The National Institute of Mental Health states that 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental illness. Most of us will experience at least some mild degree of psychological stress throughout our lives, whether it’s anxiety or grief. Then there are those small everyday stresses, which can build up over time if left unchecked. No matter who you are, it’s vital to have methods to protect and improve your mental wellbeing. Consider these ten ideas to help you on your journey to a healthier mind.
1 . Exercise creativity
According to Forbes magazine, several studies have indicated that creativity can help to improve mental health. Now you might not consider yourself a creative person, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to try a new creative hobby. Remember, the process is far more important than the outcome. Whether it’s writing a poem to reflect on a tough experience, painting a vase to decorate your home, or cooking a new exotic dish, when we create, we feel more positive and satisfied.
2. Life coaching or counselling
Talking about our emotions and goals is an integral part of mental wellbeing. Holding onto negative feelings can lead to a build-up of tension. Failing to plan future goals can result in confusion and lethargy. A support network of family and friends is great, yet sometimes we may prefer to talk about our issues with an impartial listener. Many people look to the services of counsellors or life coaches for guidance and support. Talking therapy is a superbly effective and natural way to give your mental wellbeing a boost.
3. Prioritize the physical
Our mental and physical health are intrinsically connected, which is why it is essential to pay close attention to both. On a basic level, eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is the perfect starting point. A great exercise regime allows us to feel more positive, energetic and calm. Besides this, keep on top of your regular check-ups. Dental checks and eye tests especially are those appointments that many of us tend to skip accidentally. Companies like crystal vision lenses have some excellent eyeglasses if you’re looking for a new pair soon.
4. Retrain your brain
Many mental health issues, whether anxiety or depression, occur due to negative thought patterns. Once you start to experience negative thoughts, it can be challenging to break the cycle. Fortunately, self-critical and negative thought cycles can be broken with a little effort. Mindfulness is a useful practice to deal with unwanted thoughts, whether these are anxious thoughts or feelings of self-doubt. Observe the thought as it comes into your mind, accept it without judgement and then commit to letting it go. Replace the thought with a positive one, and continue to do so throughout your day. When you focus your efforts on giving less time to negative thoughts, you’ll train your brain not to fall victim to these cycles.
5. There’s an app for that
Want to boost your mental health, but aren’t sure where to begin? Fortunately, there’s an app (or two) for that. ‘The Fabulous’ is a great self-care app, which coaches users through a variety of mental health journeys. Whether you want to eat healthier, feel energized, improve your sleep or set future goals, The Fabulous can help you to get organized and feel great. Headspace is a popular app for those looking to learn about meditation and relaxation. Here you can access several guided practices to ease your stress levels and improve your mindfulness.
6. The art of meditation
Meditation is an amazing way to improve your mental wellbeing, connect with your body and access deeper levels of relaxation. Short meditative practices usually accompany yoga classes, so yoga is a great way to get started. Purchasing some meditation books is also a good starting point; there are many different styles of meditation to read about from focused meditation to mantra meditation. The breathing exercises you’ll learn throughout the process are useful to manage everyday stresses and anxiety.
7. Surround your with positive people
Mental wellbeing relies much on our day to day experiences, when we experience stressful situations regularly, our wellbeing begins to suffer. Now, of course, some stresses are out of our hands, yet we can certainly control the people who we choose to spend our time with. Whether it’s a toxic relationship or a friend who leaves you feeling negative, distance yourself from those relationships that drain your positivity.
8. Feng Shui your home
‘Feng’ refers to wind, and ‘Shui’ means water; in Chinese culture, these elements are associated with health and good fortune. The philosophy behind Feng Shui is concerned with how humans interact with their environments, and how the natural and manmade world should live in harmony. The idea is that you should design your living space to be harmonious with various natural principles. According to Feng Shui, doing so will help you to attract good fortune and improve your mental health. Try checking out a few Feng Shui themed books to get started.
9. Reconnect with nature
In a tech-focused society, we have somewhat lost our connection with the natural world. To improve your mental health, it’s advisable to reconnect in whatever way you can. Try detoxing from your phone and your Netflix account every once in a while, to give yourself a break. Seek to spend more time outside, whether it’s hiking in woodland areas or strolls along the beach. The natural world helps to raise endorphin levels and allows us to de-stress and improve our overall health.
10. Laugh more often
Last up, the simple practice of laughter gets us through even the toughest of times. Whether it’s fun times with friends, your favorite comedy series or playing games with your kids, commit yourself to laughing more often.
It can be handy to keep a journal, to write down your progress with these mental health boosting practices. Some strategies may work for you better than others, so experimentation is key.