7 Habits to Optimize Your Mental HealthOctober 15, 2020
Life can be hectic and overwhelming at times. Trying to find a balance between work, family, recreation, and working out can be stressful and even burn you out. Prolonged exposure to these stresses can lead to a decline in mental health, depression, and even exacerbate physical ailments. That is why it is important to practice habits and create a lifestyle that has positive effects on your mental well-being. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
- Being mindful helps to keep your thoughts on the here and now. Try to focus your thoughts onto the activity you are currently doing and appreciate what makes you enjoy that moment, even if it’s only for a couple minutes.
- Meditation is a way of being mindful without actually doing anything. Focus your mind on one thing like your breathing, if your mind wanders gently remind yourself to refocus on your original intention.
Exercise and Go Outside
Exercise is great for our mind as well as our body. It helps improve blood flow and releases chemicals in our brains that help us to feel better physically and mentally.
- Try to make a routine of exercising about 30-60 min per day for 3-5 days per week.
- Going outside is important too! You can use nature to help both exercise and being mindful of your surroundings.
- Try to find a path close to home you can use for a regular walking routine to help destress.
Nobody has perfect dietary habits - you don’t have to be perfect!
- Try drinking more water and substituting some healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts into meals or between meals to reduce cravings for foods that are high in sugar or saturated fat.
- We want to aim for a diet that gives our bodies all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function efficiently which can help reduce fatigue and boost mental health!
Laugh, Smile, and Sing
Smiling and laughing have been shown to release dopamine in our brains which helps us to feel good.
- Sometimes even just forcing yourself to smile or laugh for a few seconds can put you in a better mood.
- Singing has also been shown to lower levels of hormones indicative of stress, so belt out your favorite tune when nobody is around or sing with people nearby if you are really brave!
Know Yourself and Do What You Love
Take some time to think about your personality and the things that you like. Knowing about yourself and what you like/love gives you the power to find activities that truly make you happy.
- Whether it is reading a book or watching a movie alone or playing sports and hanging out with friends, doing what makes you happy will give you a mental boost and improve your mood.
- Try to set some time aside each day to do something you enjoy!
Talk to Somebody
Humans are social creatures, even introverts.
- We need to have at least a little interaction with people on a day to day basis to avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Talking in person is ideal, but even chatting via phone, text, or computer gives us some sort of human interaction to make us feel connected to the world.
If you find that tips like these are not enough help or you are looking for some extra guidance on your road to improving your mental health, seek out help from a professional therapist.
- There are many forms of therapy that can help break through barriers preventing you from improving your mental health.
- Traditional one on one therapy, group therapy, and now even some online options make getting help easier than ever!
Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health and requires active work to make positive changes just as your body needs exercise and a good diet to make positive physical changes. Try integrating at least a few of these tips into your day to create good habits and improve your mental health. The more consistent you are with these habits, the better you will feel.
If you need help getting started on an exercise program or have other physical injuries preventing you from doing what you love, come by one of our clinics or give us a call to schedule a free consultation!