5 Savvy Ways To Improve Your Mental Health
Why can “feeling blue” be such a problem?
The main reason for this is that our mental health and wellbeing impacts us more than we acknowledge. There are several ways that we can experience negative feelings from not prioritizing our mental health. For some, mental health is a serious concern and needs to be attended to and treated for the rest of their lives. However, even if you are affected with chronic depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia the good news is that you can effectively treat these illnesses in a number of ways. The same is true for personality conditions. Mental health professionals are now coming to recognize that milder disorders which affect our mood, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can be quite debilitating for those who experience them too.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways that mental health can be improved. What follows are five savvy tips for keeping your mental wellbeing in tip-top condition.
1. Get Your Heart Pumping
Much is made about the benefits of exercise, and with good reason. Exercise is great for the body but has untold benefits for the mind. It makes you sleep better and aids relaxation as it helps rid your body and mind of stress and anxiety. You get a buzz from working out to some upbeat music which instantly makes you feel better. On a more physiological level, exercise boosts serotonin production in the brain. As a result, you feel happier. If you work out on a regular basis it stands to reason that your mood will be better. Add that to the fact that you will feel healthier and better about your body and you have an overall confidence boost.
It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t have to be an epic spinning class or a 10-mile run. Walking at a fairly rapid pace for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is enough to ensure that you experience all the emotional benefits related to exercise. So just go to your favorite green space and get moving.
2. Just Talk About It
If you are experiencing emotional difficulties that might range from needing a course of CBT to help you with anxiety, or are in treatment for a serious condition like schizophrenia, your best option is to find a therapist to talk to. If a therapist is out of reach or your budget, there are online therapists available at fairly reasonable rates.
Social media also provides platforms for people dealing with emotional challenges to share their story and find others who can relate. Whether you look-up a specific group on social media such as Facebook, or follow someone experiencing your challenges on Twitter, you will find that there is a lot of support out there for you. One thing is certain - you don’t need to face it alone.
3. Eat For Happiness
You are what you eat. It's a cliche but like all good cliches, it happens to be true. If you are battling any sort of mental issue, you need to consume a healthy diet. This has untold benefits for your mental health. You can’t go wrong with good saturated fats (think olive oil and coconut oil), proteins, and organic fruit and veg. In addition, if you don’t see much sun, consider taking a vitamin D supplement as this is essential for the production of “happy” chemicals. Research also suggests that one cup of coffee in the morning and dark chocolate consumed in moderate amounts can boost serotonin production.
4. Give With, And Develop Gratitude
Having gratitude for what you have has major benefits for your mental wellbeing. Some tips include keeping a daily gratitude journal where something as simple as having eaten a good meal for dinner is something to record. Once you are more aware of how much you do have, you will not focus so much on what you don’t have. You will probably also acknowledge that you are pretty lucky.
Studies also show that those who give of their time to help those needier than themselves experience an elevated sense of self-fulfilment. So give some time during your off-time helping out your favorite charity. After all, how many hours can you spend in a mall or cooped up at home over the weekend before you start over-obsessing on your own issues? Go out and spread some happiness.
Instead of spending all your free time watching TV, rather take a few hours to get creative. Whether you are naturally creative, or you have to learn a new skill, both are good for increasing happiness. Whether it’s writing, drawing, painting, mixing music or buying adult coloring books and getting crazy with shades, express how you feel through this medium. You don’t need to be a professional to express your inner thoughts and feelings. Creative expression is a great outlet for emotions and a healthy way to deal with them.
Whichever mental health challenge you are facing, from serious, lifelong mental illness, to periods of depression, the above tips work for all of them and can easily be incorporated into your life. There is no need to endure the emotions in silence. Empower yourself by making changes to the way you live life. This will positively affect the way you feel.