What does ‘Feeling Sound’ mean to you?
Feeling sound means different things to different people. Whilst one person might find comfort in cuddling up on the sofa with a good book, another person will feel at their best when out socialising with a big group of friends.
One thing’s for sure – we’d all like to feel a bit happier and a bit more content with our everyday lives.
But what’s stopping us?
Barriers to happiness
Many factors can come into play to lower our mood and make life less enjoyable. These can be anything from workplace stress to illness.
Take loneliness, for instance. It’s something we’ve probably all struggled with at some point during the pandemic. The negative effects of feeling lonely have been recognised by the Mental Health Foundation, so much so that loneliness has become the focus of this year’s upcoming Mental Health Awareness week.
When we’re faced with challenging emotions for a prolonged period of time, it’s easy to become complacent about the poor state of our mental wellbeing. But this shouldn’t be the case – we all deserve to enjoy our lives to the best of our ability.
It can be especially difficult to feel happy if we’re unable to control unpleasant circumstances such as losing a loved one, or when something is ongoing such as chronic illness. Yet it’s all the more important that we take care of ourselves in such situations.
Physical health vs mental health
For a long time, mental health was seen as being separate from physical health – yet quite the opposite is true.
An easy way to demonstrate the link between the two is to think about when you’re feeling nervous. Although the cause of the symptoms is in your mind – you might be worrying about what you’ll say at a job interview, or thinking about what could go wrong on your flight – it’s likely that you’ll also experience physical symptoms. Your hands might be sweaty and shaking, or you might have butterflies in your stomach.
As simple as it is to find examples of emotions affecting our bodies, it can also be easy to dismiss the physical signs that our mental health is struggling. Whether this is down to stigmas surrounding mental health, or a lack of attunement with our bodies, it points to the same undeniable answer: mental and physical health are intertwined with each other.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve become hyper aware of our physical state of wellbeing. Yet we often don’t extend this same care to our mental health. That’s why it’s so important to tune into both our bodies and minds.
Research shows that you’re more likely to suffer from physical health conditions if you’re already struggling with your mental health. The same applies when you switch the two around.
How can you be happier?
It’s true that simple things can bring us great joy. Improving your quality of life doesn’t have to be about radical decisions – just incorporating some healthier practices into your day can make a huge difference.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Stressed and overworked? Going for a short walk in your lunch break can help you to regain balance and perspective.
- Constantly exhausted? Winding down before bed and switching off electronic devices should lead to a more restful night’s sleep.
- Feeling lonely? Finding a local meetup group could help you connect with like-minded people and make more friends.
Sometimes it can be helpful to schedule some fun activities into your week. Planning fun might sound counterintuitive but, if you don’t, it’s easy for a whole week to pass by without doing anything that’s just for you. As with any new habit, having a routine to follow can make it easier to incorporate fun into your day.
Think about what you enjoy doing when you’ve got free time and no obligations. Do you like catching up on your favourite TV shows? How about listening to some music? Would you like to spend more time getting out and socialising with friends?
Steps to ‘feeling sound’
We all have basic emotional needs, just as we have physical ones. A great place to start with tending to them is the “five ways to wellbeing”. These five needs have been developed by the New Economics Foundation, and are as follows:
Humans are social beings. As much as we might try to be independent, we all need a form of social output in our lives. This might be achieved through socialising with colleagues, friends or family, either in person or via phone call.
You don’t have to be training to run a 10K in order to be active. Just going on a daily short walk or doing some simple stretches will help your body to release “happy hormones” to boost your mood.
You’ve probably heard this term used in relation to mental wellbeing. Mindfulness basically means living in the moment and enjoying the present. It can be as simple as putting your phone away when you’re out for the day and really paying attention to what’s going on around you.
When you’re learning something new, you’re building new pathways in your brain. If you’re absorbed in gaining knowledge or practising a skill, you’ve got less space to worry about things. New skills also help to boost your self-esteem and give you a better sense of purpose.
Have you ever experienced the warm feeling you get from helping somebody else? Giving isn’t just good for the receiver – it’s also good for the donor. Whether you start by supporting a charity, offering help to someone who looks lost, or even showing more appreciation for your loved ones, everyone involved wins.
Plus when you’re kind to other people, it’s easier to be kind to yourself.
Are you ‘feeling sound’?
When your body and mind are united in a state of wellbeing, life becomes easier to deal with. You’re better equipped to deal with any problems, and will be less reactive to conflicts or worries that present themselves.
You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” response. You don’t need to have severe anxiety to experience this – it crops up whenever your mind is stressed, and stops you from being able to think rationally. When you’re feeling sound, you’re able to reflect on things before making decisions based on stress.