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7 keys to mental health

1. Take responsibility

You are responsible for your own life and everything in it, including your own happiness. Do not blame your parents, your childhood, society, others or even life events.

2. Be flexible in your thinking
Beware of absolutist / all or nothing / black and white / rigid thinking, with an over emphasis on the words ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought’ and ‘can’t’. Loosen up your thinking, look at alternative views, avoid perfectionism.

3. Confront rather than avoid difficulties and frustrations
Treat problems as challenges, as useful in helping you to build up a tolerance and experience. Expect change and challenges and for life to be unfair at times.

4. Look after your own needs
Be assertive in identifying and meeting your own needs, whether it be for food, exercise, relaxation, pleasure, work, laughter or love. We all need to have good self-care skills.

5. Express yourself
Express positive feelings of love, joy and excitement, but also negative feelings of anger, sadness and disappointment. Always be willing to ‘talk about things’, try not to ‘bottle things up’ or avoid issues.

6. Strive for balance
Feel in control of your life by making active choices and decisions about how you spend your time. Fill your life with a balance of work and play, time alone and with people, and physical and mental activities.

7. Develop and maintain relationships
Value and nurture friendships. Develop a network of social support and confiding relationships as they act as an insulator against stress. Accept others for how they are, rather than trying to change them.

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