Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. In addition to impacting how you feel, your mental health can affect the quality of your thoughts, how well you cope with stress, and how you relate to other people. Your mental health can also affect your ability to make sound and rational decisions. Neglecting your mental health can make you feel irritated, angry, depressed, or moody. Not taking care of your mental health can also lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, high blood pressure, chest pain, and ulcers. The good news is that you don’t have to continue to live that way. There are several lifestyle changes and habits you can adopt to start improving your mental health right away.
What Is Mental Health?
Even though your mental health can impact how you feel, your mental well-being encompasses much more than just feeling well. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of well-being that allows you to realize your full abilities, cope with life stress, work productively, and contribute to your community.
In many ways, mental health is your ability to enjoy life and deal with your feelings, both positive and distressing, in a healthy way even when situations are challenging. Mental stability can help you:
- Realize your full potential
- Maintain good relationships
- Cope with challenges without being consumed by them
- Make meaningful contributions to your community
- Work productively
- Enhance your physical health
6 Easy-To-Adopt Ways To Improve Your Mental Health
1. Talk Positively To Yourself Throughout The Day
When you perceive your life negatively, you can start to see yourself and your life through a negative lens, which can affect your mental health. Luckily, viewing your life positively can help protect and improve your mental health.
Some positive words you can begin to say to yourself daily include:
- I am proud of myself
- My hard work pays off
- I can do this
- I am loved
- I am strong
- We all make mistakes
- I can make a difference in the world
Expressing gratitude can also help improve your mental health. Set aside time each day to think about the positive aspects of your life. Write them down so you can refer back to them as needed. Having a positive outlook can help you enjoy life even when faced with challenging and uncomfortable situations.
2. Do Something You Enjoy Everyday
Life events can happen quickly and unexpectedly, but intentionally making time for activities you enjoy can help improve your mental health. Doing hobbies that you enjoy can help strengthen your brain and improve your mood. Research actually shows that people who routinely spend time doing hobbies they enjoy are less likely to suffer from stress, bad moods, and depression. Whether you choose to go for a walk, paint, ride a bike, watch comedy, cook, journal, listen to music, read, or play a team sport, doing something you enjoy daily can help enhance your emotional well-being.
3. Get Plenty Of Sunlight
Spending time in the sun causes the brain to release endorphins, hormones that boost pleasure and reduce pain. But endorphins don’t just make you happy. They can also reduce emotional stress and promote an overall sense of well-being.
Sunlight is also a great source of vitamin D. In addition to releasing brain chemicals that can improve your mood, vitamin D can help prevent depression. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), schizophrenia, and anxiety. So take some time out of your routine and spend some time in the sun. Most experts believe 30 minutes to 2 hours a day of sunlight can drastically improve your mental health and overall well-being.
4. Connect With Others
Human beings are social creatures. Having a healthy social support system can help you stay grounded and centered when life is chaotic, stressful, and uncertain. Getting involved in your neighborhood, city, or state can help boost your sense of purpose and belonging. Good relationships can:
- Help improve your sense of self-worth
- Give you an opportunity to share and experience positive encounters
- Provide emotional support and allow you to support others
You can connect with others by:
- Eating dinner with friends and family
- Arranging a day out with friends you haven’t seen in a while
- Playing a game with your children, friends, or family
- Having lunch with a colleague
- Using video-chat apps
5. Schedule “Relaxation Time” Into Your Day
Stress and negative emotions are two of the main barriers to good mental health. Fortunately, scheduling relaxation time into your daily schedule can help you protect your mental health. So take some time out of each day to relax. You don’t need to set aside a lot of time to do this, but you do need to be intentional.
There are several different methods to relax the mind, but some of the most effective include:
- Deep breathing
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Playing with a stress ball
- Consuming an alcohol-free warm beverage (such as green tea)
- Listening to soothing music
- Playing with a pet
- Spending time outdoors
- Getting a massage
However you choose to relax is up to you. Just be sure to make relaxation time a part of your daily routine.
6. Take Care Of Your Body
Taking care of your physical health can help protect the mind from undue stress and anxiety. The good news is you don’t need to become a fitness fanatic to take care of your body. All you need to do is:
- Be physically active. Start small. Go on walks. Challenge your friends and family to a race around the neighborhood. Swim. Ride a bike. All of these forms of exercise can help improve your mental and physical health.
- Get adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep allows the brain to accurately process emotional information which can help stabilize and improve your mental health. If you struggle with insomnia, try incorporating these habits into your nightly routine.
- Eat a balanced diet. Some foods, like vegetables, lean protein, seafood, fresh herbs, peppers, olive oil, berries, and heart-healthy carbohydrates can benefit the brain and body by reducing symptoms of depression. Foods high in vitamin B12 can also help ward off depression and low moods.
Helping You Improve Your Mental Health One Day At A Time
Stress, distressing emotions, and unexpected challenges can easily affect your mental health, but there’s hope. Small daily lifestyle changes can help enhance your mental health. Our treatment program can also help improve your emotional and psychological well-being. Our compassionate experts can help you improve your mental health one day at a time. Contact us today to learn more.
Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies
Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.