8 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Mental Health
As modern medicine becomes more aware of the effect mental health has on our overall well-being, it becomes more and more evident how important it is to focus on self-care and ways to improve mental health.
Some employers recognize “mental health” days as valid reasons for time off; overall, people everywhere are beginning to take their emotional and mental stressors more seriously.
The scope of mental health goes far beyond a medical diagnosis- it influences how you feel about yourself and how you deal with your relationships.
So how can we make our mental health a priority? These are some simple things you can do daily to improve your mood, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Most people find this one of the most challenging things since we seem most critical of ourselves. It’s time to give yourself a break! Studies show that how we think about ourselves can have a powerful effect on how we feel. If we view certain situations through a negative lens, we start to feel negativity creep into other aspects of our emotions.
Instead, try to look at every situation from a positive perspective. This is tough and takes a lot of practice, but eventually, it will become a habit, and you will notice an improvement in your general mood and outlook. For example, instead of being upset that you didn’t get a job offer, be thankful for the opportunity to practice your interview skills and move on to the next one. It can take some time, but it’s well worth it.
Shift Your Focus to Only One Thing at a Time
Anyone reading an article about improving mental health most likely has a stressor in their life that they would like to overcome. Unfortunately, for most of us, it is managing our time or feeling like there is just not enough time to complete everything in front of us.
This is when it becomes essential to stop, take a breath, and be mindful of the moment. If you become aware of your current state or activity, you can bring a sense of calm and control to even mundane or stressful tasks.
Start small. Be aware of your eating, chewing, or walking. Then, focus on the sensory elements around you, such as smell, tastes, or sensations. If you can single these out and focus on these micro sensations, suddenly everything becomes manageable, and you have some room to breathe and enjoy life.
Get Out and Exercise
We hear this one all the time, but it is true. Exercise can have a profound impact on not only our physical but emotional state as well. During and after exercise, your body rewards your brain with mood-elevating endorphins that can help fight depression, stress, and anxiety.
Another important aspect of exercise is getting outside in the sun. The sun provides the body with vitamin D, a vitamin your brain craves to function correctly and balance your mood. This is why it is so easy to become depressed in wintertime. Most physicians recommend at least 30 minutes of light to moderate daily exercise. The hardest part is getting off the couch, but you will be so glad you did!
Eat Some Comfort Food
Are you in need of a quick pick-me-up? Put down the coffee and grab a well-balanced meal. Eating healthy significantly impact mental health; however, eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates can elevate your serotonin levels for an easy calming effect.
Protein-dense foods contain norepinephrine, tyrosine, and dopamine that can raise alertness and balance your mood. In addition, fruits and vegetables give your brain much-needed vitamins, nutrients and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids give your brain a cognitive boost. Who knew a delicious, hearty meal could be so good for our health?
Get Some Sleep
If you are running on empty physically or emotionally, nothing is worse than putting off sleep. Studies show that sleep directly affects the way that we process our emotions. It is a vital rejuvenation period for our brain, and if you deprive it of its daily shut down, you will also begin to see your patience deplete.
Avoid caffeinated drinks during the day and have a cutoff period around 6 or 7 PM. Limiting screen time is also essential, especially before you hit the hay. This is because screens interfere with our brain’s natural ability to produce melatonin, an important hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Stop and Breathe
If you start to feel stress creep in or your emotional levels begin to wane, take a moment and focus on your breathing. Breathwork is a great way to relax and get some much-needed oxygen to your brain. It also gives you a moment to focus and reflect.
Start with ten deep breaths in a row and hold each breath for about four seconds. Relax your muscles as you breathe and imagine the stress melting away. Soon you will be back in your happy place and ready to face the world.
Confide in Others
It is important to remember that you are not in this alone. Even just spending time with other people or coworkers is something we naturally crave. So have a casual conversation or call your best friend, or better yet, your mom.
Social interaction is key to our happiness as humans and can do wonders. Also, never underestimate the power of a good cry or a firm hug. Allowing others to confide in us can be just as helpful. So remember to be a good friend and always keep an open ear.
Choose a Natural Way to Improve Mental Health
Implementing a simple, wholesome, natural lifestyle can quickly improve mental health. Your health is vital, and being proactive is essential.
Speaking with a certified holistic health professional and a naturopathic doctor will help start you on the right path to a satisfying and fulfilling life with increased energy and vitality, enhancing your overall well-being. Holistic and naturopathic health professionals approach each individual’s mental health as to what is best for them.
The approach is very different than conventional methods to improve mental health. In contrast, conventional identifies one source of the problem compared to holistic and naturopathy, which incorporates the entire body (body, mind, and spirit) to improve mental health.
The Takeaway To Improving Mental Health
Please don’t wait to start thinking about your mental health until it is too late. Make your health a priority right now and take some preventative action. You are important, and making these steps part of your routine will tremendously benefit your everyday life. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself, relax, and remember to breathe.
Consult with a Holistic and Naturopathic Doctor to Improve Mental Health
The Certified Holistic Health Professional and Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, Febe Sieb, at the Tierra Wellness Center, creates healthier lives by implementing a holistic and naturopathic approach, personalized to improve mental health based on each individual’s unique situation.