There is a plethora of information available on taking care of physical health and most of us probably know exactly what to do to avoid contracting infectious illnesses. However, while a lot of our time is devoted to avoiding possible infection, a lot less attention is given to taking care of our mental health and coping with the associated stress of living in challenging times.
Anxiety and stress disorders are widespread, with far less information available on how to cope with and take care of ourselves under these circumstances. Here are a few simple practices to keep spirits up and get through difficult times with our mental health intact.
Regular exercise has huge benefits for physical health and the same is true for its effect on mental well-being. Exercise is responsible for releasing endorphins — chemicals that produce feelings of happiness. It alleviates feelings of anxiety, improves sleep quality and concentration and generates an experience of general well-being. And getting exercise doesn’t have to involve taking out an expensive contract at the local gym. Walking in the park, taking your dog for a run on the beach, gardening and even house cleaning are all ways to keep yourself active. To truly see the benefits, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week.
Do Something You Love
Our daily lives can be quite stressful, especially considering that we spend a lot of time in an office often doing work that we don’t like very much. If we include a fun activity or pastime in our daily schedules, it can give us something to look forward to at the end of a long, tiring day. Spending quality time doing something that you’re interested in and probably quite good at will boost your self-esteem and bring an element of fun into your schedule that will increase your enjoyment of life. Activities can include anything from arts and crafts, sporting activities or even relaxing with a good book.
Taking a break from your busy schedule to meditate can be very beneficial to your health and mental well-being. Meditation enables you to release the stress and negative emotions that accumulate in your body and allows you to breathe properly. A misconception about meditation is the idea that you should feel you’re attaining a degree of enlightenment when you practice it. Just taking a few minutes to become still and focus on your breathing is all that’s required. You can slowly work up to doing 5 minute sessions, and after a while 10, 20 and 30 minute sessions.
Considering going to therapy doesn’t require you to have experienced a specific level of difficulty in your daily living or of mental strain before seeking help. Any change in your mood or consistent negative impact on your mental functioning is reason enough to get therapy. It can help you to have a deeper understanding of yourself and find healing for the underlying issues that are negatively affecting your mental health. Psychotherapy practice, in particular, focuses on resolving emotional difficulties through talk therapy and improving the symptoms of mental disorders and day-to-day functioning.
A balanced diet not only has many benefits for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. A healthy brain stems from providing your body with the correct nutrition and improving your general well-being. Your brain needs a variety of nutrients to function optimally. Eating at least three meals per day that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and drinking lots of water daily will keep your brain functioning at its highest level.
Interact with Others
The stresses of life are much easier to endure with the support of caring family and friends. Spending time with those you trust and feel comfortable with can improve your mood and your general sense of well-being. A friend’s different point of view can help you to see your problems from a different perspective and assist you in finding solutions. Family members, friends or a counselor can keep you active and involved in activities that take you away from your problems and help you feel mentally refreshed. If you don’t have a friend or family member nearby, you can reach out to a free hotline operated by people with similar mental health conditions that are available in many communities.
Caring for those around you is an important part of maintaining relationships in your community, as well as helping you to get closer to others and begin new friendships. Becoming involved in a local charity and volunteering some of your free time also helps you to feel needed and valuable, while boosting feelings of self worth. Seeing things from another angle also helps us to realize that our problems aren’t quite as daunting as we thought they were. Rescuing a pet from a shelter can be an invaluable and humbling experience, providing our lives with purpose as well as allowing us to connect with fellow pet owners.
Keep Your Brain Healthy
Focusing on brain health can have a significant positive impact on your mood, happiness, perception of life and of those around you. Investing a little time in self-care will have you reaping the rewards of positive mental health and overall well-being that will easily see you through any challenging times that may lie ahead.
Mental health is an essential component of our lives from childhood through to adulthood and older age. What’s more, it affects every area of our lives and influences our decision making, interactions with others and ability to overcome life’s challenges. Mental health is just as important as physical health and if dealt with promptly and effectively can result in complete recovery and a fulfilling, stress-free life.