Let’s talk about mental health….because for so long, it’s not been something we could discuss. Many people still find it an uncomfortable subject, and some cultures ignore it completely. This is a bit mad really as it’s our brain that gives us our character, our intelligence, decides who we love, what foods we hate – it’s the very essence of who we are and how we live. So let’s not give mental health such a bad rap. We could split mental health into two areas: 1. General mental health – looking after ourselves by keeping our stress levels in check, communicating well, getting enough rest, exercise and nutrition and being positive. 2. Mental illness – due to not caring for our mental health, taking drugs, a traumatic life event, genetic predisposition, physical illness or a chemical change in our brain. Resilient and ready to rock! Taking care of your mental health is often bottom of our ‘to do’ lists, but to live an active, fulfilling life, get cracking on these clever tips. Let’s cut through the fuzzy feel-good-stuff and look at what science says works. 1. Music. Yep, you know this anyhow, but music truly is fantastic for you. Research has proved that music significantly helps with: Relaxation – Slower musical beats can alter brainwave speed to that of a meditative or hypnotic state. Just sticking on some easy listening can reduce stress, headaches and even PMS by triggering biochemical stress reducing chemicals to come out fighting all those negative thoughts. Depression – Classical and meditative sounds are proven to be uplifting and restful, whereas heavy metal and techno make depressive symptoms worse. Anxiety – Listening to music is as effective at reducing anxiety as massage. So do both at the same time! Thinking power – music increases blood flow. Classical music in particular reduces blood pressure and heart rate.