Improving our mental health is something we do not always think about. Instead, we focus our efforts on maintaining our physical health with diets and exercise, eating right, vitamins, and supplements.
Our mental health is just as important, especially for those of us that suffer from anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are usually from moments we experience and put it in the back of our minds.
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We neglect our feelings and don’t address our mental health the way we should, and long term issues arise.
Something I’ve noticed in the past few years on the internet are articles about depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
These mental health disorders were usually swept under the rug; people didn’t talk about being anxious or how depressed they were. It was almost taboo to speak about our mental health.
People were afraid of making themselves look weak, troubled, or letting others know something was wrong with them.
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Some questions you might ask are, What is mental health? How can stress negatively affect me? How can I improve my mental health?
Read on to find answers to your questions.
What Is Mental Health
Your mental health is your overall psychological and emotional well-being.
How you feel about yourself, your ability to manage your feelings, and deal with day to day activities or difficulties.
Most people think of mental health as a condition someone has – such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.
Having good mental health helps you go through your daily life with ease. No matter what life throws at you.
Mental Health By The Numbers
According to SAMHSA and NAMI mental health statistics
1 in 5 U.S. adults struggle with mental illness each year.
1 in 25 U.S. adults suffer from severe mental illness each year.
Suicide is the 2nd cause of death among 10-34 year olds.
Depression is the No. 1 cause of disability across the world.
Women are twice as likely to experience major depression as men.
So how can you improve your mental health? Here are 9 ways I improved my mental health.
9 Ways I Improved My Mental Health
I began to exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Walking outdoors, lifting weights, and doing cardio workouts work great for my mental health as I’m much happier.
Working out for 30 minutes seems to be the most beneficial as our bodies release stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins. These endorphins help to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
I noticed when I exercise, I sleep better at night and feel more relaxed. I don’t wake up exhausted the next day and feel more energized.
2. Take Care Of My Body
A healthy mind comes from a healthy body. I lowered my salt and fat intake and now eat more fruits and vegetables.
Eating more nutritious meals instead of turning to junk food improved my mental health.
I used to eat a lot of processed sugary foods, which taste great, but they are not healthy. They are short term pleasures and ultimately made my anxiety and depression worse.
I now drink plenty of water and make sure to drink even if I’m not thirsty. I keep a water container with me where ever I go.
3. Get Rid Of The Negative People
It was hard to stop hanging out with some of my friends, but they were very negative people by nature. I didn’t ditch them entirely, but I don’t see them as often as I used to.
Spending time with negative people who only see the world in a glass-half-full light, will bring you down.
Being around the right people, positive, happy thinking friends can do a world of good for your mental health.
These people will lift you, make you happy, and be there for you when you need them.
4. Maintain Healthy Relationships
Loneliness is a horrible feeling, and it will make you feel isolated, which in turn causes anxiety and depression.
At times I would spend hours or even days not talking to my friends. Laziness, I guess. I realized that being alone made me feel anxious, and my mental health deteriorated.
Learning to prioritize my relationships was huge as I started to develop stronger connections with my friends. I reach out more through text or phone calls and now make it a priority to get out and doing something with them.
Having connections with other people helps us feel part of a community and gives our lives meaning. Talking and spending time with others helps us feel accepted.
My mental health has improved immensely by being around my friends.
5. Learn Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation allows you to focus on you and your thoughts. Controlling these thoughts and being more present instead of inside your head will help you relax and lower your stress levels.
I focus on my breathing and make sure it is slow and controlled, as this helps my panic attacks. While doing this, I focus on my body, relaxing each part of it.
Being mindfully aware, just how lucky I am for the many blessings I have in my life. I’m grateful for so many people and things in my life. I am blessed to have clothes and food readily available.
6. Get Plenty Of Rest
I tend to need a lot of sleep, so I make sure I always go to bed at a decent hour. If I stay up late and don’t get enough rest, the next morning is rough, and throughout the day, I’m tired and cranky.
My mood is in the toilet when I’m tired and don’t get enough sleep.
I make sure I don’t drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol in the evening, as this will keep me awake.
A good night’s rest always increases my mental health, and I feel good.
7. Delete Social Media
I loved social media, but it didn’t love me. When I got rid of social media, I felt so much better.
Seeing people with their perfect lives and perfect bodies caused my depression to get worse. Scrolling down through images and images, liking this and that, became an addiction.
Ultimately it was a massive waste of time. I am taking in other people’s feelings, listening to what they thought, most of it negative. Yuck!
My mental health is so much happier without all that junk and negative thoughts in my head.
I don’t miss social media, and I can live without it. There are so many fun things to be doing than sitting there scrolling.
8. Relax and Do What Makes Me Happy
I lead a busy life at times. With work, kids, errands, life gets hectic.
I’ve committed 30 minutes of alone time to do what I want. Sometimes I’ll listen to music, watch TV, do a puzzle. I do what makes me happy.
Most of the time this is when I do my exercise, I love going for walks, especially hikes on the trail down the road.
Taking the time to do what you want will make you a much happier person.
9. Eliminate Bad Habits
I’ve eliminated some bad habits that increased my anxiety. We all have them, but it’s essential to cut them out.
Drinking alcohol and smoking were two things I loved; they were short-term pleasures but did damage to my mental health.
Quitting these bad habits not only made me feel so much better health-wise but also mentally right. I save more money too! A big plus! 🙂