Mental health issues are far more common than that you might have been aware and something like one in four people will experience some form of mental health problem every year. That’s a lot of people, but still, mental health problems are not something that people like to talk about. Perhaps that’s why so many people take steps to look after their physical health, but completely ignore their mental health. The fast paced way that we live our lives today puts an immense mental strain on us, so we should be taking steps to help our minds cope with the stress and the pressure. Here are ten simple things that you can do that will help to improve your mental health, because it’s just as important as looking after your body.
1. Limit artificial stimulants
Although having a mental health issue in no way means that a person has a substance abuse issue, the two things do often go hand in hand. It is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant, caffeine can aggravate or cause anxiety, and recreational drugs are often linked to paranoia. Limiting your intake of all artificial stimulants will help to maintain that natural balance in your mind.
2. Get into a regular sleep pattern
Making sure that you get enough sleep is one of the simplest ways that you can protect the health of your mind. You are far less able to cope with stress when you are tired and you will start to make mistakes that will only add to your stress. Get into a routine of going to bed at a decent hour, the same time every night, and aim to get around eight hours of sleep every night.
3. Take plenty of exercise
Getting out into the fresh air and exercising will help to alleviate mental health issues too. Exercise is the most effective natural way to improve your mood and reduce depression and stress. It doesn’t need to be a full workout in a gym, a brisk walk around the block at lunchtimes is all it could take to help improve your mood.
4. Eat properly
Many of the things that can lead to mental health problems are all interlinked. You are too busy to exercise, you work too late to be able to get a good night’s sleep, you can’t sleep because you aren’t getting enough exercise and, you don’t have time to eat a proper meal. Eating regularly and eating healthy food will give you the energy you need to deal with the stress of the day, so make sure you are not skipping meals, and that you are not eating too much junk food on the go.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
An astounding number of people who do have a mental health issue struggle by on their own and they never seek help because they feel ashamed. There is no shame in feeling stressed out, or low, and doctors are well used to dealing with such problems. If you are concerned about your own mental health, don’t even hesitate, visit your doctor and explain to them how you are feeling. If you try and cope all on your own, things may build up even more and get worse.
6. Spend time with friends
Spending time with friends and family will take your mind off any troubling thoughts and give you a new perspective on things. If you have a close and trusted friend, then discuss your feelings with them, because talking about your problems will make you feel better about them. You may be really surprised and find that some of your friends have experienced the same issues and they may be able to offer you some good advice.
7. Remember that you need to take breaks
It’s also important to make sure that you give your mind a rest by taking breaks. It has been proven that people who go away on vacation every year are less likely to suffer from depression. It’s just as important to take regular ten minute breaks during the day and to learn how to switch off from work at the weekends too.
8. Don’t bottle up your emotions
Bottling up your feelings won’t help your mental health either. If you feel like crying then have a good cry, or if you are angry, go to the gym and take it out on some of the equipment there. If you don’t let it out, then those emotions will just build up and up in your mind and could eventually cause you a problem.
9. Understand the power of perception
Our mind is very good at playing tricks on us and, often what we perceive to be happening is not the reality. Your interpretation of a situation may not be based at all on fact and you may be blowing things out of proportion. Don’t assume that you know what will happen, find out the facts, talk to other people and try and keep things in perspective.
10. Do things at your own pace, and do the things that will make you happy
You should be the one who calls the shots in your life. Do the things that you know will make you happy and not the things that you think will please or impress other people. Also set yourself realistic goals, so that you are not constantly struggling to meet deadlines that you can’t comfortably meet.
Stay happy and healthy!