• Tommy Hyland

Me and My Mental Health 

What I do to help myself live a life I love and be the best person for those around me.

Gratitude

Everyday no matter what I wake up and thank my body and mind for the ability to get out of bed. Then at any pont in the day I write down 3 things I'm grateful for in a gratitude journal, whether it's seeing the sunshine, a conversation with a friend or my physical health I write it down and take a few moments to reflect on the things I am blessed with.

Breathing:

This is the best way I know to connect with myself and to calm down my mind. Breathe into your stomach deeply through your nose before exhaling fully until you're almost out of breath. Then take 5 breaths with an inhale for 6 seconds and an exhale for 6 seconds, this takes 1 minute and you will feel the difference both mentally and physically.

Stretching and exercising:

Taking a small portion of each day to get my body moving whether it's biking, running or stretching is so good for my mental state. I call it my time for "Mind off, Body on" where I get fully immersed in that moment and the benefit of having a fit, healthy body allows me to chase a lot of my passions.

Eating right:

You are what you consistently eat. I feel this very strongly as the more good fruit, vegetables and whole food I eat, the better I feel. I have developed a more healthy relationship with treats and unhealthy food but be conscious of how you feel physically and mentally for a couple of hours after your meals and if you're not happy try changing up some parts of your diet. There are some incredible resources all over the Internet of what to feed your body for any lifestyle you want to have.

Vulnerability:

Find a person you feel safe to be vulnerable in front of and who you know will be there for you. It could be a counselor, an old friend, a parent or a partner and share with them what's going on no matter how serious or trivial it may seem to you or them. Sharing out loud will help put things into perspective and being there for that person afterwards to let them be vulnerable in front of you will open your eyes that you are not alone!

Time away from device (in real world):

I love my cellphone and the Internet. It connects me to friends all over the world, gives me unlimited information at my fingertips and let's stories be shared all over the world but I have seen the downfalls. It is extremely addictive and before I got myself in check with my usage it was stealing so many precious moments from me because I was engrossed in my cellphone rather than the "real world" happening in front of me. My question I always make sure my answer is no to now is "are you using your cellphone to live or are you living to use your cellphone?"

Making one person smile everyday:

Never underestimate the power of being there for and noticing people even in a small way, it can save someone's life. So whether it is trading smiles with a stranger, being present for someone, giving a compliment, a small message throughout the day, I always endeavour to make someone smile and it brightens my day to know that person had a small moment of happiness because I am in their life.

Broaden your knowledge and perspective: Talk to people! Talk to your family, talk to strangers, talk to old people, talk to anyone at all about something real. You'll be amazed what incredible stories are hidden behind people's outward appearances and the views on the world you've never been exposed to. Also read lots and listen to podcasts or talks on things you're passionate about. If you have a spare hour rather than scrolling Facebook I started watching Ted talks on everything from politics to meditation to dinosaurs to lessons of adventurers all over the world and it's incredible the conversation starters these can give you. Plus knowledge really is power so if you have unlimited knowledge available to you don't dismiss that blessing.

These are all things I have slowly implemented in my life recovering from depression and anxiety that I have experimented, researched and are working for me. It's not that some days depressed thoughts don't hit me like a truck and anxiety doesn't stop me dead inhibiting anything I try to do even get out of bed. But when these days or moments come I have reframed my perspective on them and rather than get down on myself I see them as a message from my body and mind telling me that I'm not giving them the love, rest and nourishment they need. So I take time for myself using any and all of these methods above to reset myself to a place where I feel like the person I want to be.

I hope this can help you on your own journey through life and everyone is different in the way we live and heal so find what works for you. Even if you're thriving at the moment there is always ways we can improve the quality of how we look after ourselves and to know some ways to pick ourselves up if we do fall.

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