Good Mental Health is Key to your overall Well being
According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
This isn’t to say that every day is perfect, but when we are mentally healthy, we are able to overcome the stresses of day to day life and problem solve consciously.
This is important because your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Your mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence… All the way through adulthood.
Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, handle your emotions better, or simply to feel more positive and energetic, there are plenty of things you can do to take control of your mental health—starting today.
1. Connect Face to Face with Supportive People
Having a source of support can help to lift us up!
We all know those times where we can use a loving push or a set of ears that will listen without judgement. Think of the positive minded people in your life and connect with them more.
If you can’t think of a positive person, that may be part of the issue with your mental health. We tend to pick up on the energy of those around us so if you are often with people who complain or nag, their behavior could very well be rubbing off on you and affecting your mental health.
1. Find Fun Ways to Stay Active
We speak a lot about the benefits of physical activity because there’s simply no denying them! When we keep our bodies in motion, we also keep our internal energy from being stagnant. Try a walk outside or light stretching in your room. Staying active is as good for the brain as it is for the body.
3. Explore Various Techniques for Managing Stress
There are many forms of anti-stress activities available today. Experiment until you find one or several that work for you. We are each unique so what may work for one person, may not be what does it for you and that’s okay. Keep exploring your options and you are bound to find the sense of peace that you deserve.
Here are some examples: meditation, walking, yoga, calming music, nature sounds, swimming, boxing, running, etc.
4. Mental Hygiene
Just as we must cleanse our bodies, we must also cleanse our minds. Sometimes we allow the words and actions of others to affect us for days on end which is a harmful use of energy. Often the actions and statements of others are more of a reflection of themselves than they are of you anyways. With this in mind, take a few moments to close your eyes, take deep breaths, relax, and let go of anything that does not benefit your emotional well-being.
5. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Count your blessings and focus on them. Try keeping a gratitude journal and write down at least 3 positive things for each day. This can help to increase well-being as it reminds you of the things that you do have to be grateful for rather than the frequent worry of what we may not.
6. Choose a Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats are brain food that can help to support mental health. It’s interesting that one of the foods that is best for our brain health, looks similar to our brain itself. Dose up on chia seeds and walnuts!
7. Get Enough Quality Sleep
Give yourself time to rest. Sleep is not only a time for our bodies to rest, but also our minds. If we don’t get enough sleep we can easily begin to feel overwhelmed, irritable, and stressed beyond our limits. At least 7 – 9 hours a night of quality rest will do your body and mind good.
8. Give Life Meaning and Purpose
Invest in activities that will enrich your emotional well-being.
Engaging work that gives meaning to yourself and others. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it—things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
Relationships. Spending quality time where you give yourself to people who matter to you, whether they’re friends, grand kids, or elderly relatives, can support your health and theirs—and provide a sense of purpose.
Caring for a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There’s no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.
Volunteering. Just as we’re hard-wired to be social, we’re also hard-wired to give to others. The meaning and purpose derived from helping others or the community can enrich and expand your life—and make you happier. There’s no limit to the individual and group volunteer opportunities you can explore. Schools, churches, nonprofits, and charitable organizations of all sorts depend on volunteers for their survival.
Care giving. Taking care of an aging parent, a handicapped spouse, or a child with a physical or mental illness is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty—and can be as rewarding and meaningful as it is challenging.
If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental health and still aren’t functioning optimally at home, work, and in your relationships, it may be time to seek professional help. Following these self-help steps will still be beneficial, though. Input from a caring professional can help us see things from a non-bias perspective and help us to shift our stories into realities of deep happiness. They can also help to motivate us to do more for ourselves than we’re able to do alone.
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