Building Better Mental Health

Are you searching for a method to improve your mental health and well-being? These six life-changing strategies for enhancing mental health and resilience might be of assistance.

Understanding good mental health

Your mental health has an impact on how you think, feel, and act in your daily life. It also has an influence on how well you can deal with stress, handle difficulties, build connections, and recover from life’s setbacks and challenges.

Mental wellness is more than simply not having mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is more than just being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological illnesses. Mental well-being is defined as the presence of positive characteristics rather than the absence of mental illness.

People who are mentally healthy have:

  • A sense of contentment.
  • A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

The relationship between resilience and mental health

It’s possible to have excellent mental health without feeling sad or having unpleasant times in your life. We all experience heartbreaks, loss, and change. It’s true that natural occurrences are part of life, and they may produce sadness, worry, and anxiety. Those who have good mental health are better able to rebound from adversity, trauma, and stress than those who are physically healthy. The capacity to bounce back after a traumatic event is known as resilience.

How to boost your mental health 

Anyone can have mental or emotional difficulties at some time in his or her life, and most of us will. One in five of us will suffer from a diagnosable mental disease this year alone. However, despite how prevalent mental disorders are, many people do not attempt to improve their situation.

Why we often neglect our mental health needs

Despite the fact that today’s sophisticated world offers us a lot, many of us are frequently unwilling—or unable—to deal with our mental health issues. This might be due to a range of causes, including:

  • In some cultures, mental and emotional difficulties are considered to be less important than physical ailments. They’re regarded as a sign of frailty or perceived to be our own fault in some cases.
  • Some people mistakenly believe that mental health issues should be treated as though they’re something we can “snap out of.” Men, in particular, are more likely to keep their emotions bottled up than seek assistance.
  • We’re obsessed with obtaining quick, simple answers to complex challenges in today’s fast-paced world. Instead of interacting with individuals in the real world, for example, we seek connection by compulsively checking social media. Alternatively, rather of dealing with issues head on, we’d prefer to take a pill to boost our mood and alleviate depression.
  • Many people believe that only medication or therapy are available if they seek help for mental and emotional problems (which has unpleasant side effects). The fact is that, if you’re having difficulties with your mind or emotions, there are things you can do to enhance how you feel and experience better mental and emotional well-being. And you can begin right now!

Make social connection a priority—especially face-to-face

It’s crucial to maintain a healthy balance between your mind and emotions. You’ll need the assistance of others to feel good and function well. Humans are social beings who require emotional connections with other people in order for them to function properly. We weren’t designed to get by on our own, let alone flourish. Our social brains need companionship, even as experience teaches us to be scared and suspicious of others.

Why is face-to-face connection so important?

Face-to-face interaction with other people has a unique stress-relieving, mood-boosting effect that nothing else can match.

The key is to interact with someone who is a “good listener”—someone you can speak to in person on a frequent basis and who will genuinely listen to what you have to say. A good listener will pay attention to the emotions you’re attempting to convey and won’t interrupt, judge, or criticize you.

Reaching out isn’t a sign of weakness and won’t make you a burden to others. When you trust someone enough to tell them something, they are typically pleased. If there is no one with whom you can seek help, there are several effective strategies for increasing your social network and developing new friendships. In the meantime, there’s still a lot to be gained from meeting people face-to-face, such as neighbors, people in line at the checkout or on the bus, and so on. Make eye contact and exchange a smile or a brief conversation with them.

Tips for connecting to others

  • Call a friend or loved one now and arrange to meet up. Offer to run errands or go for a walk together if you both have busy schedules. Try to make it a regular event.
  • If you don’t feel that you have anyone to call, reach out to acquaintances. Many people are just as anxious about making new friends as you are, so be the one to start the discussion. Rekindle a friendship with an old buddy, go out for lunch with a coworker, or ask a neighbor to join you for coffee.
  • Get out from behind your TV or computer screen. Because communication is largely non-verbal, you must have direct contact with other people in the real world if you wish to communicate effectively, so don’t neglect your real-world connections in favor of virtual interaction.
  • Be a joiner. Attend meetings of networking, social, or special interest groups that meet on a regular basis. These organizations are fantastic resources for meeting people with similar interests.
  • Don’t be afraid to smile and say hello to strangers you cross paths with. Connecting with someone else might be beneficial to both of you—and you have no idea where it may lead!

Staying active is as good for the brain as it is for the body

The mind and body are inextricably linked. When you improve your physical health, you will automatically feel better mentally and emotionally. Physical activity also releases endorphins, mood-lifting chemicals that provide additional energy. Exercise or activity can have a significant impact on mental and emotional health problems, reduce stress, enhance memory, and help you sleep better.

But what if I hate to exercise?

You’re not alone. Many people aren’t fond of pummeling weights in a gym or jogging on a treadmill. You don’t have to be an exercise fanatic to get value from being more active. Take a stroll at lunchtime in a park, go around the mall doing laps while window shopping, throw a Frisbee with your dog, dance to your favorite music, play action-based video games with your kids, or cycle or walk to an appointment rather

Tips for starting an exercise routine

  • On most days, strive for 30 minutes of activity. If it’s more convenient, three ten-minute sessions may be just as effective. Begin by going for a walk or dancing to your favorite song right now.
  • Walking, running, swimming, weight training, martial arts, or dancing are all examples of rhythmic exercise that will work your body from head to toe.
  • Add a mindfulness aspect to your workouts. Instead of thinking about things, concentrate on how your body feels as you move—for example, the impact of your feet hitting the ground or the rhythm of your breathing.

Learn how to keep your stress levels in check

Stress can have a serious impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being, therefore maintaining control over it is critical. While not all stressors may be avoided, stress management methods may assist you in regaining your equilibrium.

Talk to a friendly face. The greatest approach to unwind your nervous system and alleviate stress is to interact with someone who genuinely cares about you in person. Interacting with another person may rapidly cease harmful stress responses such as “fight-or-flight.” It also produces stress-relieving hormones, so no matter how bad the stressful event, you’ll feel better.

Appeal to your senses. Do you relax when you listen to a hopeful song? Is it conceivable that breathing in ground coffee or putting on your favorite scent might help? Maybe squeezing a stress ball offends quickly to relieve tension. Everyone perceives sensory input somewhat differently, so start experimenting now to figure out what works best for you. You’ll be able to quickly calm yourself down whenever and wherever stress strikes once you learn how your nervous system reacts to sensory information.

Make leisure time a priority. For no other reason than that they make you feel good, participate in your favorite hobbies. Take a trip to the theater, enjoy the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or socialize with a pal. It’s not an overindulgence to do things simply because they’re enjoyable. Play is both an emotional and intellectual need for many people.

Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Consider the things for which you are thankful. Reflect, pray, or simply appreciate the sunset as you go about your day.

Take up a relaxation practice. One of the most important aspects of relaxation is learning to relax on a regular basis, even if you are stressed. When it comes to reducing overall stress levels, though, relaxation techniques can help—but they’ll take longer to master effectively. Stress can be combated with a variety of methods, including yoga, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Manage your emotions to relieve stress

It’s possible to manage stress and balance your emotions if you learn how to understand and accept your feelings, especially the unpleasant ones many of us try to ignore. The free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit from HelpGuide can teach you how.

Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health

Unless you’ve previously attempted to alter your eating habits, you may not be aware of how much of what you eat and don’t eat affects your thoughts and feelings. A poor diet might have a negative influence on your brain and mood, cause you to sleep badly, deplete your energy, and weaken your immune system. Switching to a healthy diet, low in sugar and high in healthy fats, can help you have more energy, improve your sleep and mood, and make you look and feel better.

Different individuals react differently to particular meals based on their genetics and other health factors, so play with the effects of changing what you eat—or removing from your diet. The first step is to eliminate the “bad fats” that harm your mood and outlook, and replace them with “good fats.”

Foods that adversely affect mood

  • Caffeine.
  • Alcohol.
  • Trans fats or anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil.
  • Foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones.
  • Sugary snacks.
  • Refined carbs (such as white rice or white flour).
  • Fried food.

Foods that boost mood

  • Fatty fish rich in Omega-3s such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna.
  • Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts.
  • Avocados.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Beans.
  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Brussel’s sprouts.
  • Fresh fruit such as blueberries.

Don’t skimp on sleep—it matters more than you think

If you have a hectic schedule, reducing sleep may appear to be the solution. However, when it comes to your mental health, getting enough sleep is a must rather than a choice. Skipping even a few hours here and there can have an adverse impact on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to deal with stress. Chronic sleep loss over the long term may also cause serious health issues and a poor attitude.

Adults should aim for seven to nine hours of good sleep each night, but it’s frequently difficult to expect that sleep will arrive the instant you lay down and shut your eyes. Your mind needs time to relax at the end of the day. As a result, limit your screen time—TV, phone, tablet, computer—in the two hours before bedtime and set aside work and arguments until the following day.

Find purpose and meaning in life

Each individual may obtain significance and purpose in a variety of ways, including by benefiting others as well as oneself. It might be seen as a technique to feel important, proud of yourself, a motivation that pushes you forward, or simply a motivation to get out of bed every morning. Finding significance and aim is critical for brain health, as it might help create new cells and build new neurological connections in the brain. It can also benefit your immune system, reduce pain, relieve stress, and keep you motivated to continue on to greater mental and emotional wellness. It’s critical to find meaning and purpose in life every day, even if you don’t feel it.

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