly you tick as an individual to keep that maintained. Personally, I feel that my levels of happiness are strongly influenced by technology and fitness. When I don't work out, I get cranky and can brim with low self esteem. Staying fit is one of the most important things you can ever do for yourself. When you get out there in fresh air, when you're working progressively on your body and seeing results, when you force yourself to go for a long calming run in the icy winter wind, you see the world in a different way. Me, I love to swim, just getting in the water in general instantaneously gives me that feeling of beautiful serenity and calm that we only dream of. I feel like a different person after a swim, revived and fresher to get on with whatever type of day I may be having. I like to run. Anywhere really. Get out in your local park with a buddy and create a route to pound when you're both feeling pent up with stress. I feel that with starting college this September, running and swimming are going to be stable forms of evasion to keep me balanced and happy in myself. Use the facilities that your college provides.

On the technology side, I'm an awful one for looking at my social media straight away as soon as I wake up. Be honest, how many of us do this? A lot, is the answer. As a sufferer of bad anxiety at least once every few months I have learned that technology impacts so greatly on your mental state. Most of that stuff isn't real. It's not the true way of the world. Always remind yourself that people posting projections of their lives in a constant optimistic state is never the truth. It makes me laugh sometimes, so many youth just do not realise. Recognising that technology can sway your entire mood of a day is where you start. Limit it. Do something that makes you an 'educated consumer'. Read news articles. Listen to podcasts. You can't gain happiness from looking at a mind numbing Facebook screen filled with ads and boring, unnecessary time-consuming yokes.

Another way that I keep myself happy is by dedicating one evening of the week to myself. For most people, that's a Friday night. The joy of running a hot bath to soak tired muscles in, the smell of that hot chocolate you make yourself combined with a nice smelly candle or two makes my week. It beats every blue possible.

Volunteering is another thing that can open your mind to balance. With a dream to study nursing I'm well aware that stress is something I'm going to encounter on a daily basis. But it's a challenge and I like to think of completing that challenge, walking out with a fantastic degree knowing that I got through it with a balance of looking after my own mental health. When you help people and get something back out of it, it helps natural happiness and contentment. I feel that you learn to be more grateful for life, and that you gain a realisation that having your health and the ability to see the world is so much more important than everyday materialistic objects.

To conclude on a, eh, happy note, just all in all do what makes and gives you alone a feeling of passion. Write something. Keep a journal. Sing. Don't treat people nasty. Buy flowers. Buy those donuts or that burger. Smile at others. Don't spread rumours. It all works out in the end, if you just focus on the recognition.

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