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 form 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 evidence-based strategies you can try to enhance your mental health, and some may help your physical health as well. Below are seven tips you can use to improve your mental health.
1. Get Your Body Moving
For this reason, exercise can improve mental health and help with anxiety, depression, and stress.
If exercise or physical activities aren't something that you’re used to doing, you might consider making 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 might 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, a sports team, or an 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 a significant impact on their mental health. 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 conditions (such as depression and anxiety) and invite additional problems into your life. This goes for social media as well. You might consider your online interactions and make sure you are surrounded by people sending positive and uplifting words on these sites.
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 can also be important 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, it may help to consider that you may not be at your best to support someone if you aren’t feeling mentally healthy. If your mental health is taking hits because you always prioritize someone else, you may get to a point where you can’t help them.
4. Get A Good Night’s Rest
Getting a good night’s rest can be another effective way to improve your mental health. When you sleep, your brain and body can refresh and recharge. This, in turn, can help you to be alert during your waking hours.
Research has shown that 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
- Sleeping and waking at regular, consistent times
Getting a good night’s rest and following the tips listed above may significantly improve your physical and 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 can be therapeutic and can assist you in processing your emotions. Journaling can also allow you to reflect and come back to your writing at a later time to see your personal growth.
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 behavioral habits are familiar and engrained. Sometimes, bad habits may develop as a result of our focus on short-term gratification instead of long-term consequences. This may relate to habits related to food and health. Instead of opting for foods that aren’t nutritious, you might try to incorporate more healthy foods and snacks into your diet.
If you are unsure whether something is a bad habit, you might ask yourself how this choice affects you. Are you being enriched or drained by engaging in this behavior?
Cutting out bad habits may be challenging in the beginning. However, you may thank yourself for it later down the line, especially if your mental health, self-worth, and self-confidence improve. Healthy habits, no matter how small, can often contribute to improving your mental well-being.
7. Take Up A New Hobby
Sometimes, improving your mental health means pushing or challenging yourself to learn new skills. This is where taking up a healthy hobby may prove to be especially valuable.
It may be best for this hobby to be something that you enjoy and can do on a regular basis. You can take up a new hobby by yourself or with a friend. Either way, trying something new may boost your mental health and help you feel calm. For example, trying meditation or mindfulness can have significant 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, it may help to be patient with yourself. Bettering yourself can take time, patience, and consistency. There is no 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 yield significant results.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
In addition to the seven tips above, you might improve your mental health by talking to a licensed counselor. You don’t have to have a mental health condition to benefit from therapy. If you’re hesitant to go to a therapist’s office, you might try online therapy, which numerous studies have shown to be effective. One study demonstrated the efficacy of an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder.
With online therapy at BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist who has experience with whatever concerns you’re facing. You can engage in therapy via phone, live chat, or videoconferencing from the comfort of your home or anywhere with an internet connection.
- Previous Article
- Next Article