Small things can enrich your life

Try to find a leisure activity that is free, such as joining a local walking group.
Try to find a leisure activity that is free, such as joining a local walking group. Jupiterimages

TAKING care of your physical health, enjoying warm and trusting relationships with people close to you, gaining a sense of achievement and connecting with a community are some of the secrets of maintaining good mental health.

Australian women's health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women's Health recently supported Mental Health Week, which aims to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and promote mental well-being.

"There is no health without mental health," Professor Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health at Monash University, said.


Look after physical health

"Poor health or an ongoing health condition may limit your ability to do things and can affect your mental health," Prof Fisher said.

"Try to be as physically active as you can and ensure you have regular health checks."


Enjoy quality relationships

"Close relationships that have trust, warmth, humour, and where there is an 'I care for you and you care for me' understanding is one of the most important protective factors for mental health," Prof Fisher said.

"So nourish good relationships, be committed to them, and get professional help to address destructive or negative relationships if necessary."


Experience achievement and satisfaction

"Each day we need to feel some sense of satisfaction with what we have achieved. It might be a simple thing like preparing an evening meal or putting a new plant in the garden, or it might be contributing to a project at work," Prof Fisher said.


Look after personal safety

If you are in relationships at home or at work where you feel devalued or mistreated, get some professional or outside help to address that.


Connect with the community

Find activities and projects in your local community that you can get involved with.

At work, you might be part of a team working on a specific project.

Or you can become part of a voluntary organisation, join a choir, a mother's group.


Work towards financial security

Be fully aware of your (or your family's) financial situation and take an active part in decisions about household expenditure.


Make the most of your standard of living

This includes quality of housing and access to transport, healthcare and leisure activities.

"Try to find a leisure activity that is free or low cost - such as joining a walking group or community garden. Take part in community events that don't cost money but take you away from everyday obligations," Prof Fisher said.

"There are a lot of small things you can do to boost your sense of well-being that will help you have a satisfying and rich life."


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Topics:  community lifestyle mental health relationships

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