Looking after your mental health

Mental health is important at every stage of life, and covers our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

It affects how we think, feel and act - and also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices[1].

Mental and physical health are equally important parts of our overall health.

For example, depression increases the risk of many physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk of mental illness[2].

Five practical tips for looking after your mental health

There is much you can do to look after your mental health. If it’s not something you’ve really thought about before, you may find the following tips a useful starting point:

1. Talk about the way you feel

Talking about your feelings can help you deal with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

2. Get active

Regular exercise is an excellent way to boost your mood, your self-esteem and to help you concentrate. It also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

3. Watch what you eat and drink

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.

4. Boost your self-esteem

Find time to focus on the things you’re good at. Concentrating on a hobby can help you forget your worries for a while, change your mood, and the sense of achievement from doing something well can boost your self-esteem.

5. Be kind and care for others

Showing kindness and helping others is an important part of maintaining relationships with people close to you. Helping can make us feel needed and valued - which can also boost our self-esteem.


[1] Strengthening Mental Health Promotion Fact sheet no. 220. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

[2] Chronic Illness & Mental Health. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. 2015.