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Challenges are a part of life. We wouldn’t be the way we are today, with the numerous skills and abilities and rich global culture that we have, if our ancestors before us did not face the challenges that arose in their life and find ways to overcome them. There is a solution for everything. Absolutely everything. Do we always know what that solution is? No. Definitely not. But can we attempt to overcome our challenges and find that solution? Yes. Always! With that in mind, here are 4 ways you can improve your mental health today.

1. Get it all out and onto paper!

Our days are long and so much can happen in a day. Whether the events of your day are good or bad, it can be very helpful to start a journal and write it all down. Sometimes, we don’t even realise how we’re actually feeling until we say it! The point of this exercise is to calm your mind by relieving it of some of what it may be processing, and to bring yourself into the present moment. Here are some writing prompts for you to try: I am feeling… Today I am grateful for… One thing that made me feel [happy/sad/angry/etc] today was… I love it when I… I don’t like it when…

2. Try meditating.

Meditation has been scientifically proven again and again to be effective in reducing stress, helping with anxiety, and improving relationships. The simple fact of it all though, is that meditation is really just you, taking a moment for yourself to slow down, stop for a moment, and breathe. Simple: Slow, stop, and breathe. There are a number of fantastic apps available that you can download on your phone to help you learn or continue your meditation routine. Omvana and 10% Happier are great meditation apps – give them a try!

3. Eating natural wholefoods.

Mind and body are intrinsically connected, and the foods that you put into your body can have a significant effect on your mood. Whatever you’re doing with your diet – try to bring balance into it. The usual advice on this subject is “Eat healthy, natural wholefoods and don’t eat junk food”, but you know what? Having a fixation on eating only healthy foods all of the time can be just as bad for your mental health as eating junk food. Be easy on yourself. Grow the love you have for yourself. Eat the fruits, vegetables and other natural foods that you are attracted to, but have fun with food too! Look at it like this: Going out with friends to eat donuts can be far better for your mental health than staying home and eating a salad alone. Aim to eat a balanced diet consisting of mostly natural wholefoods, but remember – go easy on yourself. Enjoy life!

4. Talk to someone!

If you’d like to talk to a real live person, you can call the following numbers, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 Lifeline on 13 11 14 MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) on 1800 011 046 As well as those, the Australian Government have a list of useful mental health resources on their website. There are a number of ways you can improve your mental health, and the 4 tips listed above are only a tiny portion of what is already out there. If you’re not feeling so good and struggling with your mental health, remember that you don’t have to be alone. My personal favourite mantra is: Keep going. Even now. Even this. Just keep going.

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