When there is talk about mental health, some people’s first thought goes to a disorder like anxiety or depression. However, mental health is much more than that. Mental health includes your overall emotional welfare, such as the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.
Although taking care of your mental health can mean seeking professional care and treatment, it might also mean taking steps to address your emotional health. Making these changes will pay off in all aspects of your life, including improving your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life. We recommend taking these non-medicated steps to help improve your mental health every day.
What you consume nurtures your whole body, including your brain. Carbohydrates (in moderate amounts) increase serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect on your mood. Protein-rich foods help keep you alert. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that feed every cell of your body, including those that affect mood-regulating brain chemicals. Include foods with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids because research shows diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve mood and help maintain brain function.
Get Your Body Moving
Your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins before and after you work out, which is why exercise is a powerful remedy for stress. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short 10 minute walk.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep helps reset both your mind and body. Your immune system repairs itself, and your brain rests and relax while you sleep. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, your system doesn’t function as well as it should. A large body of research has shown that sleep deficiency also has a substantial effect on mood. Try to go to bed at a regular time each day, and practice good habits to get better sleep.
Let’s Talk Optimism
Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a commanding effect on how you feel. When we look at our self and our life in a negative manner, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that affirms those thoughts. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
What Are You Grateful For?
Practicing gratitude is undoubtedly connected to holistic health and happiness. The best-researched method to increase feelings of gratitude is to write a daily list of things you are thankful for. Usually, thinking about the things, people, and moments in your life that you appreciate has been a proven and effective method. Find something to be grateful for and bask in that feeling.
Open Up To Someone
Knowing you are appreciated by others is vital to helping you think more positively and overcoming some of the negative aspects of life. There is also evidence that being more trusting can boost your emotional well-being because as you get better at finding the positive aspects in other people, you become better at identifying your own. While it can be hard to open up to someone, being able to vocalize your thoughts and feelings can drastically improve your mental health.
It’s Ok To Take A Step Back
In those moments when it all just seems like too much, step away for a few moments. Take a step back and do simple breathing exercises. According to WebMD, start by closing your eyes and taking ten deep breaths. For each one count to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then exhale for another four. This works wonders almost immediately.