Seven Tips On How To Improve Mental Health
Updated July 10, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC Counsel The Mind, LLC
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 Association also notes that the ability to deal with life’s demands and maintain productive relationships ties into mental health.
Over the past few years, conversations and societal attention towards mental health have increased. This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction; however, there are still many people who struggle with mental illness for several reasons.
No matter who you are or where you are in life, there are always steps you can take to improve or maintain your mental health. Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits and taking care of yourself is not always easy, especially when life’s demands get in the way. Access to specific tools and methods to improve mental health can always be of value in one way or another. You might be pleasantly surprised about the resources out there that can help.
The Leading Ways To Improve Your Mental Health
While society often discusses mental health as an abstract subject matter, there is less talk on specific means of achieving good mental health. Giving people specific tools they can use to improve the quality of their mental health is imperative.
For this reason, the following tips and suggestions should be of value to anyone seeking to improve their mental health.
Get Your Body Moving
One of the most advisable ways to obtain good mental health is by exercising. Psychology Today explains that getting your body moving allows for the release of endorphins that relieve stress and improve your emotional state. For this reason, moving your body improves mental health and works against negative emotions, such as anxiety, stress, and sadness.
If exercise isn’t something that you’re used to, don’t worry. You can still get your body moving, even if it means starting with moderate exercise. 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 or exercise class are always options.
Surround Yourself With Good People
The company that you keep will have an enormous impact on your mental health. Did you know that each individual is the average of the five people they most frequently associate with? This is why it’s critical to make sure the people around you are supportive, positive, and good for you. Being around the wrong people can contribute to mental illness and also invite additional problems into your life.
If you are unsure about the quality of your current company, this could be a red flag. In most cases, we know on some level as human beings when surrounded by good people who support us.
However, if you want to be certain, think about how you feel when you are with the people you spend the most time with. Do the folks around you inspire you or drain you? Do they encourage you or bring you down? The answers to these questions will play a role and determine your mental health.
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 your needs first. If you always put other people first, you will come last. This doesn’t mean that you should disregard the feelings or needs of those you care about, but you should be aware of when you need to look out for yourself.
If you are still concerned about how putting yourself first will impact those closest to you, remember this: you cannot pour from an empty cup. If your mental health is taking hits from always prioritizing other people, you will get to a point where you can’t help them. Like all things in life, balance is paramount, and too much of a good thing can quickly become toxic.
Get A Good Night’s Rest
Just like exercise, a healthy support system, and balance, getting a good night’s rest is 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 at your best during your waking hours.
According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep is a necessity to maintain psychological functions. Consistently getting good and healthy sleep has also been linked to improving learning and memory functions, both of which impact your mental health.
Some great ways to improve your quality of rest and mental health include the following:
- Turning off electronic screens at least 60 minutes prior to 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.
Keep A Journal
Writing down your thoughts in a journal or even on paper is another excellent tip for bettering 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 also allows you to reflect and later come back to your writing.
You’d be amazed to learn how much you can learn about yourself from reading your past notes and journal entries. Writing in a journal even a few times a week can positively contribute to your mental health.
Cut Out Bad Habits
Bad habits can genuinely wreak havoc upon mental health. Worse yet, it can be challenging to realize this when certain behavior habits are familiar and engrained. Sometimes, short-term gratification is not worth the adverse long-term consequences. If you are not sure whether something is a bad habit in yourself, 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. You will be able to thank yourself for it later down the line, especially when your mental health improves.
Take Up A New Hobby
Sometimes, improving your mental health means pushing or challenging yourself in a constructive manner. 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 provide a necessary boost to mental health.
Giving Yourself Time
As you work on improving your mental health, don’t forget to be patient and give yourself time. Bettering yourself always takes time, patience, and consistency. Improving your mental health is no different.
There is no race, competition, or anyone else you should be trying to keep up with. When improving mental health, taking the time to focus on yourself is going to 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 will allow you to reach the other side.
The good news is that you don’t have to go through this alone. 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.
Online Therapy With BetterHelp
To date, BetterHelp is proud to provide online therapy to countless people around the world. Online therapy has changed many lives, and it can change yours too. If you decide to work with a BetterHelp online therapist, we will ensure that sessions happen during the dates and times that are best for you. Unlike other therapy types, a BetterHelp online therapist can work with you whether you’re at home, on the go, or across the world.
One of the most common questions about online therapy pertains to how long the process can take. Truthfully, there is no one set answer to this question. There are a variety of factors that can determine how long an online therapist should work with you. This applies to whether you’re seeking online therapy to improve mental health or address another matter entirely.
The only person who can decide whether online therapy is a good fit is you. If you do decide to work with a BetterHelp online therapist, we will be more than happy to be there for you and offer support, feedback, and guidance.