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How to Truly Improve Your Mental Health

Updated: May 18, 2022

Easy tips to improve your mental health for better well-being

 

Why is Mental Health Important?


Our mental health affects our mood, our relationships, our work performance, and even our physical health. It also defines how we operate psychologically, emotionally, and socially. Or mental health is, therefore, an important part of our overall well-being.


Just like our bodies need exercise and routine check-ups to stay fit, our minds also need to be cleansed and exercised to stay active, relaxed, and healthy.


Let’s start by discussing ways you can avoid mental distress, deal with difficult situations and improve your mental health.


Ways to Improve Your Mental Health


To keep mental health in shape, try adopting the following practices:


Doing regular physical exercise:


Physical exercise can reduce stress and even treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. It reduces the body's levels of stress hormones and elevates levels of endorphins, which promote mood regulation and feelings of well-being.


Getting adequate rest and sleep daily:


Not getting enough sleep or quality sleep can cause mental distress. Studies show the mind and body need at least seven hours of continuous sleep every night. Good sleep results in an alert and active mind and a refreshed and relaxed mood.


You can improve your sleep patterns and quality by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and limiting distractions like using your phone before bed.


gilrs sleeping on a bed

Trying meditation:


Meditation helps to slow down racing thoughts and calm your mind. It helps you to forgo any stressful or anxious thoughts. By focusing on the present moment, you not only let go of all your worries for a while but also learn to be mindful. It gives your mind a break and allows it to return to your responsibilities with a refreshed outlook and a mindful perspective.


Learning coping skills:


Healthy coping skills can help manage stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions in difficult situations. Learning to react and respond, not be impulsive, forgive and not hold grudges are some traits that can go a long way in improving mental health.


These include getting emotional support from loved ones, finding humor in your everyday life, and being proactive in improving your situation.


Staying connected with loved ones:


Studies have shown that social interaction can reduce our stress levels, help treat depression, and even improve our physical health. Research suggests that staying connected with loved ones has health benefits in areas like cancer, weight management, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. When you feel supported and appreciated, your mood improves and your mind stays healthy.


Besides keeping in touch with loved ones, group therapy can also help if you are coping with PTSD, eating disorders, addiction, or other mental health disorders.


Maintaining a positive outlook on life:


Just like how you feel when you are loved and supported, your mind feels calm when you do not let negative thoughts and emotions overcome you. Optimism and positive thinking can change the way your mind thinks and the way you look at and deal with difficult situations in life. When you stay optimistic, you find the will to overcome any challenges. You do not let an obstacle affect your mood and spoil other aspects of your life.


Try maintaining a positive outlook and you will be able to reduce stress by keeping yourself calm, composed, and in control. Try practicing replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, and watch your worries reduce over time.


Help Others :


When you help others, you feel a sense of accomplishment and contentment. Practicing kindness is known to be linked with feelings of happiness. Similar to other social interactions, helpful behavior reduces stress and sadness.


Consider volunteering in your community or simply performing small acts of kindness in your everyday life and it will surely boost your mood and improve your well-being.


FAQS about Improving Your Mental Health


How does exercise improve mental health?


People who exercise regularly feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have longer attention spans, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. Exercise also increases stamina, reduces weight, reduces cholesterol, improves cardiovascular fitness, increased sex drive, gives better endurance, and reduces tiredness. It is known to improve mood, reduce stress, and help deal with anxiety and depression. Being active makes you attentive, energetic, and happy, you can overcome feelings of sadness and anxiety and better deal with stressful situations.


man jumping across hill area


How does food improve mental health?


A healthy, well-balanced diet can help you feel more alert, active and energetic. It can also improve concentration and attention span. Conversely, an inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, an irritable mood, impaired decision-making, and can slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate, and may even lead to stress and depression.


Processed foods and foods rich in flour and sugar can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain and can contribute to mood swings and disorders, including anxiety and depression. It is, therefore, important to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes in your diet. Your diet should include foods containing nutrients, fibers, vitamins, omega 3, and antioxidants.


When you stick to a healthy diet, you have fewer mood swings, increased concentration, reduced anxiety, and an overall happier outlook.


Besides what you eat, how much you eat can also affect your mental health. Eating too much can lead to sluggishness and weight gain while earring too little can cause exhaustion and stress. It is important to be mindful of your diet as it has a powerful impact on your mind and well-being.


How pet can improve your mental health?


Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, have lower blood pressure in stressful situations, and have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Research even suggests that heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without. A specific study indicates that pet owners over age 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Moreover, playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which induce happiness, calm, and relaxation. One of the reasons for this therapeutic effect is that pets fulfill the basic human need for touch.


Pets help to reduce stress and anxiety, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and improve heart and overall physical and mental health.


How does social media affect mental health?


Social media use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Research suggests that people who frequently use social media feel more depressed and less happy with life than people who spend more time on off-screen-related activities.


Social media can make you self-conscious and make you compare yourself and your life to unrealistic standards. This can make you lose your confidence, feel unworthy, or not good enough. It is also associated with the fear of missing out (FOMO), which results in feeling lonely, jealous, and other negative emotions. All this triggers more sadness and less well-being.


Moreover, studies have shown that social media can be addictive and people tend to feel a kind of withdrawal. This creates a dangerously vicious cycle that can continuously decline mental wellness. Social media use is also linked to feelings of social isolation. This can result in depression and sadness.


Remember, social media does have its advantages too, but too much of anything is not good. So the best way to protect your mental health against it is to limit your use of social media. Try to recognize early warning signs here and implement necessary measures to decrease your time on social media and improve your mental health.


Lastly…


Because different circumstances can affect your mental health, it’s important to understand the risk factors and signs that may indicate mental distress. Maintain your mental well-being by staying informed here.

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