13 things you can do to create positive wellbeing
Build good relationships
Investing time and energy in good relationships and connecting with other people really helps having a sense of wellbeing. This can include family, friends, workmates and others in the community.
Exercise and stay healthy
Evidence shows that exercise increases wellbeing as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Good physical health is related to better mental health so a healthy diet, avoiding excess alcohol or drugs and regular checkups with the doctor can all help.
Eating good food has a big impact on our mental and physical state. Eating food like protein – fish, meat, legumes – dairy, vegetables, fruit and nuts as well as drinking water gives our body the fuel it needs to function well.
Get enough sleep and take breaks
This is a common challenge for music people, but it does make a huge difference to how we feel and manage our lives. Taking breaks is important too because when we give out energy, be it physical, creative, emotional or other, we need to take a break to renew it! As a music person you may have long periods of intense creative activity: remember that this needs to be followed by recovery. Everyone is different and you must find the cycle that keeps you healthy, as well as creating and fulfilled.
Develop gratitude / looking for the positives
In music you sometimes need to expend effort to find the happies. Thinking of and writing down three positive things for each day helps us look for positives and is proven to increase wellbeing.
Know and use your strengths
Finding out what you are really good at and using those talents can make us feel good about ourselves, and can increase wellbeing. Using your talents and strengths to help others or contribute to the community releases oxytocin in us – the feel-good chemical – and creates a sense of meaning and purpose.
Lose yourself in an activity you love doing
Do something you love that that makes you lose track of time. This usually happens when the level of challenge is about right for your level of skill. This can happen during music, work, hobbies, creative arts or sports.
Surround yourself with positive people –
Who you spend time with makes a big difference. Some people encourage us and build us up, some bring us down. Spend time with the positive ones! Minimise time with negative people.
Give out to others
Contributing to the community, however small, increases social wellbeing. This could also mean volunteering, helping a neighbour or doing small acts of kindness. Take some time to do the things you really enjoy. Pleasant events can lead to positive emotions that can cancel out negative feelings.
Connecting with something bigger than yourself
Music people, even those who profess to have no faith, often speak of experiencing the transcendent when creating. So don’t neglect this part of yourself. Actively nurture it in a way that relates to you personally. It can include belonging to a faith community, meditation, mindfulness, prayer or practices such as yoga and Tai Chi – or connecting with nature and beauty. It’s about finding meaning in our life and realising we have a place in the universe.
A life in music can come with barriers, setbacks and knocks, so building resiliency is important. Resiliency means coping well with problems, stress, and other difficult situations. Problems and stress are a normal part of life. Situations like accidents or illness, unexpected life changes, and conflict happen to everyone. Resiliency is what helps you look at the situation realistically, take action when you can make changes, let go of things you can’t change, and recognise the helpful supports in your life. Your resiliency toolkit might include skills like problem-solving, assertiveness, balancing obligations and expectations, and developing support networks. While some people learn these skills during treatment for mental health problems, we should really think of them as skills for everyone.
If you are struggling to feel happy, cope with everyday life, find meaning or feel connected to others, seek advice from your doctor or a mental health professional. One in five New Zealanders will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life; depression, anxiety and substance abuse are the most common disorders.
Be kind to yourself – you are a good person and you are doing your best.
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