Mental health and emotional strength are as important as physical well-being because it influences how you think, behave, and feel in everyday life. It acts as a coping mechanism for stress and challenges and shapes your relationships. Often, people confuse mental health with being free of a clinical diagnosis for some illness. However, mental health is much more than just being illness-free. It is the state of having positive thinking patterns and characteristics.
However, even in today’s advanced world, most of us are reluctant to address our mental health needs. This is because staying mentally healthy is given less importance than physical fitness. This affects the quality of our lives. Having a healthy mind doesn’t have a quick short-cut like “snapping-out” of negative habits or popping a pill -the underlying issues need to be dealt with. While getting support from Therapists / Psychologists can be helpful, some simple steps can help to improve mental well-being. The good news is, if you want to start practicing mental health hygiene, you can start right away!
Signs of good mental health
Mentally healthy people possess the following characteristics and traits:
- They have a sense of contentment
- They can enjoy and laugh – zest for living
- They can cope with stress and bounce back from adverse conditions
- They possess a sense of meaning and purpose
- They are flexible and can adapt to change
- They are open to new experiences and learning new skills
- They can form fulfilling relationships
- They maintain a balance between work and private life
- They have self-confidence and high self-esteem
How to boost your mental health
You can adopt many practices to lift your mood, enhance resilience, and enjoy life more. But, like physical health, mental health too requires continuous effort to build and maintain. You can practice the following mental health tips and strategies:
Make face-to-face connections a priority.
Humans being social creatures have emotional needs to form relationships and positive connections with others. Being self-reliant and enjoying solitude is commendable, but you can’t go in isolation for long without affecting your mental health. Our minds crave companionship—even after distasteful experiences. Though today’s technology has made staying in touch a lot easier, face-to-face interactions are much more effective—real-life connections with people possess mood-boosting and stress-busting powers. Make sure you surround yourself with those who add value to your life.
Reach out or help.
If and when needed, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It is not a sign of weakness. You’ll be surprised that most people feel flattered if you trust them enough and confide in them. Call your best friend, a family member, or a loved one, and arrange a meet-up. Set plans to run errands or exercise together if both of you have busy lives. You can also reconnect with old friends, invite a co-worker out for lunch, or ask your neighbor to join you over tea.
Maintain an active lifestyle.
Your mind and body are intrinsically linked. Maintaining an active lifestyle and focusing on physical health enables you to experience greater emotional and mental well-being. Physical activity and regular exercise release chemicals or endorphins in your body. These chemicals lift your mood and energy levels. An active lifestyle can work wonders for your mental health and emotional problems. You don’t necessarily have to get soaked in sweat. Modest amounts of exercise are sufficient to bring a difference to your mental health.
Experiment with relaxation techniques.
Is there a specific song that lifts your mood every time you feel down? Do certain scents calm you down? Everyone responds to sensory stimuli a bit differently. While some like the smell of ground coffee, others prefer stress balls to calm their nerves. Experiment with different relaxation techniques. Once you identify how your nervous system responds, you can use these methods anywhere and at any time, whenever stress hits you. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and deep breathing techniques can also come in handy. All these methods allow you to bring your mind to a state of balance.
Take advantage of your leisure time.
Take advantage of your free time to do activities that make you feel good. It can be anything from watching a movie to taking a walk on the beach. Appreciate small moments and little things in life. You can also write a list of things you are grateful for. Having a positive outlook on life is super important for maintaining mental health.
You may not be aware of the extent to which your diet affects the way you feel and think. An unbalanced diet and eating routine can take a toll on your mental health and mood, disturb your sleep, drain your energy, and harm your immune system. Try switching to a healthy and wholesome diet and avoid foods high in sugar and fat. You’ll be amazed by how small dietary changes improve your sleep, mood, and mental well-being.
Get proper sleep.
Never skimp on sleep! It is common for most people to cut back on their sleep a little to manage all the workload. They may even think of it as a smart move. However, to stay mentally healthy, rest is more of a necessity than a luxury. Not getting enough sleep messes with your mood, stress coping abilities, energy levels, and mental sharpness.
An average adult should aim for seven to nine hours of undisturbed sleep every night. Your brain needs this time to unwind after being busy all day. Also, try to avoid smartphones or watching television just before going to bed. Proper sleep enhances your mental health.
Find a purpose that drives you.
Everyone derives purpose in different ways. It involves that benefitting others along with yourself. Finding purpose and meaning in life is a way to feel needed and good about yourself. Scientifically speaking, purpose plays an essential role in promoting brain health by aiding in new cells and neural pathways production in the brain. It also strengthens your immune system, alleviates pain, relieves stress, and keeps you motivated.
When to seek professional help
If you’ve made consistent efforts to stay mentally healthy, but your mind and emotions are still not functioning optimally, seeking professional help is essential. If your mental health is affecting your home, work, or relationships, choose MindShift Psychological Services. The Therapists Psychologists at MindShift Psychological Services provide quality assistance with strengthening mental health in Riverside, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and Corona, CA. If you’re not a resident of these areas, you can still get in touch online via Teletherapy. Start the healing process today because mental health matters.