According to the World Health Organization, one in four people worldwide will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Mental health is about more than your psychological well-being, affecting your ability to manage your feelings, recover from life’s setbacks and hardships and build relationships.
Despite many people seeking professional treatment from therapists, often making small changes in your life can significantly boost your mood and help you feel more positive. In this blog post, we share our top tips to help you to take control of your mental health and improve not only the quality of your relationships, but also how you value yourself.
Set Aside Time For Exercise
One of the best ways to boost your mental health is by working out. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that help to relieve stress, improve memory and even help you to sleep better. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day is easy if you change bad habits, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
A 2012 study in the Journal Neurology found that exercise is actually more effective than doing mental exercises to prevent aging in the brain. Of the 638 people tested, those who exercised showed less brain shrinkage and stronger brain connections than those who did no exercise.
Exercising outdoors is even better for your health, since it helps your body to produce Vitamin D, which increases serotonin levels in the brain. If you don’t have any parks nearby or prefer to exercise indoors, joining an exercise group or a gym is said to reduce feelings of loneliness, thereby improving your overall mood.
Talk To Others About Mental Health
When your mental health is suffering, you may feel like you’re totally alone, but talking about your feelings takes some of the burden away. Your friends and family are there to help you in times of trouble, so instead of shutting them out, keep your personal relationships intact and create a support system for yourself.
Celebrities and others in the limelight are using their voices to step forward and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same. Reaching out to people when you’re feeling depressed or anxious forces you to be vulnerable and requires courage, but it is one of the most effective ways of understanding ourselves and our feelings.
Keep Stress To A Minimum
We all experience headaches from taking on too much from time to time, and although it comes and goes in waves, stress takes its toll on our mental health. Of course not all stress can be avoided, but you can take small steps to prevent yourself from feeling overstressed by being more on top of your workload and keeping organized.
Sticking to one task at a time also prevents you from feeling overwhelmed, whether that means taking on fewer projects at work or simply turning your phone off when you’re out with friends to avoid distractions. When we feel stressed it’s easy for us to vent to our loved ones, but often this makes the situation worse, affecting your relationships and bringing down the overall mood.
If you are feeling stressed or anxious, try blocking out a 30 minute time slot in your calendar each day to worry. Although that may seem like a strange tactic, reminding yourself that ‘it’s not time to worry about that yet’ will limit the time you have to feel stressed or anxious, allowing you to put all anxious thoughts to bed when worry time is up.
Meditation is a practice becoming increasingly popular as a way to cope with feelings of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. It offers a host of health benefits, including improved concentration, reduced stress and increased happiness.
A 2008 study found that people who trained in Zen meditation could more easily clear their minds after distraction. Since those people experiencing mental health problems are often distracted from their thoughts, practicing meditation can be extremely beneficial.
Find a quiet spot and practice meditation each day, setting aside five to ten minutes, preferably as soon as you wake up to start your day in the most positive way possible.
Do More of What Makes You Happy
Whether you love biking in the sunshine or curling up inside with a good book, doing more of what makes you happy is one of the best and easiest ways to boost your mental health. When you’re working full-time, it can be tough to break away from what seem like your most important commitments, but finding time for your hobbies gives you reason to stop stressing.
If you struggle with mental health issues, feel free to share your tips for boosting happiness and well being with us in the comments section below.