Is mental health the same as mental illness? According to a survey conducted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in 2021, one in two Singaporeans believe that mental health is all about mental illness. Mental health is a universal human right and everyone deserves a break from daily stressors.

Mental well-being affects our overall health. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Short-lived stress can sometimes boost performance and alertness, but prolonged and excessive stress may increase our risks of physical health issues such as heart disease, or mental health issues like depression or anxiety. 

There are many possible triggers for stress, such as juggling multiple roles or tasks, tackling work or study demands, coping with illnesses, adapting to new lifestyle changes, or managing relationships with others. Hence, it is important for everyone to keep our stress levels in check, find ways to reduce it, or seek professional help when required.

Maintaining mental wellness reduces one's vulnerability to mental health struggles, and allows you to better manage the challenges in life. Here are some valuable tips to help you in today’s fast-paced and demanding world.

1. Observe your emotions

We may not feel positive on all days and it is normal to feel negative emotions sometimes. Acknowledge and accept these emotions instead of brushing them aside or pretend that they do not exist. Take a pause and identify the cause. This will allow you to feel in control and prevent these feelings from building up and overwhelming you. 

2. Practice self-care

Dedicate time every day to do something that rejuvenates you. This could mean taking a stroll, reading, meditating, exercising or spending quality time with your loved ones. Taking care of yourself allows you to recharge, and helps you to build resilience and positivity.

3. Maintain a healthy routine

Ensure you clock in sufficient sleep, eat balanced meals, exercise regularly and step out for fresh air every day. Establishing a daily routine helps create a sense of structure and stability. 

4. Disconnect to reconnect

Take a moment to disconnect from your digital devices and social media, reduce screen time and engage in activities that promote mindfulness, such as deep breathing exercises. This will help to enhance your mental well-being.

5. Reach out and seek support

Reach out to supportive friends, family members or professionals when you need to talk. Sharing your feelings can provide some relief during difficult times. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is the evidence of self-awareness, courage and strength.

6. Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude starts with noticing small wins in your daily life, like a stranger holding the door for you or a bus that shows up on time. Having the ability to notice the positive things keeps us optimistic and improves our mental health. 

“Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. Adopting some simple self-care strategies in our lives can help enhance our overall quality of life,” shared Dr Guo Xiaoxuan, Clinical Lead of Health Wellness Clinics and Clinic Director, SHP-Punggol. 

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