10 tips to improve your mental health
Maintain a healthy mental state and avoid problems
Taking care of our mental health is easier than you might think. By doing simple activities every day that help us feel better, we can cope with life’s challenges.
Why don’t you give our tips a try and see which one suits you best? Some might find them easier, for others they might be more challenging.
It may feel uncomfortable to try a new activity at first, but it usually gets easier the more we do it. One thing we should always remember: no one is perfect. We all have our limits and what works for you is best.
Self-kindness is important
When you write down your feelings in a notebook or on your phone, you may feel better. Be sure to consider how to protect your privacy.
Repeat something positive about yourself daily. (Sometimes this is called a “mantra”. For example, “I am on a journey, growing and developing.”.) Research has shown this reduces negative feelings.
People also find mindfulness exercises helpful. A mindfulness exercise involves paying attention to the present moment through techniques such as meditation, breathing, and yoga. By training, you can become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Get in touch with nature
Our lives are filled with worries and fears, uncertainties, losses that leave us sad and pressures that make us feel stressed.
Some people say that nature helps them feel calmer, more hopeful, and less alone. We have been living around animals and plants for thousands of years. Walking for example, was the most popular way to cope with stress in 2020 for UK adults.
In Japan, some people use “forest bathing”, which may improve their mental health. So going to a forest or wood and experiencing the different smells, sounds and textures may really help. Make sure to tune your senses to what surrounds you to get the most from nature’s healing effects. For instance, trees, plants, birds, and animals are great examples, as are ponds, seashores, and ponds. Get in touch with your natural surroundings by taking a deep breath.
Be aware of your emotions and learn how to manage them
It can be difficult to think clearly, work, relax, study, sleep, or deal with other people when we feel upset.
There are many reasons why we feel upset, but we might not be able to pinpoint them all. Could it be sadness, fear, shame, loneliness, anger, or something else?
We can often help ourselves by paying attention to our feelings without judging them, without telling ourselves we’re stupid or weak to feel the way we do. It may seem strange and uncomfortable at first but practice and patience will pay off.
We can also help ourselves by naming our feelings. It might be helpful to say to ourselves: “I’m feeling really irritable today, but also sad.” A further step might be to figure out why we feel this way – maybe a disagreement or disappointment in the past?
The act of reassuring ourselves, as we would a small child we care about, can also be very comforting. Try it, you might be surprised.
Avoid using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
The use of drugs is a popular way for many of us to deal with “difficult” feelings such as sadness, fear or shame.
No one wants to feel bad; drug and alcohol use may provide temporary relief.
Sadly, they don’t prevent the feelings from returning, which causes other problems, including mental and physical health problems, relationship problems, and job or study problems.
Being understanding and kind to yourself can help you cope with difficult feelings more effectively. If you think you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings, it may help to acknowledge this without beating yourself up about it.
Next, consider talking with a trusted friend or a charity that offers confidential, free advice and information on how to reduce addiction harm.
Sometimes money problems are unavoidable
The stress of paying debts, bills, and essentials such as food and electricity can be overwhelming. If you are the only income earner in your household, you may feel burdened and isolated.
There are things we can do to prevent financial problems from affecting our mental health.
The embarrassment we feel might make it hard for us to tell anyone what we’re going through, leaving us to feel alone.
In truth, many people struggle with money problems. Research shows that financial issues are a significant source of stress for many people.
Sharing our worries with someone who is not involved and whom we trust is likely to help us feel less alone and overwhelmed.
An expert at a charity that offers free money advice can be very helpful if we are struggling financially. They are very familiar with what can go wrong with people’s finances and what may help.
Before any debt becomes overwhelming, asking for help can be very helpful. However, getting help benefits everybody.
By speaking with these free, expert advisers, you may also discover new possibilities, such as benefits you’re entitled to, your legal rights, and ways to reduce your debt repayments.
Get the most out of your sleep
Everyone who has struggled with sleep knows how it affects our bodies, minds, and ability to function.
We all experience periods of bad sleep, and some of us live in situations that make a good night’s sleep impossible.
When we struggle with our mental health, sleep is often the first thing to suffer.
It is recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, including enough dreaming sleep and enough deep sleep.
Consider making a few simple changes if you’re having trouble sleeping.
- Prepare a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down before sleeping
- Keeping away from TV screens, mobile phones, alcohol and caffeine before bed will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. You might also avoid vigorous exercise just before bed.
- Keep a regular bedtime and waking time, even on weekends.
Make sure you stay active
The connection between our bodies and minds means that taking care of our physical health can also help us prevent mental health problems (the reverse is also true).
Sports, gardening, dancing, cycling, walking the dog, cleaning, or going to the gym can improve our mental and physical health.
Our body releases “feel good” hormones when we exercise, which decreases stress and anger. It also helps us feel better about our bodies, and it can help us sleep better. Being part of a team, a class, or a regular group can also boost our mental health if it involves other people.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be a sport to benefit us. From walking to dancing to playing basketball to working out in the gym, all we have to do is enjoy it.
Be curious and embrace new experiences
It’s easy to get stuck in familiar patterns, like the way we spend our time and how we think about ourselves and the world.
When we have expectations based on our mindset or what others have told us, it can be self-fulfilling. For example, we might say to ourselves: “Things never get better” or “I’m useless”.
It can be helpful to notice these thoughts and replace them with more positive ones, such as “I can make a difference” and “there is a lot I can do.”
Experimenting with our ways of doing things can make life more interesting, lively, and rewarding.
You might find a new place you love, discover a talent you didn’t know you had, or meet someone important as a result. It could be as simple as what we eat for breakfast or how we walk our dog.
Make a list of things to look forward to
Life throws us surprises, and during hard times, we may feel hopeless and unable to make plans for the future.
Having fun activities to look forward to can help us cope with difficult situations.
Making plans for things we enjoy can boost our sense of hope, which is crucial for our mental health. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a TV program, or a dance class, we can plan for everything from small pleasures to trips with family and friends, or watching a film, a sports team, or a singer that we like.
The important thing is to plan it, no matter how big or how small.
Be sure to follow your plan – and repeat… Decide what you’ll do, when and with whom.
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