Make Good Mental Health a Priority
If you want to live a happy, healthy and productive life, you need to take good care of your mental wellbeing. Mental health is all about the way you feel, how you think and how well you are able to cope with life’s ups and downs. If your mental health is poor, you might struggle to work, socialize, complete projects and hobbies and you could even suffer physically as a result. So, it really is in your best interests to make good mental health a priority, even if you feel good right now, and here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health, however you might feel, each day:
When you’re feeling down and depressed, lacing up your running shoes and heading off for a 5k run might not be the first thing on your mind. It might even feel like the most difficult thing in the world, but it will help. You see, exercise helps the body to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, so the more active we are, the better able we are to boost our mood. Obviously, running isn’t going to magical cure your depression, but it can help to beat the blues and, if you’re currently mentally well, it can help you to stay that way.
Eating a healthy diet can also help to build a healthy mind. Foods like sugar and caffeine can exacerbate mental health problems, trigger moods swings and generally make you feel physically unwell, slow and sluggish. By eating a healthy balanced diet, which is rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables, and healthy brain-boosting fats is one of the simplest things you can do to keep yourself on an even-keel mentally speaking. You can have the odd treat, but don’t be tempted to binge in an attempt to eat away your feelings – that usually makes things worse in the long-term.
It can be hard to find the motivation to get dressed and go out with friends when you’re depressed or suffering from a condition like social anxiety, but if you can just find the strength to spend some time with people, even if it’s just going for a walk with friends or getting a cup of coffee at your favourite café, you will feel all the better for it. When you isolate yourself, you tend to ruminate on your problems much more, which takes you into a negative thought cycle that will make you feel even worse, so see your friends, even if it’s only once a week.
When your mood is low, you can spend so much time worrying about the bad stuff that you don’t take the time to appreciate what you have. If you’re depressed, you might stop doing the things you loved completely because you simply can’t enjoy them anymore. When this happens, it is more important than ever to find time for enjoyment every day. Even if you have to fake it for a while, watch your favourite films, paint, draw, play video games – do whatever makes you happy (or once did). Even if you can’t get any enjoyment, it’s better than doing nothing all day every day, and eventually, you’ll probably find a glimmer of enjoyment in your favourite things once more.
Join a Group
Joining a group of like-minded people is a great way of staying busy and finding a sense of belonging when you’re not in the best mental health. Being in a hobby circle, support group or evening class could also help to prevent you slipping into a depression by giving you contact with the outside world, an outlet for your emotions/creativity and a regularly scheduled activity to maintain some normalcy in your life.
Seek Professional Help
Did you know that some nurse jobs specialize in mental health? Most doctors surgeries now have specialist mental health nurses or counsellors available to help patients who are going through a rough time. If you’re feeling depressed, anxious or otherwise mentally unwell, seeing your GP and requesting a referral to a mental health professional will enable you to talk to someone in the know about your thoughts and feelings and get some professional help to improve your mental wellbeing.
Talk About It
Bottling up your emotions is almost never a good idea. If you keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself, you won’t be able to benefit from the knowledge and advice of other people who have been there before; people who care about you; people who are trained to help. Talk, talk and talk some more, and you’ll soon find yourself feeling much more able to cope as a result.
Give Yourself a Challenge
Sometimes, we feel mentally unwell because we are bored – our lives are stagnant, and it is bringing us down – when this is the source of your troubles, and you want to regain mental equilibrium, all you have to do is set yourself a challenge. It could be something as simple as finally learning how to paint with oils, or something bigger like starting your own business of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – start where you are, make the challenge difficult enough that it actually does challenge you, but not so difficult that it’s impossible, and go for it. The effort you put in will build up mental fitness and take your mind of negative thoughts. Just don’t beat yourself up when you face hurdles – it’s all part of the process, and no one is perfect at anything when they start.
Poor mental health is often a direct result of excessive stress. Although some stress is good, when it is pushing us on to achieve things and better ourselves, a lot of stress can be negative. It can upset us, plunge us into a serious depression and make our bodies feel tired and sick. This kind of depression needs to be dealt with very quickly. Simple things like meditation, progressive relaxation, visualisation, and yoga can all help to reduce stress, as can reducing your obligation and taking more time for yourself. Try as many things as you can to reduce stress and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if things get too much for you.
Everyone is different, and we are all beautiful in our own ways. It is much better for your mental health to accept this than it is to constantly wish you were someone else, tell yourself you’re not good enough and give up on living life before you even try. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive to better yourself and try to achieve the things you want – it just means accepting where you are now, improving your self-esteem and trying not to compare yourself to people who are seemingly more successful than you are.
Sleep is important for restoring and refreshing your mind and body. If you don’t get enough sleep, you simply will not be able to function well, and you may not feel completely mentally healthy. Ideally, you should spend 7-8 hours per night sleeping for optimum mental health. However, if you find yourself feeling fatigued throughout the day, don’t be afraid to take a nap, do a few minute’s meditation or retreat into your own little daydream for a while.
Meditation is really big might now, so you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a fad, but you’d be wrong. There is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that regular meditation can change your brain, and change it for the better. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or anxious, spending just 20 minutes a day meditating could help you to feel happier and better able to take on the world.
What are your tips for living a mentally healthy life?