Information for young people on understanding mental wellbeing, and how to look after it.
If you've heard of the term 'mental wellbeing' and don't know what it is, or you want to find out how you can look after your wellbeing and feel good, we're here to help you learn more.
This page has information on:
Your mental wellbeing is about how you're feeling right now, and how well you can cope with daily life. Our wellbeing can change from moment to moment, day to day, or month to month.
Sometimes it changes because of things that happen to us and sometimes it changes for no reason at all. It can affect the way we feel about ourselves and others, and about the things we face in our lives.
"In our hectic lives, we sometimes forget to check in with ourselves. Therefore, we sometimes don't realise our wellbeing is suffering until we are struggling because of it."
Having good wellbeing can help you to:
Good wellbeing doesn't mean you'll always be happy. It's normal to feel sad, angry, or low sometimes. But if you have poor wellbeing for a long time you might start to find things more difficult to cope with.
We're all different, so what affects your wellbeing may not be the same for somebody else. But some common things are:
You may experience difficulties in one or more of these areas, or even experience problems not listed here. That's okay. Everyone is different.
However your wellbeing is at the moment, there are things you can do to look after and improve it.
What helps you now may not be the same as what helps you in the future. Try what you feel is comfortable and right for you, at this moment.
Here are our top tips to look after your wellbeing:
Doing something creative can help boost our self-esteem and our relationships. It can also help us feel less stressed, learn something new, and express ourselves. You could try:
… anything using your imagination and skill.
Learning new things can be a great way of improving our confidence and giving us a sense of achievement. You could try:
Regular exercise can improve our mood and self-confidence, increase our energy and help us sleep better. You could try:
There are options for you to get your body moving, whatever your ability. For easy suggestions and links to video tutorials, visit the NHS page on physical activity for young people.
Before you start exercising: if you experience compulsive or addictive feelings about exercise, medication side-effects, or other health problems, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor first.
"I feel that exercise releases a lot of tension and gives me purpose."
Healthy eating and drinking can improve our mood, increase our energy and help us sleep better. You could try:
You can download the NHS's page on healthy eating for teens for more information.
If you have an eating problem, or have any worries about food, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your diet.
Getting good sleep, and enough of it, can help us have more energy, feel more positive, and feel less stressed. You could try:
"I like reading a book before I go to bed so I can switch off from social media."
The blue light that comes through your screen is similar to daylight, so it makes your body want to stay awake longer. Turning on the filter lowers the amount of the blue light from your screen. That means:
Most smartphones and tablets now have this option built in. You can switch it on from the main menu, or in Settings.
Helping others can make us feel happier, give us a sense of achievement, increase our self-worth, and boost our relationships. You could:
Spending time doing something we enjoy can make us feel happier and more relaxed, have fun, boost relationships with others, and even help develop a skill. You could try:
"Finding time to do things you love or even planning to do things you love in the future is important."
By connecting with other people we can improve our mood, feel more accepted, share experiences, and support each other. You could try:
It's normal to want to try and deal with things on your own. But opening up to friends, family or other people you trust can help you feel supported.
Try and remember it's always ok to ask for help. See our page on finding support for more ideas on who you can talk to.
"Having a discussion with family members and close friends about what's been effective for boosting my wellbeing in the past, allows them to act as a prompt in times of need."
"No matter what people say, self-care isn’t selfish. I’ve noticed than whenever I take self-care more seriously, it has a hugely positive impact on how I feel and act."
This information was published in March 2020. We will revise it in 2022.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.