What is mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing refers to a person’s positive emotional and psychological state and how well they are coping with the stresses of everyday life. Good mental health, or being mentally healthy, means you are well equipped to handle your emotions, respond to stress and have a positive outlook on life.
It is important to recognise that mental wellbeing doesn’t mean you won’t experience any negative emotions or reactions. But being mentally healthy allows you to experience all life has; to overcome, both the ups and the downs, and cope with them in a healthy way.
Importance of mental wellbeing
Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be treated just as seriously. Australians recognise that a big part of an individual’s wellbeing is their mental health, and therefore mental health support is highly valued. Many Australians seek mental health support on a regular basis and there are a range of services available that provide this.
Mental wellbeing is a huge contributing factor to your life. Mental wellbeing can make us happier, healthier and more positive, productive and creative, and helps us to foster our relationships.
Good mental wellbeing helps us to cope with the normal everyday stresses of life. It drives how we think, feel and act, contributing to an overall better life.
Tips to look after your mental wellbeing
Looking after your mental wellbeing while you are studying away from your family is very important. There are some great ways that you can look after your mental wellbeing just by making simple changes to your lifestyle.
- Ask for help. Culture shock is a normal feeling for people who live in another country. It is important that if you are feeling depressed, anxious, lonely, stressed, homesick, are finding it hard to adapt or just have an overall feeling of uneasiness, that you know there is support available to you. You can access the Hub and speak to a Student Support Officer or make an appointment with a doctor who can help you get the support and assistance you need. The Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre, Harmony Place and Multicultural Connect Line are also great services that specialise in helping people from other cultures or language backgrounds to get the support they need. Other services available in Queensland include Lifeline, Beyond Blue, SANE Helpline, Parentline, PANDA, Diverse Voices and Men’s Line.
- Talk about your feelings. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can release stress and make you feel connected. Talking with a friend or family member either here or back home, or using one of the counselling services listed below, can take some pressure off you and help to build stronger and more connected relationships.
- Look after your body and mind. This is great not only for your physical health, but your mental health too. By exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and avoiding drugs and alcohol, you are looking after your body and improving your mental wellbeing.
- Meditate. Meditation is a great form of relaxation and can even help to improve sleep. Take some time to relax your thoughts and ‘zen out’. This is like a workout for your mind that will help you to find some peace and quiet and stay present in the moment. Like any workout, meditation can take some time to get used to while you develop your skills. It is important not to give up. You may find it helpful to start with a guided meditation using apps such as Smiling Mind or Headspace. YouTube is another great resource for free guided meditation.
- Practice gratitude or being thankful. Sometimes all you need to do is be in the moment and remember what you have to be grateful for. This can be challenging when you are in a dark headspace, but even the darkest of days have some light. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your life. You may even find it useful to write them down so you can glance at them throughout the day.
- Make time for yourself. ‘Me time’ is particularly important for mental health. Living abroad can especially feel very busy and overwhelming, so take time out to unwind and destress. Whether you enjoy your favourite activities or just sit and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, this will all contribute to positive well-being.