Last updated on September 6, 2020
We all know that maintaining good mental health is as important as maintaining good physical health. Indeed, there is no good health without good mental health. In our daily lives bombarded with blog posts, exercise programs, and whatnot, we often forget to address our mental health issues.
Various studies reveal that poor mental health is associated with crime, violence, and an unhealthy lifestyle. If you’re one of those individuals who would like to eliminate unhealthy behaviours from this world and make it a better place to live, you should start with yourself and learn how to improve your mental health.
In this article, we have outlined some of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. You must give them a solid read and put some into action to enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life.
1. Adopt a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced, healthy diet is your first step toward achieving a healthy mind. Not only does it help with weight maintenance, but it also prevents a range of illnesses. A healthy diet gives your brain much-needed nutrients to keep it in good physical shape and functioning.
Things to try
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and plant-based foods
- Regular water consumption
- Meats rich in protein.
Try to limit
- Sugar-rich foods
- Artificial additives and intoxicants
- Junk and oily food
2. Exercise Regularly
Doing exercise as a part of your routine is vital for physical as well as mental health. Many mental health experts advise doing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week.
Remember that living a sedentary lifestyle both at home and in the office can adversely affect your mental wellbeing. And the best way to improve your mental health is to exercise regularly.
How exercise positively affects our mental health:
- Increases the energy levels
- Helps you sleep better
- Eradicates frustration, irritation, and bad mood
- Improves self-esteem and confidence
3. Be Grateful for What You Have
You may have experienced a spate of negative thoughts while you were depressed or stressed out. However, if you practice gratitude, then you can combat the onslaught of negative feelings.
You will find various ways to practice gratitude daily. One way is to spend 15 to 20 minutes contemplating the things in life for which you are thankful. You can explore multiple items such as your job, your eyesight, your loving friends, and a caring partner. Focusing on small as well as big things in life for which you can be thankful will eradicate the negative thoughts and improve your mental health.
4. Manage Stress
Stress often stems from money, relationship, or work problems. Most people experience stress at some point, and if not managed properly, it can take a toll on their mental wellbeing.
Various studies suggest yoga and mindfulness meditation as a cure to stress. These activities change the body’s response to stress and put it into a state of rest. Developing a good relationship with work colleagues can also help to improve your mental health.
5. Get into Voluntary Work or Concentrate on a Hobby
Getting into voluntary work is considered to be a perfect distraction. Not only does it give you an identity, but it also helps you build contacts and friendships. It’s a way of putting a structure in your life and contributing to society at the same time.
Similarly, concentrating on a hobby like gardening can help you forget your worries and put you in a better mood.
It’s important to know that humans are naturally social beings. Therefore, being able to connect with other people is rewarding and can significantly improve your mental health.
6. Use Social Media Wisely
Having connections on social media feels awesome. However, taking things that people post on Facebook and other sites to heart can be harmful to your mental health. Reading exuberant status updates can make people feel worse about themselves – particularly those who don’t have many friends in real life.
While these social sites may give some people a sense of belonging, many people complain that social media has worsened their anxiety and paranoia. The best way to deal with this issue is to make use of the connectivity that social media offers without making your entire life revolve around it.
7. Go Outside More Often
Although the indoor environment is good for protection against the elements, but not going outside frequently enough can damage your mental health. Spending time outside is a great way to improve your mental health as it decreases activity in areas of the brain that cause stress, and will put you in a better mood. Even just five minutes in nature can be better for your mind than two hours spent indoors.
8. Watch the Stars
While feeling depressed, take some time to look at the stars each night. Making a connection with things greater than yourself can improve mental health according to experts. The solitude of night helps maintain the levels of serotonin, an essential chemical in our brain that regulates our actions, they say. Some doctors also prescribe a 15-minute walk at night to soothe the anxious neurotransmitters inside our brain.
9. Pay Heed to Sleep
You might struggle to get 8 hours of sleep if you are busy with work or raising children. However, prioritising your sleep is imperative. Indeed, being sleep-deprived will only compound the problems of anxiety and depression. A study suggests that people who have insomnia have a higher risk of being attacked by psychological disorders.
Good quality sleep is not only about getting 8 hours of sleep. It is also about having a sleep that is restful and energised. Prioritising the elimination of caffeine, alcohol, and smoking will help you to get quality sleep and improve your mental health.
10. Maintain Thriving Relationships
Despite growing online connectivity, loneliness is considered an epidemic in many parts of the world these days. More and more people than ever before feel isolated, depressed, and anxious. It is said that loneliness has the same effect on people’s life span as smoking and obesity, and the feeling of isolation may shorten a person’s life up to 15 years.
Prioritising your relationships, whether they are romantic or otherwise, is one of the best ways to improve your mental health and having cordial relations benefit us in unimaginable ways. We start feeling that we are a part of the community and that our life has a meaning.
11. Appeal to Your Senses
Does listening to a serene song make you feel relaxed? Does squeezing a ball of foam help you feel calm? Do you enjoy the sight and sound of trees? If yes, then all of these things are directly related to your senses.
To improve your mental health, you need to respond positively to your sensory organs. You can energise your senses by watching a romantic movie or by reading a classic novel. Everyone has a different standard of sensory pleasure, and so, you need to try different things to find out what works best for you.
12. Keep Connected
Human beings are social animals. All of us want to feel loved and supported by others. Various studies infer that social connections are the cardinal thing in achieving good mental health. It can be a short message, call, or email. You can also find new friendships by:
- Enrol in a class or hobby
- Join a book or hiking club
- Try volunteering work
- Reach out to people
13. Take a Break
At times when life may seem unpromising, step away and do something different. Sometimes, when you are also indulged in some hectic activity, simply breathing out for 5 minutes will do the trick.
To execute a simple breathing exercise, close your eyes, and take ten deep breaths. For each breath, count from one to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then, exhale another four. You will be amazed at home a simple exercise can leave you feeling more relaxed and at ease.
14. Challenge Yourself
The worst you can do in life is to remain complacent. You will never be able to enjoy the wonderful feeling of accomplishing your goals if you stick to the status quo. Even if you think that you have achieved most of your goals in life, there are always areas in which you can still challenge yourself. Don’t neglect the importance of having goals in your life. After all, having a challenging purpose is a cardinal element to improve your mental health.
15. Utter Something Positive
Researchers have shown that repeating optimistic phrases can have a substantial effect on our feelings of wellbeing. When people perceive life negatively, they generally end up fulfilling a prophecy in a way that endorses their negativity. Instead of being too cynical about your situation, practice words that promote feelings of enthusiasm and self-worth. Instead of saying, “I am not landing a job because I don’t have any skills,” tell yourself, “I will overhaul my expertise and get the job I want next try.”
16. Don’t Go Crazy over Small Things
Daily agitations are part of life, but you should not be responding too fanatically over minor irritations. The more people get offended by small things like having to wait in traffic or having arguments with a partner, the more distressed they become research shows. It would, therefore, help if you didn’t let little problems ruin your moment. After all, each moment adds up to a day, and the days make years.
17. Look for Meaning Instead of Pleasure
People generally feel happier when they participate in meaningful activities rather than focusing on hedonism. Meaningful activities such as helping those less fortunate or pursuing ambitious goals will not only abolish your depression but will give you a sense of purpose and the utmost happiness.
You cannot take your happiness level to an extent where it becomes impossible for you to satisfy yourself. Just discover the pleasure in meaningful things and say goodbye to anxiety.
18. Practice Self Compassion
If you are obsessed with self-critique, then don’t worry because you are not alone. It is common for us to berate ourselves and beat ourselves up, particularly when we compare ourselves to others. However, this perpetual self-criticism has a cost: it makes us lose self-confidence, thereby leading us to anxiety and depression.
Self-compassion is a way of thinking more kindly about ourselves. Self-compassion not only makes us happy but also gives us overall emotional wellbeing. Kinder people tend to be happier people and mentally healthier people.
Solving your problems through research on the internet is one way that you may improve your mental health. There is a range of online resources, websites and books that can provide help on ending anxiety and other mental health issues. You may be able to read the real-life experiences of other people just like you who have successfully rid themselves of similar problems. Reading or watching practical advice will not only motivate you but will also imprint a positive can-do image in your mind.
20. Don’t Speak to Toxic People
You should not feel guilty when saying goodbye to toxic people. If a person makes you feel bad, stop speaking to him. Toxic people do not deserve your company. We are not saying to isolate your closest friends in times of need; however, we are suggesting you move away from those who intentionally make your life miserable. Avoiding negative people will automatically expel unwarranted troubles from your life.
21. Say Goodbye to an Addiction
Most of us have at least one harmful habit. It might be smoking, alcohol, junk food, drugs, pornography, sex, or any other excessive behaviour. It is up to you to leave that addiction behind or to prolong it for years.
Addiction might seem like a feasible way to alleviate mental health problems; however, it is not always true. Addictions often exacerbate mental health issues, and saying goodbye to them is crucial to improve your mental health. Why not start today?
Each of us has the power to take positive steps to enhance our emotional health and resilience. You cannot afford to wait until you are in a crisis of mental health to make a change. It is far more convenient to develop healthy habits while you are strong, and have these habits in place should you need them most, which is less likely if you’ve already developed healthy habits.
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