11 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health & Wellbeing
By Isabela Vital, 1st Oct 2020
October has just started and for those who don’t know, every year this month, there is a celebration on Mental Health. This encourages us to think about our mental health and wellbeing. But wait! What is Mental Health? According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her potential can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to her or his community.” Keep in mind this is much more about wellness than illness. Today, we are going to highlight some useful things you can do to improve on your Mental Health. :)
1) Be grateful
Life can be tough sometimes. However, you can do some simple exercises every day that will change your way of seeing things. Try writing in a diary journal on three things that made you feel grateful on the day. If nothing comes up to your mind, maybe it is because you are trying to think too deeply and it should be simple such as “the sun looks great” or “I pet a puppy on the way to the market.”. Anything on your day that made you smile. See? Even if you didn't even go out, but had a delicious meal at home or talked to a friend after a long time. After a while you will probably start seeing small changes in the way you live.
2) Set up realistic goals
Do you remember all those New Year’s resolutions you have made and just completed one or two? What if you start setting up realistic goals? The feeling of achievement is hard to describe, but amazing to feel. If there are five things you want to improve in yourself such as eating better, exercising 2x a week, watching 1 movie a week or even reading one book a month, why not start setting these goals now? It is never too late and you don't need to wait until December 31st or beginning of January. Think about all the small things that would make you feel better if you change. Focus on what you deserve and be disciplined. The results will come at the right time. :)
We live in such a noisy word. Cars, people talking, pets, TV. Have you ever stopped for a while and tried to listen only to you? Some silence is necessary for this to happen and meditation improves your Mental Health. In the beginning, it can be hard because our minds tend to think about a bunch of things, but you can try with a soft song or a guided meditation. The InsightTimer app is perfect for a beginner because there is an extensive library and you just choose whatever fits with your style from mantras, to songs or guided meditations with experient teachers. Once you stop for 5, 10 or 30 minutes, you will get used to listening to your inner-self, quiet your mind and slow down, make decisions more consciously, work on the anxiety and, consequently, learn how to deal with stress.
Everyone knows how important it is to exercise. And if you’ve heard the saying: “But I am too busy to do it” you should rethink it. Having a walk, running, doing yoga or aerobics at home for 15 minutes everyday or on alternate days is already a way of exercising. You can wake up a little bit earlier to enjoy the sunrise while you are exercising or do it at night, if preferred. Your body will respond to the activities you choose. You will feel more active, engaged and even your creativity can be improved. In addition, always carry your bottle of water with you to relieve fatigue, improve skin complexion and fluxes out toxins.
5) Sleep well
You may think sleeping is not essential because your body reacts well to sleeping less than six hours, but it does actually have an important role in your physical and mental health. Having a good night of sleep protects you against some heart diseases and many others. It also makes you feel all that energy and feeling of a good night of sleep. In many research studies, scientists and doctors say most adults should sleep from 7 to 9 hours, but it surely depends on each body and lifestyle. Think about how you feel after a terrible night of sleep where you had to study or work until late and wake up early. Did you produce better than if you had slept more? Another important point, apart from the hours, is: try to get away from Social Media at least one hour before going to bed to make your body relax as well as your eyes. Give your mind a break and this moment of joy at the end of your day.
6) Go off the grid
Have you given yourself a Social Media break yet? Nowadays we could say it is a kind of detox. There are interesting and funny things online, but also full of bad news and comparison between people - especially on Instagram. It is totally understandable if you feel like checking your Social Media to talk to friends, posting and getting updated, but what about giving a break from all of this? Try a couple of hours, one day and maybe a weekend. Live the real moment instead of the virtual all the time. Pay attention to the people around you, the sounds and smells. Try to spend the weekend in a place full of birds and nature, bring a book and make this “detox” whenever you feel like it. Our minds also need a break from this parallel world.
7) Enjoy the Nature
How often do you go to the beach or a park? There are such beautiful places to disconnect a little bit. If there is some nature around your house, try walking for ten minutes after lunch, before heading back to work and just feel the breeze, listen to the birds and feel the sun. Our body needs this break from the computer and you will probably come back ready to the second half of the day.
How many books have you read this year? If you don't like to read, have you tried reading about something you love? Reading develops the mind and works on the creative side, not to mention how your writing skills, as well as interpretation of ideas, can be improved depending on the consistency. It is also an excellent way to disconnect from the virtual world as well as focus on a different subject apart from work, study and housework duties.
9) Eat well
Are you giving the food your body deserves? How have you been treating it lately? The way you eat corresponds to how your immune system will react to external factors. Having lots of vegetables and fruits is a good start and avoids greasy food and sugar in high quantities too. Pay attention to your body because it talks to you all the time through different signs. It needs the best because you are already an awesome person.
10) Complain less
There are things in life that we cannot control and many people tend to keep complaining instead of finding a solution. It is okay to complain one time or another, but try to avoid making this a habit. You may think no, but it does bring bad energy to where you are. Try to see the bright side of each situation, bring possibilities of changing the scenario and smile. It is not the end. It is a phase in which everyone passes through good and bad. Think where it can be improved and ask for help whenever you need.
11) Surround yourself with good people
This is a bit of common-sense and not always easy to control, but have you thought about the difference when you are surrounded by positive people and negative/toxic people? Both positiveness or negativeness can be contagious and if your Mental Health is not good, you will probably be affected by negativity, so, whenever you can, choose the people you deserve to have by your side.
And in case you do not fit any of those ideas and you need some extra help, think about looking for help by a professional who can give you proper guidance. The hardest is to start. Once you do it, no matter how your mind and body will certainly react on the way you are looking for when you least expect it. Take care! :)