Your mental health is incredibly important. It impacts you emotionally, physically, socially, and changes how we act, feel and think. Not only that, but it also contributes to our life choices, how we handle challenges and how we relate to other people.
Suffice to say, if your mental health isn’t wonderful, it negatively impacts nearly every aspect of your life.
Are you feeling like your mental health could use a boost?
Here are seven quick ways to improve your mental health.
Get sleep. This is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mental health. Most people don’t get the seven to nine hours of sleep needed. In fact, most get less than five. Often, stress is a major contributing factor to not getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to have higher levels of anxiety and depression. I feel like a lot of people look at sleep as a destination to get to, whereas it’s actually not a task. Sleep is about letting go of the day and resetting the mind and body. To sleep better, limit the amount of fluids you drink before bed and skip eating a big meal. Instead, take a hot shower and raise your body temperature and then get into bed in a cool room. Or, take a hot yoga class before bed and then cool down. Both of these activities mimic our caveman days and reset your circadian rhythm.
Meditate. Take a minute to pause and clear your mind and make space for creative thinking. Don’t worry — if you’ve never meditated before, it’s a simple concept. Meditating means to pause and empty your mind and allow it to be blank. To meditate, take a deep breath, exhale and let go of any thoughts you have floating around in your mind. Then, take a deep breath in and keep repeating this until you feel calm.
Change your diet. What you put into your body is a direct reflection of your mental well being. If you’re eating lots of sugar or super heavy/fatty foods, it negatively impacts your serotonin. You should also limit your carb intake. While carbs can increase your serotonin in normal doses, many people end up consuming massive amounts of carbs, resulting in a sugar rush. If you want to consume a high protein meal, do it earlier in the day because at night it can cause you to be more alert. The ideal diet for your mental well being is one with foods rich in omega-3, and packed with fruits, veggies and fiber (think the outside aisles of a grocery store where the fresh food is sold). It’s good to remember than anything that’s processed or in a box probably isn’t ideal for your well being.
Take stock of the company you keep online and IRL. Who are the people you spend your time with? Are they people you can trust and feel comfortable around? Those are the people to spend your time with. People who drain you or put you into a negative space can cause an increase in anxiety and lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness if it’s chronic exposure.
Exercise your gratitude. An important part of your mental health is gratitude and happiness. You can keep yourself in a good place if you practice gratitude. Grab a journal and every morning (or night), take a few moments and write a list of things you’re grateful for. Keeping this in mind can help you get through tougher moments in the day and handle things with grace. If you’re grateful for something in your life, the likelihood of being bothered by something else is a lot less. Try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and get into the practice of being positive to improve your mental health.
Breathe. Deep. Healthy breathing oxygenates your blood and also pulls you out from going 1,000 miles a minute. I like to tie my breath work into when I’m in the car at a red light. While I wait for the light to turn green, I take deep 10-second breaths to cleanse my mind.
Exercise. Not only does exercise release endorphins, but it gets your heart into a more efficient mode to pump and gets your neurotransmitters moving. Plus, if you’re on the road to improving physical fitness, it increases your confidence. Pair exercise with some great, motivating music to help boost your mood. Even walking 30 minutes a day can help get your blood flowing, reduce anxiety and up your serotonin.
Aside from these seven things you can do to improve your mental health, if you feel in a rut, seek someone to talk to. Having a life coach or therapist can be very beneficial. We go through different phases in our lives and having someone to talk to and discuss it with can go a long way in how we cope.
You have a choice every day regarding how you want to live your life. Choose practices that can improve it like these and get on the path to better mental health.