Mental health is something everyone has. Whether you are struggling with a mental health illness or currently feeling okay, working towards good mental health is something that everyone should strive to do. Mental health is about the way you think, feel and behave. It is something that should be thought about as much as your physical health, as it impacts the way you interact in your daily life, how you deal with problems, and how fulfilling your life feels.
The way you feel, and the state of your mental health, can change over time. This can often be because of a specific event or come around for no reason at all. It cannot always be explained, but when you are feeling this way, it is best to seek help and support. You don’t always have to stay in a space where you are struggling, and there are a plethora of different ways you can improve your situation. Although it can feel quite lonely, mental health problems are quite common. It is highly likely that someone you know is also suffering, and is nothing to be ashamed of.
An important part of keeping good mental health is being able to take steps every day to help yourself, and acknowledge when you are struggling and need extra support. Here are some of the things you can do to support your mental health and improve your life.
Most people tend to think about nutrition in terms of getting fit or losing weight. While it can be impactful in this scenario, it is also important to learn that the way you eat can also impact your mental wellbeing. Consuming certain items, such as high sugar and highly processed food, or alcohol and caffeine can make you more anxious and jittery, and not consuming enough nutrients and vitamins can leave you with a deficiency that can bring about low moods. Not eating enough can leave you feeling anxious, fatigued, stressed and give you headaches. Making sure you eat a balanced diet filled with whole foods, can make a positive impact on your mental health.
Sleep is an important process for your mental and physical health, as it is a time that your brain and body use to recover, regulate chemicals and transmit information that manages your emotions and mood. If you do not get enough sleep, it can start to impact how you manage yourself, your emotions, and lead you to feel more anxious and depressed. It can also impact your attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. Not only is the amount of sleep important, but also the quality of sleep too. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Exercise is a great way to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, and increase your mood, energy levels and provide you with a space to release stress and hard emotions. Many studies have shown the positive effects of exercise, including increasing feel-good chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin. It is important to find an exercise that you can enjoy, so it may take some experimenting at first. It could be brisk walking along the beach, joining a gym and lifting weights, joining online dance classes, swimming, and much more.
Seeking support is vital for everyone to maintain good mental health. As humans, we are social creatures, which means that social connection is vital for functioning. You must surround yourself with people that you care about, can lean on when you are having a hard day, and spend time having some fun.
It is also important that you seek further support if you are struggling consistently with your mental health, especially if you find yourself having lower moods than normal, or leaning to substances like drugs or alcohol to support you through the day. In this case, it is important to do your research and find the best kind of support to help you through what you are going through, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or IOP addiction recovery services. Everyone is unique, so the kind of support you require will depend on what you feel you need.
Most importantly, make sure you incorporate activities that you enjoy in your life regularly that get you out and about, being sociable, and build your self-esteem. If you struggle with things to find, it is a good idea to go and experiment with new things.
There are many different things you can be doing to help improve your mental health and live a more fulfilling life.