Seven Tips To Improve Your Mental Health

Updated April 24, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

According to the American Psychological Association, mental health is “a state of mind characterized by emotional well-being, good behavioral adjustment, and relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms.” The APA also notes that the ability to cope with life’s demands and maintain productive relationships ties into mental health and mental well-being. No matter who you are or what concerns you’re facing in life, there are steps you can take to improve or maintain your mental health. Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits and taking care of your physical health is not always easy, especially when life’s demands get in the way. Learning about the specific tools, methods, and resources available to you, such as BetterHelp therapy tips, may be of value to your mental health in one way or another. 

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The Leading Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

While society often discusses mental health as an abstract subject matter, there is often less talk on specific means of achieving positive mental health and what mental health includes. Giving people specific tools they can use to improve the quality of their mental health can be imperative. The following tips and suggestions may be of value to anyone seeking to improve their mental health, social well-being, mood, and overall well-being.

#1 Get Your Body Moving

One of the most advisable ways to obtain positive mental health can be through regular physical activity. Getting your body moving and being physically active allows for the release of endorphins, which are chemicals that can relieve stress and improve your emotional state. For this reason, exercise can improve mental health and work as a treatment for negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, stress, and sadness.

If exercise or physical activities aren't something that you’re used to, you can choose to make small adjustments over time. You can still get your body moving, even if it means starting with moderate exercise for a few minutes each day. Walking in the park twice per week or even stretching in the mornings can make a difference. Once exercise becomes something that you’re more familiar with, you can then look at ways to increase intensity levels. Joining a gym, club team, or exercise class can help you have something to look forward to each week while also bringing you physical and mental health benefits. 

#2 Surround Yourself With Healthy People

The company that an individual keeps can have an enormous impact on their mental health because humans are naturally social creatures. Did you know that each individual is the average of the five people they most frequently associate with? This is why it can be critical to make sure the people around you are supportive, evoke positive emotions, and have a healthy influence on you. Being around people that bring you down can contribute to mental health disorders (such as depression and anxiety) and invite additional problems into your life. This goes for social media as well. Make sure you are surrounded by people sending positive and uplifting words on these sites. 

If you are unsure about the quality of your community or current company, think about how you feel when you’re around them. In most cases, we know on some level as human beings when surrounded by good relationships that support us. If you’re feeling on edge rather than relaxed when you’re around someone, or drained rather than energizes, this could be a sign that person is bringing negativity into your life. However, try not to jump to conclusions and assess each relationship on its own.

#3 Don’t Be Afraid To Put Your Needs First

The pull to be there for our loved ones is understandable and even praiseworthy. However, it is also essential to know when to put your mental health and needs first. If you always put other people first, you may often come last. This doesn’t mean that you should disregard the feelings or needs of those you care about, but it can be vital to stay aware of when you need to look out for yourself.

If you are still concerned about how putting yourself first could impact those closest to you, remember this: you cannot pour from an empty cup. If your mental health is taking hits from always prioritizing someone else, you may get to a point where you can’t help them with basic human services. Like many things in life, balance can be paramount.

#4 Get A Good Night’s Rest

Getting a good night’s rest can be another critical way to improve your mental health. When you sleep, your brain and body can refresh and recharge. This, in turn, helps you to be alert during your waking hours.

According to research by the NIH, sleep is a necessity to maintain healthy psychological functions. Consistently getting enough sleep has also been linked to improving learning and memory functions, both of which can impact your mental health. Some ways you might be able to improve your quality of rest and mental health include the following:

  • Turning off electronic screens at least 60 minutes before sleeping

  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, or heavy meals right before bedtime

  • Turning off lights before bed

  • Sleeping and waking at regular, consistent times

Getting a good night’s rest and following the pointers listed above can significantly improve your mental health, even in ways that aren’t readily apparent.

#5 Keep A Journal

Writing down your thoughts in a journal or even on paper can be another effective way to improve your mental health. The process is therapeutic and can assist you in processing your emotions. Journaling is not only a great stress reliever, but this craft can also allow you to reflect and later come back to your writing.

You can learn a lot about yourself by reading your past notes and journal entries. When your mind is spiraling with anxious thoughts, writing them down may help stop this negative cycle. Writing in a journal even a few times a week can positively contribute to your mental health.

#6 Cut Out Bad Habits

Bad habits can wreak havoc upon your mental health and mood. Worse yet, it can be challenging to realize this when certain behavior habits are familiar and engrained, affecting your overall wellness. Sometimes, short-term gratification is not worth the adverse long-term consequences. Eating a balanced diet and being physically active are both things that can be meaningful contributions to your mental well-being. If you are unsure whether something is a bad habit, ask yourself how this choice impacts you. Are you being enriched or drained by engaging in this behavior?

Cutting out bad habits may be tough in the beginning. However, you may be able to thank yourself for it later down the line, especially when your mental health, self-worth, and self-confidence improve. Healthy habits can often be key to improving your mental well-being, no matter how small.

#7 Take Up A New Hobby

Examples of healthy habits for mental health could include picking up a hobby or developing a new skill. Sometimes, improving your mental health means pushing or challenging yourself to learn new skills constructively. This is where taking up a healthy, new hobby can prove to be especially valuable. Ideally, this hobby should be something that you enjoy and can do on a semi-regular basis. You can take up a new hobby by yourself or with a friend; either way, trying something new can often boost mental health and help you feel calm. For example, trying meditation or mindfulness can have wonderful effects on your mental health and provide you with an activity that allows for more meaningful connections in your life. 

Giving Yourself Time

As you work on improving your mental health, don’t forget to be patient and give yourself time. Bettering yourself can take time, patience, and consistency. Improving your mental health is no different. There is no race, competition, or anyone else you need to try and keep up with. When improving your mental health, taking the time to focus on yourself can be critical. You may also find that you learn more about yourself and who you are on your mental health journey.

Where To Find Additional Support And Mental Health Services

Improving mental health is not always a smooth-sailing journey. Sometimes, going through this process can bring specific epiphanies to light or remind us of details we’d like to forget. As tough as this part of the process can be, working through it can allow you to reach the other side and give you a deeper sense of self. 

Whether you’re seeking to improve your mental health or dealing with an entirely different issue, you are not alone. Support and mental health services are available, and you deserve to know about them. Mental Health America has various resources if you're looking to get some preliminary information, as they carry out a lot of research on this topic. Talk to your primary care provider or family physician to get the resources you need to start your mental health journey.

Want To Make Improvements To Your Mental Health?

Online Counseling With BetterHelp

If you’ve tried to improve your mental health to no avail, it may be time to confide in a professional about potential next steps. Several different mental health conditions can make it difficult to leave the house—or even your bed—particularly if you feel you’ve lost control over knowing how to manage them. This can make it hard to get proper support from a medical professional. In these cases, you might consider pursuing therapy through BetterHelp, an online counseling platform. Here, you can receive guidance and advice and set up a treatment plan to manage your disorder. BetterHelp is similar to traditional therapy but without the added barriers that can make it difficult to get mental health care.

The Efficacy Of Online Counseling

Improving your mental health can be a journey, and online counseling may be a helpful resource as you make adjustments. One study examined the efficacy of an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program in the treatment of psychiatric orders. This includes conditions like depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and more. CBT is a therapeutic approach that helps people reframe their negative, unhelpful thoughts into more positive ones. 

The Takeaway

Improving your mental health can be a process that requires time and patience. It may also be a case of trial and error as you find what works most effectively for you. If your mental health concerns are interrupting your daily life and making it difficult to function as usual, it may be time to reach out to a professional. An online therapist can give you tips and advice for improvement from the comfort of your home. Over time, you can be on your way to a healthier state of mind.

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