8 tips to keep your mind healthy

We all take care of our physical health, but how much do we think about our mental health? There are things you can do to keep your mind healthy - follow these top tips

Around 1 in 4 people will experience some sort of mental health problem in the course of a year and women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men.

We all try and look after our physical health, but how much do we actually take care of our mental health? There are ways to keep your mind healthy - follow our top tips to boost your mental health.

1. Look after your body

If you look after your physical health, then your mental health also improves. * Make sure you eat a balanced diet * Avoid cigarettes * Drink plenty of water * Exercise regularly

2. Talk about your feelings

Make sure you find some supportive people and then share how you feel with them.

Having someone else listen to your feelings can help massively and simply putting them into words can help you think more clearly.

If you don't have anyone to talk to, then ring or email a helpline.

3. Keep in touch with family and friends

Regular social contact can make all the difference to someone suffering with mental health problems.

Keeping up your close relationships has a big impact on how we feel on a daily basis. Simply making a phone call, sending an email or a text keeps up the connection.

And if you know someone who is depressed, then a quick call can really help.

4. Reduce stress

This can be easier than it sounds, but continued stress can have a long-term effect on your mental and physical health.

Start by trying to make your home as stress-free as possible: clear up mess, make sure there's enough light and that you have somewhere you can go to relax. - Follow our expert advice on how to reduce stress

5. Give yourself a challenge

Trying a new activity or setting a goal helps to focus your thoughts and actions and also gives you something to aim for.

Your challenge has to be something realistic, like learn how to play an instrument simply, or get fit enough to walk up the stairs at work without feeling exhausted.

Don't make the challenge totally unachievable - like running a marathon. The idea of it is to have fun and broaden what you normally do.

6. Laugh and cry

Laughing has been shown to boost your immune system, relieve pain and even protect your heart.

And it is also a big factor in relieving depression and other mental health problems. It reduces tension and stress and also lowers irritation.

Surprisingly, a good sob is also good for your mental health. You may not particularly enjoy it at the time, but crying can release bottled-up feelings and many people feel as if a weight has been released afterwards.

7. Make time for yourself

One of the characteristics of people with poor mental health is that they spend more time worrying about other people than themselves.

To improve your mental health, make time to sort out what really matters in your life.

Don't let your hobbies and interests get pushed into the background. Try to fit things into the day that you enjoy and also help you relax, be it listening to music or reading a book - even if it's just for 10 minutes.

8. Make a plan

Not knowing how you're going to fill your day is one thing that people with poor mental health find the most troubling.

On a Monday, force yourself to write down at least one thing you're going to do every day in the following week.

This means when you wake up in the morning you won't be faced with an empty 24 hours.

More help and advice

- Get more facts about different mental health conditions - 10 ways to fight depression - Expert advice on beating stress - Mind: mental health charity or call 0845 766 0163 - Mental Health Foundation