From physical fitness, to our emotional behavior and even our environment, it all affect our mental health. Managing our emotional wellbeing is an important aspect of improving our overall mental health. Here are some practical ways to take small steps towards better mental health.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and have a heathy diet. According to an article by Frontiers in Psychiatry, the effect of exercise in treating or preventing anxiety and depression has been demonstrated in numerous studies, and widely accepted as an accessible measure for individuals with mental health disorders. A short outdoor games session or a quick walk will significantly boost your mood and lead to better health. It is also a great way to meet and connect with new people.
Learn a new skill like baking, painting, playing an instrument or even gardening. Try anything new that interests you and see how it boosts your self-esteem. If nothing, you’ll surely enjoy the process of learning a different skill and see how you behave when you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone.
Ever tried volunteer work? If yes, then you’d know how rewarding it is to give back to society. It gives you a feeling of purpose and self- worth. It could be as simple as helping someone out or volunteering in the local community. According to WebMD, Volunteers experience a greater satisfaction with life and increased self-confidence. A term known as the ‘helper’s high’ is used to describe the feeling volunteers have after making a difference in people’s lives”. They feel calmer and more relaxed which is a coping mechanism used to handle stress and overcome challenges.
Being mindful. This term simply means to be aware of your mind, body, and surroundings. It helps you understand yourself better and can give you a new perspective towards life. A simple way to practice mindfulness is through daily yoga and meditation.
“Meditation is to be aware of what is going on: in your body, in your feelings, in your mind, and in the world” ~Thich Nhat Hanh.
Paying attention and being in the moment is essential to keep the mind and body healthy.
Be sociable. We humans are social beings. We need people. So, an effective way to connect with others is to talk to people when you get an opportunity. Make efforts to maintain and value relationships. A study published by Sage journals showed that social connectedness was found to be stronger and more consistent predictor of mental health. It showed how good health is directly linked to social connectedness and people with limited social interactions have poorer mental health.
Some ways to interact with others is to go for dinner with your family or call up your friends from high school.
Laugh more often. A chemical dopamine is released through the brain whenever we laugh or smile. It produces endorphins and makes us feel happy. Watching a stand-up comedy show or cracking lame jokes with friends. It’s up to you to decide how you want your brain to release the feel-good hormones!
Get help from a licensed mental health professional when you need it. Understand when you must seek medical help from an expert. Have someone you can trust to guide you through the process and trust that it will get better.
There are various methods to improve mental health. Whether it’s the standard suggestions like exercising and meditating or an unconventional solution like watching comedy shows to have a laughter session. As long as you keep trying and experimenting with yourself, you’ll be on track to improve your mental well-being.
“Take small steps every day and one day you will get there” ~ Anonymous.