Our mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Life can be overwhelming, busy, loud, and active all at the same time, which can be an overload on your brain. When we’re being pulled in so many different directions, and various responsibilities require our attention, we start to focus on those tasks over our mental and physical well being.
Some signs that out mental health is suffering is when we’re feeling helpless or numb, having low energy, eating or sleeping so little, or experiencing mood swings. Most people think that they can only improve their mental health by talking to a professional counselor and that maybe, but there are other, smaller changes that you can make to your life to improve you’re well being.
Being mindful is all about being present in the moment. You can let go of all your negative thinking and emotions and focus on the current moment that you are in. One way that you can practice being mindful is by noticing your senses: touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. Right now, as you are reading this post, look up, and name 1 thing that you can see, smell, touch, hear, and taste.
Bring awareness to routine activities, such as taking a shower, eating lunch, or walking home. Paying attention to the physical sensations, sounds, smells, or tastes of these experiences helps you focus. When your mind wanders, just bring it back to what you are doing.
Writing everything that I am grateful for each day is something that I started doing during the COVID lockdown to improve my mental health. No one’s life is perfect, but everyone’s life has something to appreciate. Whether it is simply your morning coffee or a house to live in, a sale in your favorite store, or a new car, there is always something to be grateful for. Jotting down just three things every day can make you much more appreciative of what you have and happier over-all.
I know that the last thing you feel like doing when you’re having a bad day is exercise, but it can do wonders for your health. Just like Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy”. Your body does releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins before and after you work out, which is why exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression.
You don’t have to go on a 3-mile long run every day, simple exercises like walking around your neighborhood will do the trick. Start small by going for a 30 walk outside if the weather permits. If you don’t feel up to walking, that’s fine, try to sit outside under the sunlight. Vitamin D from the sun will also increase your body’s serotonin levels and reduce stress.
Practice Positive Thinking
This may sound like a cliche, but thinking in a positive way can do wonders for your mental health and your life in general. Nothing will destroy your mental health quite like negative thoughts and overthinking. When we perceive our self and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion.
Practice looking at life with the glass half full rather than half empty. Use words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. Using positive affirmations like ” I am doing my best”, “Today is going to be a great day”, and “I believe in myself” will change your life for the better.
Take A Break
Life can become overwhelming at times, where it all seems like too much. When this happens, step away and focus on something else until you feel better. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to take a moment for yourself and just breathe. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Another easy way to break away for a moment is to change up your scenery by stepping outside or simply going to another room in your home or office.
Talk To Someone!
Lastly, talking to someone can really help to improve your mental health. You get the chance to vent and have support from your friends, family, or professional counselor. It’s important to know that you are not alone in this battle and that people are here to help you. Whatever you’re going through – whether it be triggered by unfortunate life events or a clinical mental health issue that you’ve struggled with for a long time – talking about it with others can really help to lift a few of those heavy burdens off your shoulders.
Improving your mental health may sound like a big and daunting task, but it’s not. You can start by picking just one of the habits above and seeing if it resonates with you. Then once you have continued to do that habit for a while, add in another one. By slowly putting in place routines, habits, and regular patterns, you will feel better through gradual change. Breathe. Be present. Move. Be grateful. Remember to listen to your body, give time to your mind, and appreciate yourself.