Everyone should prioritize their mental health. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your health concerns involve, or how stressed you feel. You can always stand to focus a little bit more on yourself. Your emotional, psychological, and social well-being depends on it. The good news is, if you’re looking to improve your mental health, doing so may be a lot easier than you’d think.
Don’t let stress get the best of you. Instead, take control of your mental health and feel better than ever. Here are six tips that will improve your state of mind and overall wellness.
1. Prioritize Daily Movement
Daily activity, whether it be a short walk or a workout class, can significantly improve your mental state. If you haven’t felt your best lately, mentally or physically, then prioritize exercise a few times per week. Even incorporating movement in small ways is good. Park at the furthest spot from the door when you go to the store, take your dog on longer walks, etc.
Of course, if you suffer from a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, you should seek professional treatment. Exercise and movement are never a bad idea. But you may need to combine a solid exercise routine with medication to improve your mental health further. Fortunately, you can find mental health treatment online if you need a solution.
2. Maintain a Good Sleep Schedule
Your sleep schedule can have a big impact on both your physical and mental health. When you have good sleep habits, your body and mind will thank you. The increased energy and focus are easy to notice, and once you get on a good schedule, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner. Making sure you consistently get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial.
Of course, getting enough sleep can be easier said than done. Oftentimes you simply can’t doze off, even if you desperately wish you could. At times like these, try pre-bedtime remedies like yoga or breathing exercises to fall asleep. Or maybe you need to talk to a sleep therapist or modify your sleep environment. Do whatever you need to do to make slumber as easy and restful as possible.
3. Fuel Your Body Properly
You are what you eat. If you’re eating horrible, highly processed foods, you’re probably going to feel horrible, too. Not only will your body lack key nutrients, but foods with preservatives, artificial dyes, and other additives have been shown to exacerbate depression symptoms.
In contrast, you’d be surprised by how quickly the right foods will boost your mood and energy levels. The good gut bacteria that result from eating healthy whole foods promote the production of dopamine and serotonin, two so-called “feel-good” chemicals. That’s why it’s important to incorporate foods rich in fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Healthy food is a powerful tool and one that your body needs to maintain a positive mental state.
4. Set Goals and Work to Achieve Them
Setting goals for yourself is healthy and good for your mind. Goals offer something to work toward and look forward to, giving your life meaning and purpose. Without concrete objectives, what drives your day-to-day activities? If the things you do help you achieve your goals in some way, you never feel you’re wasting your time.
If you’re new to goal setting, start by getting a journal. It can even be as simple as a blank notebook. Start writing down big goals and the time frame in which you’d like to achieve them. For every big goal that you set, you can create smaller objectives that are more attainable in the short term. Celebrating these small wins will help you feel accomplished and happy, thus improving your mental health.
5. Find Hobbies That Interest You
Not that all goals have to be big and life-changing. Hobbies may seem like they’re just for fun, but they involve a healthy amount of goal completion, too. Think of the satisfaction you get by knocking out the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle or completing a scarf you’ve been knitting.
Figuring out what your hobbies and interests are will put you on the path toward a happier and healthier future. What activities spark your interest or help you feel calm and relaxed? Whether it’s an old hobby you’re reviving or a new one you’re trying out, be sure to make time for it. If you don’t, you’ll always be missing out on that extra bit of happiness.
6. Practice Positivity and Gratitude
Last but certainly not least, practice gratitude and focus on seeing the positive in every situation. Your mind can either be a helpful friend or your worst enemy. If you’re constantly engaging in negative internal self-talk, your mental health will suffer. It may sound like a difficult feat, but shifting your mindset is extremely important when trying to improve your mental health.
Pay attention to how you react to certain situations. Are you always seeing the negative, or are you looking at the positives? Write down things that you’re grateful for each day. Be intentional about cultivating positivity. By practicing positivity and gratitude, you’ll be feeding your mind what it needs.
At first, the thought of improving your mental health can sound like an overwhelming task. You may dismiss the idea out of hand because you don’t have the time or money for therapy. But boosting your mental health can be surprisingly easy, thanks to things anyone can do. Once you take your mental health into your own hands, your overall quality of life will improve.