The first step to improving your mental health is understanding what exactly it is – and why it’s so important!
Mental health refers to the state of our psychological, emotional and social well-being. Regardless of your age, it is important to maintain a healthy mental state as this will positively influence your actions, your ability to handle stress and your ability to make rational decisions. By proactively working to improve your mental health early on, the chances of developing mental illnesses are diminished and research suggests that a healthy mental state reflects improved physical health. With all this in mind, consider the following 7 ways to improve your mental health.
Get Up and Get Active!
There are many benefits to be gained through regular participation in physical activity including strengthening the body, creating an important balance in your life to work-related stress and releasing endorphins that energize and renew your body and mind. Don’t like running or working out? Consider joining the gym and participating in group classes for milder exercise such as Pilates or Yoga. Interactive fitness groups such as CrossFit or fun runs in your local community are some great ways to get in shape, both physically and mentally!
Be Positively Optimistic
An optimistic outlook can do wonders for your attitude and the way in which you approach challenges. Think it, say it, believe it and you will soon start acting it! Optimism and positive thoughts influence a healthier state of mind, making it easier to overcome challenges and remain self-confident and ready for any situation.
Laughter is a proven way to relieve stress and your positive thinking will encourage the people around you to seek a similar positive state of mental health.
Help Yourself by Helping Others
Partaking in meaningful activities such as volunteering and helping out in your community can improve your mental state of mind by creating a renewed purpose of life. Volunteering often allows for reflection of your own situation and helps you realize how fortunate you are compared to others, even in your near vicinity.
Social interaction is vital to a healthy state of mind and guards against isolation. By volunteering, you’ll meet many people and make plenty of friends who value helping others and who could offer great support.
Sleep It Off
You’ve heard it plenty of times before and deep down, you already know the importance of getting enough sleep. So we’ll just give you a brief reminder! A good night’s rest is imperative to getting through your day refreshed and energized. Try to fit in 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
For those who struggle with insomnia, a warm bath and some soothing music should help you get to sleep. Maintain a regular sleep cycle to ensure deep sleep, thereby improving your mental health for the day ahead.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Asking for Help
We all fall into a slump now and then and sometimes you just need that extra encouragement and support to get back on track. If you’re stuck in a rut and are experiencing prolonged sadness or even depression, approach a trusted friend or family member and talk to them about what you’re experiencing.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if necessary. This is not a sign of weakness! Therapy could assist you in finding coping techniques for stressful situations.
Food for Thought
Keep yourself looking and feeling good by paying attention to what you put into your body. The saying “You are what you eat” rings true here and an unhealthy diet is often to be blamed for disrupted sleep, reduced energy levels and difficulty exercising.
Stick to food rich in omega-3 such as fish and include a good portion of nuts, avocados, olives, beans and leafy greens to keep your mind active and your body nourished. Things to avoid: too much caffeine, alcohol and fried, fatty and sugary food.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation practices and mindfulness are very effective methods to calm your thoughts and focus on dealing with anxiety and fear in a rational, collected manner. Mindfulness refers to the mental state that is achieved by focusing on and being consciously aware of your present situation.
Within this thought process, time is taken to acknowledge and accept your actions, feelings and thoughts which leads to the therapeutic process of recovering from anxiety.