Good mental health starts with awareness and prevention. A small change in your lifestyle can have a significant impact. I have found these tips to help improve my mental health. You might benefit from these, too.
Ten tips for better mental health
- Get off your ass
- Eat healthier
- Find a hobby
- Breathe / Meditate
- Make mental health as important as physical health
- Talk to someone
Physical exercise can be beneficial to your mental health. You don’t have to be a gym-rat. Find an exercise, team sport, or solo sport that you enjoy, and do it. Make time to stretch throughout the day and exercise several times a week. Take a hike, buddy! Or go for a walk. When you feel better physically, it carries over into your mental health. Bonus – get outside, breathe some fresh air, and feel the sunshine on your skin. Spending time outdoors can help ward off the blues.
Get off your ass
The human body isn’t meant to sit for long periods. If you sit at a desk all day, get out of your chair for a few minutes every hour. A quick lap around the office or up and down a flight of stairs should be mandatory. It gets the blood circulating and helps regain your focus. A sedentary lifestyle affects your physical health. It can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Get up and get moving. Besides, it’s cruel and unusual punishment to sit for long periods and stare at a computer screen in a tiny cubicle.
Garbage in, garbage out. Diet plays a significant role in your health. Overly processed foods, excess salt and sugar, mountains of empty carbs, junk food – it starts to wear you down. Your body needs the right fuel to make it through the day. If you don’t have much energy, take a look at what you’re eating and drinking. Healthier choices can make you feel better, have more energy, and improve your outlook. Cut back on alcohol; try unwinding with herbal tea instead. Drink more water, too.
Find a hobby
Everyone needs a hobby or two. Hobbies can be a way to learn something new, pursue a passion, or find fulfillment and balance in your life. Hobbies should do more than take up time and space. They should also be rewarding and enriching. A new hobby can help you break out of a funk. Need some ideas for a new hobby? Check out 75+ Hobby Ideas For Men. Don’t let the title fool you. There are plenty of hobbies on this list that women would enjoy, too.
Within each of us lies a natural curiosity. The spark of learning something new can stimulate your mind. Try to learn something new every day. It can help keep your mind sharp and youthful. Exercise your brain with puzzles or games. Read a book or watch a documentary. Ask someone how to do something or a question about themselves. Explore your neighborhood or city. There’s a whole world out there. Learn something about it.
How many people do you know? Here’s a harder question – how many relationships do you have? Forge meaningful relationships with those close to you. Make a connection. Reconnect with an old friend. Introduce yourself to a stranger. Spend quality time with your friends and family. Greet someone with a smile and mean it. People need interaction and physical touch – it benefits the sender and receiver. Don’t rely on texting and technology to get the job done.
Today’s technology can be a powerful tool. It also can suffocate us. It’s everywhere, 24/7. Consider having a day each week or month where you disconnect from technology. Could you go a day without cell phones, Netflix, video games, internet, or social media? Try it for a day, and find something else to do. You may agree that it feels terrific to disconnect from technology’s tight grasp.
Breathe / Meditate
Here’s a simple breathing exercise:
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold it in your lungs for four seconds.
- Exhale out of your mouth for four seconds.
- Repeat four times.
Try it. It can help you relax and clear your mind. Take time to be mindful of your breathing. There are benefits to breathing. It keeps us alive, for one, but breathing exercises can be a powerful mood-booster. Consider yoga or meditation. Yoga can help align the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of your triangle.
Make mental health as important as physical health
When you feel a cold or flu coming on, you take precautions. You usually go to the clinic or doctor if it gets worse, and take medication to feel better. Treat mental health as you would physical health. Many people focus more on their physical health and let their mental health take a backseat. Put them both in the front seat and treat them with equal importance. Prevention goes a long way, especially with mental health.
Talk to someone
Sometimes the most challenging action has the greatest reward. If you need to talk to someone, reach out. If you need help, ask for it. If you need professional help, seek it. There’s a support system available for you, and willing to help. Don’t suffer alone. We’re all in this together. Talk to someone – anyone. Be proactive, and look out for others, too. Check-in with friends and family to see how they’re doing. It may help start a much-needed dialogue.
An article by Jason S. Sullivan, 10-15-19