You can be the master of your own mental wellbeing, writes life coach Paul Mort.

Before we start, let’s get one thing clear. I’m not some bullshitting lifestyle coach who’s never had to deal with the realities of life.

But I am a coach who’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, and I know what it’s like to feel that your life is out of control. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Back in 2014, in the depths of suicidal depression, I stood on the edge of a cliff in South Shields, planning to end my life.

My wife, Lesley, had to plead with me not to jump off.

“Think about the kids,” she said. “Do you want them to go through life thinking that their Dad has given up on them?”

That was the turning point.

It was time to go home, cut out the bullshit and work out how to stop blaming all my problems on someone or something else.

Today, thankfully, my life is unrecognisable.

My marriage is stronger, I’m a better dad, and I’m a successful motivational speaker and coach. In fact, I’m proud to say I’m the 2020 UK Mastercoach of the Year.

Over the years I’ve developed a fail-safe method to keep myself healthy, fit, happy and working hard.

Firstly, it’s all well and good telling someone that exercise is good for depression. But when I was depressed I could barely even open the curtains, never mind go for a run.

So we need to start small. If you feel depressed or suicidal, your GP is a good place to start, and antidepressants work well for some people, alongside talking therapies. But the waiting lists can be long, which feels discouraging.

In the meantime, there are simple strategies you can use to begin the road to recovery.

How To Take Control Of Your Mental Health | Men's Fitness UK

Make a start by writing down how you want to feel – then put thoughts into action


1. Get a piece of paper and write down:

  • How do you want to feel?
  • What are you willing to do to feel like that?
  • What’s going to make you feel better right now?

2. Then do something!

  • Send a message to someone, listen to some music, anything.
  • Your list is your plan.
  • Begin to tick it off and you’re away – that is your strategy.


I call these the five Fs:

  • Focus
  • Fitness
  • Family
  • Finance
  • Fun

You need a goal for each one of these. They are all key to having a meaningful life. In my work as a life coach, often the things that people are missing are the fun and family elements.

They are running successful businesses and making money, but their home life is suffering and they just aren’t enjoying the lives they’ve built.

They’ve got what they thought they wanted – in most cases a wife, children, nice house, nice car – but they’re thinking, What next?

I always say, where your attention goes, energy flows and results shows. So write out a goal in each of the five Fs, then set a deadline. It needs to be something you can do in the short-term, or it’s overwhelming.

It can be something really small, or very personal, but you need to set your own goals and they have to be something you know you can achieve.

Changing the stories you have been telling yourself is hard, but working out why you feel like you do is important.

Once you start working out how you are creating your ideas, and changing the focus, you will start to see changes straight away.

I know it; I’ve been there.

And if not now, when?

How To Take Control Of Your Mental Health | Men's Fitness UK

Paul Mort’s audiobook is available to download now

Paul Mort Will Save Your Life is available as an audiobook. Follow @Paulmort1 for more support.