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The 7-step plan to better mental health

Give your spirits a lift with our expert tips to improve your mental health

1 Try some Indian herbs

“My tip is to try tulsi, an Indian herb, which is known to be a fantastic rejuvenative to the mind and spirit and can help to improve mental clarity and clear brain fog,” says Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, a nutritionist and specialist in health psychology. “It is known to improve circulation to your brain, whilst also providing oxidative protection to the brain cells. It also steadies the adrenal hormonal stress response allowing you to cope better under pressure. You can also try drinking brahmi tea. Brahmi is the classic Ayurvedic brain tonic, and saponin-rich adaptogen, that appears to work in a number of ways to protect brain cells and improve cognitive functions. It has been used to help recover from chronic fatigue and associated low energies. Lion’s mane mushroom is a true brain food and studies have found that it can stimulate the growth of new brain cells.”

2 Practise gratitude

“Seamless gratitude can massively help manage mental health and remind people of the positive things in their life,” says Carley Mellors-Blair, the founder of Altered Health Solutions ( “Gratitude is also a way of turning on all your good chemicals. If you write a list of things you are grateful for, you won’t have that negativity as you go to sleep and this will affect the way you wake up too. There’s literally something to be grateful for every second of every minute, and we need to remember this even at the darkest times. If gratitude has never been practised, then you’re best to set a time to do it. Once you’ve repeated it for a few days/weeks, it becomes automatic. It’s like a muscle; you have to build momentum!”

3 Take time to feel

“Take time to feel – we can get so caught up in thinking and living in the mental realm,” says Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a renowned physiologist and sleep expert ( “Take time regularly throughout your day – even for just a few seconds – to check in with yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever arises and if it’s not convenient to feel what needs to be felt at that moment, make a point of coming back to those feelings. You might deal with uncomfortable feelings but just noticing them and saying, ‘Right now I feel...’ might be enough. Or you could take time to journal or cry. Telling a close friend how you feel without necessarily asking them to give advice or tell you how to feel can also be powerful.”

4 Do some meditation

“I swear by meditation,” says Penny Weston, owner of Moddershall Oaks spa retreat ( “It has been used for centuries, but in recent years it has become much more accessible to the average person. Essentially, when meditating, we are trying to control our thoughts to focus our attention on the present moment: take note of all the sensations your body is aware of from the sounds around you to the feel of your clothes against your skin. Tune into your emotions and thoughts and try to observe them like a bystander, without any judgement. It’s important not to become discouraged when your mind starts to wander. With time and effort your focus will become stronger. It’s something you can do virtually anywhere at no cost, and the benefits for your mental wellbeing and overall health are so strong that I highly recommend you try.”

5 Try some aromatherapy

“For those looking for a natural remedy to ease anxiety, studies have shown that the simple act of inhaling an essential oil can elicit a change in mood and can alleviate symptoms of stress such as shortness of breath, digestion issues and changes to our sleep pattern,” says Jo Kellett, expert aromatherapist for Tisserand Aromatherapy ( “They are also known to promote relaxation, to further aid in the relief of stress and anxiety. Most of us have heard about the stress soothing properties of lavender and chamomile, but these have sedative like effects that are great for helping to reduce anxiety at night but may well be too relaxing during the day. However, nutmeg, coriander and Melissa are the perfect daytime antidote.”

6 Be sure to eat well

“Good nutrition plays an essential role in supporting our mental health,” Daisy Connor, nutritional therapist at City Survivor Supplements City Survivor - Smart Supplements for Busy People. “These key nutrients are needed in optimal amounts to protect our cognition and mental health:

Our modern diets commonly lack essential nutrients. An easy way to ensure optimal intakes is to cut ultra-processed foods from your diet and increase whole foods (fresh veg, whole grains, legumes and quality protein and fats). Add foundation supplements such as a good multivitamin, vitamin D, magnesium and quality omega-3. Use your local independent health store as they will recommend good quality options! Taking ineffective supplements or rancid omega-3 is a waste of money and may harm rather than help.”

7 Focus on your breath

“Breathwork is a form of controlled breathing that can range from slow and steady to rapid and intense,” says Caroline Strawson, a trauma-informed therapist and coach ( “Specifically, breathwork can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” response. One of the key benefits of breathwork is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Research has shown that slow, deep breathing can decrease the production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and increase the production of oxytocin, a hormone associated with relaxation and bonding.”

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