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Five steps to improve mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is about how you are feeling and how well you cope. We all have times when we have low mental wellbeing – when we are more stressed, or find it difficult to cope with life. How we feel can change from time to time, depending on what we have going on in our lives – this is normal. There are things we can all do to look after and improve our mental wellbeing, which may help us to cope when life gets more difficult.

Research indicates that there are five steps we can take to boost our mental wellbeing. Nobody else can give mental wellbeing to you – you have to take action for yourself. Can you make a pledge to make a small change today?


Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing the relationships that make you feel happier and more secure.


Being active is good for your mental wellbeing as well as for your body – physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to improve your mood. Visit the section about Physical Activity to find ideas on how to be active.


Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning how to play an instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?

There are lots of opportunities for learning in the Scottish Borders – here are a few ideas to get you started:


Giving to others – even the smallest act such as a smile, a thank you or a kind word – can all make a difference to how you feel. Larger acts, such as volunteering your time, can make a significant difference to your mental wellbeing and can help you to connect with others too.

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer in the Scottish Borders. If you need help to get started, contact the Volunteer Centre Borders in Galashiels. 


Be mindful – take notice of the present moment, your thoughts, feelings, your body and the world around you. Be curious, catch sight of the beautiful. When we are busy and active we can forget to take notice, but having even a brief pause to reflect can help us to choose to feel good about where we are and the action we are taking.

Think of these five steps as your ‘5 a day’ for mental wellbeing.

Remember that our mental health and physical health are closely linked, so the information in the other sections on Physical Activity, Food, Alcohol and Smoking will all help too.

Stress Busters

It is very common for people to get stressed, anxious or depressed at some point in their lives. The good news is that there are lots of helpful resources that can help you if you are struggling.Visit our Stress Busters website for stress busting tips and details of local classes and events. 

Emotional Support Lifelines

If you are worried and need help and advice for yourself or a person you are supporting, call:

Samaritans on 116 123

Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87

Borderline on 0800 027 4466

Or visit