Looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health. After all, mental and emotional health is tied to overall well-being, too. Positive mental health permits individuals to realize their complete potential, besides coping with stresses of life, contribute meaningfully to the community and live a happier life. Early experiences can shape life in later times; thus, working on emotional well-being from earlier stages of life to build a foundation for well-being and overall health.
Anxiety, panic, mood and impulse control disorders are linked to higher chances of risk behaviors like tobacco, alcohol, other drug usage and risky behavior, partner and family violence, besides other chronic and acute physical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Chances of premature death are also higher.
What Can Be Done to Counter Mental Health Problems?
The focus should be on promoting positive early childhood development including violence-free homes and positive parenting. It facilitates social connections plus community engagement across the lifespan. Individuals and families are needed to provide positive mental well-being. This promotes quick and early identification of mental health requirements and access to quality services.
Governmental authorities needed to ensure data collection is in place to identify emotional and mental health needs. This includes safe shared places for individuals to interact, such as parks and community centers through community development plans that foster healthy relationships and positive mental health among residents of a community. The focus is on ensuring those who are needed, such as vulnerable groups, can be identified and placed under mental health care. Integrated mental and physical health care systems with particular attention to underserved areas are crucial.
Further, businesses and employers can also safeguard employee mental health, by taking steps to reduce stress and provide flexible work schedules, adapted work stations and assistive technologies. Mental health services are included as a benefit on health plans and encourage employees to use services as required. Providing education, outreach, and training to address mental health issues in group and insurance health plans are also essential for employees to benefit.
Then comes the role of insurers, health care systems, and clinicians. Educating parents on normal child development and conducting early childhood intervention programs is the key to emotional well being and good support for mental health. Clinicians may even undertake home visits for pregnant women and new parents. Another crucial role clinicians can play is to screen for mental health needs and refer individuals to treatment and community resources, as required. They can also develop integrated programs to manage mental health conditions within primary healthcare settings. Enhancing communication and data sharing with social services is the key to meeting the mental health needs of community members.
Schools, colleges and universities also need to safeguard students from abuse, violence, bullying and social exclusion. The aim is to build social links and promote positive emotional and mental health. The focus is also on implementing programs to identify risks and early indicators of emotional, behavioral and mental problems among the youth. Referral for those at risk for mental health conditions is critical.
The role of the community in warding off mental health issues cannot be stressed enough. Such communities provide space and organized activities, including people with disabilities and older individuals. The community should also promote support for youth and child development programs like volunteering, peer mentoring, etc. Promoting the inclusion of youth with mental, behavioral and emotional problems is also essential. Key community members should be trained to identify at-risk individuals and refer them to mental health care professionals. The community can play a major role in expanding access to mental health care, through support groups. The focus should be on providing quality health care.
What You Can Do To Counter Mental Health Issues
As an individual with definite ideas and a distinct personality, people need to work to build positive links with friends and family. Community involvement in the form of mentoring or tutoring youth or joining a spiritual or faith-based community is important. The focus needs to be on motivating yourself to feel positive and be comfortable talking about problems, besides seeking assistance when required.
Tips for Building Resilience
So, how do people deal with stressful or tough situations that change their lives? The death of loved ones, loss of a job opportunity, terror attacks, serious diseases and other kinds of trauma can change your life for the worse. Many people respond to traumatic events with strong emotions and uncertainty. Most individuals adapt well to life-changing situations, however. So how do you make those vulnerable to mental health problems more resilient to psychological disorders? The key to this lies in building resilience.
#1 Make Connections
Good understanding and relationships with close family members, friends, and others matters. Accepting help and support from those who care for you and listen to you builds your mental resilience. Being active in faith-based or local civic groups can also boost self-esteem and insulate you from mental conditions. Assisting others in times of need is also the way to build your self-worth and bring about a change in the ability to make connections.
#2 Don't See Crises As Insurmountable
While one cannot alter the fact that stressful events happen all the time, you can change how you perceive, interpret and respond to the events. Look beyond the present to see if future circumstances may be better. Note different ways in which you might feel better as you deal with difficult or tense situations.
#3 Accept Change
Accept that change is part of the living process. As a result of difficult or adverse situations, certain goals may no longer be acceptable. Accepting and realizing that certain circumstances cannot be changed, while others can is also crucial.
#4 Move Towards Goals
Resilience building is all about developing realistic goals. Something needs to be done with regularity for it to feel like an accomplishment. This works to further move you towards goals. Rather than focusing on the impossible, work on achieving goals that are easier.
#5 Work On Decisive Action
Don't be reactive, instead work on being proactive. Taking decisive actions is important. Act on adverse situations as effectively as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than working against the problems and stresses and wishing they could go away.
#6 Explore Opportunities for Discovering Yourself
Individuals often learn things about themselves and find they have grown as a result of struggles and problems. Many people experiencing hardships and traumatic life events have learned how to battle adversity. Research shows resilient people have better relationships, and greater strengths even while feeling vulnerable. Additionally, there is increased self-worth, more deepened spirituality and a greater appreciation of life.
#7 Nurture a Positive View of the Self
Developing and instilling confidence in yourself to solve problems and trust your judgment builds better resilience. Keeping things in perspective matters, even when facing painful events. Consider the stressful situation in a broader context and you'll maintain an effective long term perspective. Don't blow things out of proportion.
#8 Maintaining a Hopeful Outlook
Having an optimistic outlook enables the expectation that good events will happen in your life. Visualize what you want, rather than what you fear.
#9 Take Good Care of Yourself
Pay attention to feelings and needs, for these really matter. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxation in. Take care and nurture your mind and body. That way, when crises arise, you can be really resilient.
More ways of building your resilience may really help you. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings pertaining to trauma or other stressful life events. Meditation or spiritual practices can help in restoring the mind-body connection and building hope. The key is identifying ways to work as part of the personal strategy for fostering resilience.
Understanding the Mind-Body Link: Why Positive Mental Health Matters?
People who have good emotional health are aware of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. They have acquired a healthier way to cope with the stressors and problems of life. They also feel good about themselves and have a healthy relationship with others.
Many things that occur in life can disrupt mental health. This can trigger sadness, anxiety or stress. Good or wanted changes can be as stressful as unwanted ones. These include:
- Being laid off from a job.
- Your child leaving or coming back home.
- Coping with a loved one's demise
- Getting married or divorced.
- Suffering an injury or illness.
- Gaining a job promotion.
- Experiencing money issues.
- Moving to another home.
- Having or adopting a baby.
How Emotions Impact Health?
The body responds to the way one thinks, acts and feels. This is the basis of a mind-body connection. When one is upset, stressed or anxious, the body reacts in ways that tell you something is not right. For example, one may develop high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer after stressful events such as a loved one's death.
Strategies for Working on Emotional Health
There are many ways to improve emotional health. Firstly, the focus needs to be on recognizing and understanding why negative emotions are catching on. Sorting out causes of sadness, stress, and anxiety in life can help in managing emotional health effectively. So managing your emotions is also an important part of managing mental health.
#1 Express Yourself
If there are feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety, this can lead to physical problems. Keeping the feelings inside you can end up making you feel worse. It is important to let your loved ones know when something bothers you. But at times, your friends and family members may not be able to help you to deal with feelings and emotions effectively. Ask the mental health practitioner for help instead. Consult your family doctor, counselor or even religious and spiritual clergy for advice and support for improving emotional health.
#2 Living a Balanced Life
Focus on those things for which you are grateful for, in life. Don't obsess about issues at your work, home or school that trigger negative or counterproductive emotions. This does not mean one has to be happy when stressed, upset or anxious. It does, however, mean, that despite dealing with the negative feelings, the focus is on positive things in life. Keep track of what makes you feel happy or peaceful. Research has revealed having a positive outlook can improve the quality of life and give health a boost. One may also need to find ways of letting go of things in life that make one feel stressed or unable to cope.
#3 Work On Building Emotional Resilience
Resilient people can cope in healthy ways with stressors. Resilience can be developed or built with different strategies. These range across having social support, keeping a positive attitude towards oneself, accepting change and ensuring things remain within perspective. A counselor or therapist can help in achieving the goal with CBT. Ask doctors for relevant coping strategies you can learn.
#4 Calm The Mind and the Body
Calming the mind is the first step towards relaxing the body. This includes meditation, listening to music, using guided imagery CDs or mp3 players, and focusing on yoga and Tai Chi. These are effective ways to bring emotions into balance. Free guided imagery videos are also present on YouTube. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take on different forms. For example, stretching, exercising or breathing deeply might help. Ask the doctor about relaxation methods.
#5 Work on Your Health
To have exceptional emotional health, it is important to take care of the body by following a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting adequate sleep and exercising to release the tension. Avoid overconsumption of foods and don't abuse drugs or alcohol, as this just causes issues like health and family problems.
When Do You Need Help?
Adverse emotional health weakens the body's immunity. This makes it more likely for you to have colds and other infections at emotionally difficult times. Also, when stressed and anxious or upset, you may not be able to take care of health as well as possible. Mental health problems can make you feel bad about yourself and less likely to exercise, eat nutritious foods or take medicine prescribed by a doctor. Alcohol may be resorted to, along with drugs and cigarettes. Signs of poor emotional health can also bring about physiological symptoms. This includes the following:
- Weight loss or gain that is extreme.
- Upset stomach and GI issues.
- Sweating and stiff neck.
- Shortness of breath.
- Sexual problems.
- Palpitations of the heart and cardiac arrhythmia
- Lightheadedness and problems in sleeping or insomnia
- High blood pressure and headaches
- General aches and pains
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness
- Dry mouth, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Chest pains and changes in appetite.
Your doctor needs to know about your feelings and problems in personal life. He or she cannot tell you that you are stressed, upset or anxious just by seeing you. It is important to tell your doctor if you have these feelings. First, he or she will ensure that health problems are not related to physiological conditions. if symptoms are not caused by health problems, your doctor needs to address the emotional causes of the underlying symptoms. The doctor may also suggest ways to treat the symptoms while working to improve emotional health.
You definitely need to see a doctor if negative feelings don't go away and are so strong, that you cannot enjoy life. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, it's time to talk to a doctor, for treatment using therapy, medicines or both. Questions you need to ask your doctor include:
- How can I cope with stress better?
- My life is perfect. Why am I not happy?
- Are health problems triggering the stress or vice versa?
- I don't feel I have stress. Why is my body responding this way?
45 Psychological Hacks to Improve Mental Health
Each of us is a unique, complex individual and our minds are no different. As per the National Science Foundation, research shows humans have anywhere from 12K to 15K thoughts per day. This fact makes it hard to manage your personal life effectively, for some. By internalizing certain psychological hacks, you can move towards positive mental health. Here are the ways you can improve mental health through these 45 awesome psychological hacks:
#1 Be Clear About What's Great In Your Life
All the time things work out well for you, make sure you recognize that they do. Rather than waking up each morning anxious about what did not get done on the to-do list, focus on what works well. Make a list of all the times you've actually won the battle and winning the war on mental health will no longer seem so tough.
#2 See Failure as a Stepping Stone to Success
No success is ever complete, no failure is ever final. Recognizing this fundamental fact of life can help you to feel better. Learn from all the mistakes, gather your resources and work towards success.
#3 Protect Your Emotional Well Being
Another thing is to protect emotional well-being with quality sleep, slow deep-breathing and plenty of H20. Staying calm and hydrated is one of the best and most time-tested hacks.
#4 Make Your Peace With the Worst Case Scenario
Consider options when catastrophic thinking derails the mood. Close the eyes and visualize your worst outcomes. Then, think of the ways you can cope without getting stuck.
#5 Smile More Often
Smiling in the face of stress is not easy. Studies suggest doing what has the best health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants with low heart rates were smiling more than those with neutral or emotion-free expressions.
#6 Enjoy Exercise
Exercise needs to be fun. There's no sense in forcing yourself to work out at a gym if it's monotonous and boring. Hit the high school tracks, park or boot camp and get fit again. You can even try home exercise videos and workouts in the open air.
#7 Don't Explain Yourself
You need to talk less and work more on keeping yourself confident. Justifying your moods, actions, words or behaviors is not required to the extent you think.
#8 Stay In Touch
Staying connected with family and friends is the key to a successful life. Keep significant others in the loop and stay emotionally anchored with the support of people who care for you.
#9 Keep a Watch On Your Diet
Another thing to watch out for is the connection between nutrition and good health. Eating those burgers and fries may not be such a good idea.
#10 Interact with Pets
Pets can be great for your emotional and mental health. They are non-judgemental, loving and caring.
#11 Share Talent
When it comes to understanding what defines you, your strengths and talents should be on the top of the list. Don't think about what you don't have. Instead, think about what you do. Help others and help yourself to see what a talented individual you are.
#12 De-Clutter Your Surroundings
Get rid of unwanted clothes, kitchen items, tools, gadgets, old furniture – in short, anything that is taking up your physical space and making you feel mentally cluttered.
#13 Help Others
Help the underprivileged and learn about what you can do to enrich the lives of others, and in doing so, boost the self-esteem.
#14 Pay Attention to The Present
Living in the past will not help you. Common tendencies and fearing the future are not enough. You need to cherish the moment and realize it's the only one you've got.
#15 Give a Hug!
Sometimes, it's all about small gestures such as sharing a group hug or giving a high five. These small gestures of affection can add up to a confident, healthy and strong individual, assured of his or her connection with others.
#16 Plan Your Day
Spend some time planning your day first thing in the morning and capitalize on the opportunities for growth and self-development.
#17 Take A Break
If you come across skeptics saying “Who needs a break?”, tell them everyone does! When it comes to dealing with stressful events, take the time to reflect and grow from the experience.
#18 Don't Opt for Alcohol or Smoking
Drugs, alcohol, smoking – these are all unhealthy and dangerous methods of coping with mental health problems. Find better and more positive ways to cope than succumbing to addiction.
#19 Organize Yourself
Keep your mobile phone charged. Designate a spot to hang your car keys. Just organize yourself. Work on de-cluttering surfaces like work stations and kitchen counters, for less stress and a deeper sense of control.
#20 Give People Who Are Stressful a Time Out
Always pause before responding to individuals who are straining your nerves, rather than combating them and coming off as emotionally disturbed. Focus on bolstering mental health by managing people who stress you out, instead of merely reacting to them.
#21 Move Past Patterns and Habits
Self-destructive habits or wrong patterns of behavior need to be checked. One often gets stuck in habitual patterns of behavior. However, life is constantly evolving and things may not work any longer. The key is to adjust accordingly.
#22 Maintain Personal Hygiene
Letting yourself go is the worst thing you can do when negative emotions surround you. Good habits form the cornerstone of mental health. So, whether it's flossing your teeth every night or combing your hair frequently, watch out for those little things that can end up making a big difference.
#23 Avoid Dull Colors While Dressing for the Day
You'd be surprised at how much colors can impact your mood and emotions. For example, gray is a color linked to lack of energy and low involvement, as well as passivity. Red is vibrant and lively. So, dress as per the goals you have for yourself and make sure you wear colors that brighten your day.
#24 Take a Holiday
Studies show that holidays tend to release the tension and help you to relax comfortably. Taking day trips to relax and ease your tension is the way to coping effectively with your emotions.
#25 Take Time Out For Yourself
And it doesn't even have to be an expensive vacation. Make Sunday your personal care day, get a massage, enjoy some brunch, catch up on leisure reading or additional sleep.
#26 Don't Focus on Stress-Provoking News
Mindless brain candy includes Facebook, sensational news, interesting current events and set the timer for a few minutes and move on when time is up.
#27 Be Honest About Your Emotions
Ask yourself if you are falling into the same tendencies of negative behaviors and emotions while stressing out. Notice how to make a difference.
#28 Listen to Connect or Learn New Hobbies
Listening to others with the goal to connect or learn a new hobby is effective. Catch yourself when you enter the response mode and you are way more interested in the agenda than taking in what the other individual is trying to communicate.
#29 Work Creatively
The work needs to focus on creativity and going against conventional methods to solve the problem. Otherwise, office stressors will bring you down.
#30 Make Your Day A Peaceful One
Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual during the week. Moving slowly and with purpose sets you up for a peaceful and calm day, so that you are in control. It should not be the other way around.
#31 Steer Clear of Stressful People
It is important to be able to steer clear of stressful individuals. This is because they tend to drive the stress levels up. So watch out for this.
#32 Don't Choose to be Stressed
There are many options available for you. Rather than choosing to be stressed, the focus needs to be on opting for ways to calm down and relax.
#33 Leave the Drama Aside
The drama should be left where it belongs: at the movies! Your peace of mind is more important than indulging your emotions. So, focus on what matters most.
#34 Don't Over-Analyze
It is also important to think faster. As this may sound counter-intuitive, mulling, over-analyzing and delaying decisions is not helpful. Trusting yourself and making the right decision matters most.
#35 Keep On Moving
One of the hardest parts of depression is fending off inertia. Small steps can make a big difference. Happiness is a habit and rewiring the emotional template is the key to effective guidance.
#36 Add Spontaneity to Your Day
The important steps to take part in include playing, dancing, skipping, telling a joke or adding fun and spontaneity to your day.
#37 Focus on Solutions, Not Problems
If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Remember to focus on solutions, as this can make a difference in growth opportunities.
#38 Designate Specific Time in a Day For Worrying
Designate 15-20 minutes per day to worry or schedule it near the end of the school or work day. When the time for the day to end arrives, you'll be occupied and understand your worries are not so pressing.
#39 Practice Mindfulness
Another crucial step to take is to practice mindfulness. The aim needs to be to promote a calm, relaxed feeling and build the presence of mind.
#40 Look For Only What's Good
Look for the good in others and yourself. Find a balance of structure that suits your lifestyle. If one is a type A personality, it's important to do less and if one is prone to depression, the need of the hour is to do more. One of the best ways to get back into the groove is moving rhythmically, not too fast or slow.
#41 Avert Smartphone Addiction
Limit the time spent on your smartphone. Constantly check emails, social media updates and text and risk losing your productivity and emotional balance.
#42 Commit To Promotion of Mental Wellness
Act with firm intent to promote mental wellness each day. Take active steps to safeguard your mental health.
#43 Be Sceptical About Social Media
Social media channels are edited realities. So, relying on such sources for validation or emotional sustenance is bound to fail.
#44 Check For Medical Conditions
Visit doctors to rule out physical conditions that cause more anxiety or depression. Do avoid self-diagnosis or Google search.
#45 Focus On Healthy Thoughts
Healthy thoughts should be an important part of your day. Rewire negative or unhealthy thoughts by asking if thoughts are based on reality. If this is the case, choose actions to remedy situations. Remember that negative bias works against you, especially when recalling situations. Memories tend to default for negative events and discounting positive events. Embrace healthy thinking. Positivity can help you every step of the way.
Stress Management Hacks You Can Us
Headaches, the tension in the back or tightened jaw or even not sleeping well are all linked to stress, inevitably. It plays on your mind and coping with the problems is always tough. So, how do you rediscover the joys of life, when you are facing problems? Use these stress management hacks to stave off anxiety and keep depression at bay.
#1 Gain a Sense of Perspective
A lot of what we worry about may never come to pass. When it does, we can find ways to cope with the situation, irrespective of that. So accessing wisdom and perspective when we are stressed and out of control makes a big difference. Reflect back on incidents that happened and understand the stressful event no longer has the power to impact your daily life. Find a way to deal with problems and remember how resilient you are when faced with adversity. Realize worries are not the big deal the mind makes these out to be.
#2 Rethink Stressors
Give thanks for the stress in your life. The body and the mind actually alert you to something out of balance in your present life. When stress grows, give yourself positive reinforcements and know that you can overcome the problem. Take the fear out of fear. Remember stress does not occur in response to trauma alone. Bodies and minds can also experience stress during times of change or even positive events. It is important to remember health levels of stressors can hone concentration and propel you to act.
#3 Imagine Your Alternatives
Worrying is a method of defending yourself. By thinking up negative outcomes constantly, however, chronic stress accumulates. Catastrophizing is more dangerous than you think. When you find yourself facing an emotional meltdown, take some paper and pen down your stressors. On one side of the paper, write down the very worst outcomes possibly arising from the stressor.
For example, this could be anything from losing a job to becoming homeless. Write down the most imaginable consequences, no matter how ridiculous they are. Judging the best and worst-case scenario demonstrates how remote the possibility is likely to be. In reality, most things boil down to the middle point. Take a step further and plan proactive steps to take, so that the middle ground is manifested.
#4 Cultivate Mindfulness
There's a new buzzword in town: mindfulness. Originally an ancient and popular Buddhist practice, this has powerful applications for anxiety and stress. The focus needs to be on living in the present and paying intentional attention to what is done now, with non-judgment and curiosity.
#5 Break Negative Mental Circuits
The brain is much like a highway and forms well-worn paths of worry easy to go down when one feels stressed. When your cycle of thoughts takes on a negative spin, stop yourself. Break the circuit with a distraction and take your thinking in another direction.
#6 Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Another powerful physical tool to release tension in the body and mind at one shot is progressive muscle relaxation. Essentially, you need to find a quiet, peaceful place and close the eyes. Tense your body and take in a hard, deep breath. Then release the tension by breathing out for a long period. Work progressively up your body, releasing tension that way.
#7 Use Positive Tunes
Music alters the brain waves and brings on good vibes really fast. It reduces the heart rate, leads to regulation of blood pressure and lowers stress hormone levels in the brain. Classical music can be really relaxing. But any tune you enjoy can have a positive impact on stress levels.
#8 Write Down Your Worries
Writing is a potent way to debrief from daily worries and link deeply with oneself. Physically committing concerns to paper can also power thoughts and take the burden off your mind. You can write whatever comes to the mind, or even opt for a structured account of the day. Keep a journal listing things that you are grateful for. When you feel drawn towards negative emotions, clear your mind by listing down your worries.
#9 Do Breathing Exercises
When the body is stressed, there tends to be shallow breathing. We gulp in more air than expelled. If long, slow and deep breathing is practiced, stressors can be eliminated. Two favorite ways to destress are deep breathing and yoga.
Strategies for Maintaining Good Mental Health
You need to be skilled at caring for yourself. It's not just about keeping the body physically fit. Ensuring that the mind stays balanced and happy matters, too. When sometimes therapy and medicines are needed to achieve mental wellness, there are certainly small, but effective strategies that can help, too. Here are the best ways to cope with the issues:
#1 Maintain a Good Posture
Firstly, we all tend to slouch some of the time. It's quite natural to hunch while driving or on a computer screen. Slouching signals poor self-esteem, besides causing back or neck pains. One is more likely to recall negative memories that make you feel powerless and small. So, it is essential to straighten up in order to boost your self-esteem and ward off depression.
#2 Write Down What You Are Grateful For
There's a strong link between happiness and gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal or a daily gratitude list is important. These are the smallest things in everyday life. Allow your brain to go over the day to find something to be grateful for and let it fill you completely.
#3 Try Singing
If you're fond of singing, it's time you exercised your vocal cords. Studies have found singing in groups can make you happier. The act of singing reduces stress hormones and helps people to amplify a positive effect. One will also be less lonely in a group.
#4 Take a Break From Social Media
Social media is a great way to keep up with friends, but when one gets anxious over likes, re-tweets, shares or followers, it's generally a good time to take a social media break. One does not have to give up technology at once. Have the freedom to decide when you are going to log off and come back calmer and fresher. Staying off social media will grant more time for F2F interactions and make one feel connected.
#5 Let Negative Emotions Not Overwhelm You
Try out new ways to cheer yourself and use everything from movies to retail therapy for this. What you wear can impact how you feel. Scientists have referred to this phenomenon as enclothed cognition. An outfit that offers comfort and compliments your features can offer a tremendous boost to self-esteem. The best part is one does not even have to buy anything.
#6 Relax Without a TV Show!
It's not a good idea to make TV pre-rest entertainment. To get a good night's sleep, one needs to give the brain some time to shift into sleep mode. To ensure your brain is not overactive, it is essential to take time to drift off and a regular book (not the electronic version) is the best deal. You will end up feeling less groggy.
#7 Embrace Nature
If you feel you have accumulated a lot of stress, take the time to revel in nature. Researchers have found people who took a nature walk performed better tasks that required creativity and attention than those strolling through the city or relaxing indoors. The simplest way to detox and relax in is a nearby green space. Take advantage of natural sites like parks and gardens.
#8 Soak Up the Sunlight
Vitamin D, namely the sunshine vitamin helps bodies to build strong bones and also helps to fend off depression. When UV rays in sunlight touch the skin, it converts vitamin D in the skin to a usable form. Just a few minutes of direct sunlight on the exposed skin can make a difference to the mood. It's important to apply the sunscreen and go out for full benefits of natural sunlight.
#9 Write a Thank You Note
For every positive gesture out there, you actually feel good, even if it is a thank-you note. Recent research has proven thank-you notes can make you and your recipient feel better. Never underestimate the positive psychological impact and feel uneasy about the message being misinterpreted. Express gratitude more often and a little note can be just as powerful.
#10 Smile More
Scientists studying neural networks have found that every time you smile, feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins are released. This sends the brain a message that one feels good. This eases stress and pain levels and also lowers the blood pressure as well as the heart rate. So basically, if you smile more, you live longer. When other people smile at you, the same mechanism is activated in your body. This is why smiles are so contagious. Focus on putting a smile on your face to uplift the mood and help those around you.
#11 Get Omega-3 Fatty Acids Into Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to bring on different kinds of health benefits. Lowering the risk of depression and schizophrenia is not enough. If you are a senior, opt for Omega-3 fatty acids to slow down brain aging. While some people prefer Omega-3s from supplements like fish oil, eating certain foods can also be the perfect way to build fatty acids. Omega-3 rich foods include fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon. Plant-based foods like seaweed, walnut, soybeans, and spinach are also rich in this nutrient.
#12 Prepare Your Schedule
Organizing yourself is all about building a sense of control in life. Knowing what to eat next by making your own meals also boosts self-control. Plan and prepare your food ahead of time to ensure it is consumed in a healthy way throughout the week. This also frees individuals from wasted time.
#13 Own Pets
One of the best de-stressors is owning pets and spending time with them. Simply keeping pets around can cheer you up and make happy. Research shows even the smallest interaction with pets causes the release of oxytocin. This is a hormone associated with relaxation and a sense of satiety. If one does not own a pet, one can hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at animal shelters close by.
#14 Take a Bath and Relax
After a rough, long day, there's nothing more relaxing than a warm bath. The warmth comforts the body and soothes the mind. For example, in one Yale study, participants who were given a hot pack had a tougher time sharing depressive events in their lives. The quiet and peaceful experience of a warm bath and essential oil can calm the nerves and warm up the body and heart.
#15 Eat Dark Chocolate
Chocolates are awesome for brain health, too. Cocoa used to make chocolate is packed with flavanol, an antioxidant that prevents memory loss. Studies show flavanol also helps in uplifting the mood and easing depression. While pure cocoa is ideal, it is bitter for the palette. Chocolate with over 85% cocoa is suited, but anything under 70% cocoa makes no difference.
#16 Enjoy a Creative Session
Humans are always drawing and painting since times immemorial. The need to express one's self by carrying out creative activities is within our genes. When there is an urge to unleash creativity, it can really work well. Medical researchers also suggest activities which are creative are excellent for mental well-being. Whether it's sewing, cooking, writing, painting or gardening, the benefit is being able to stay calm and focus the mind. Creativity also keeps the brain young.
#17 Create Conditions for Restful Sleep
This is just a small adjustment you need to make when you go to sleep, as your body temperature changes. It lowers when you settle into bed and climbs slightly as morning commences. The room becomes hard to sleep in if it is not cool. The optimal room temperature recommended by the National Sleep Foundation is anywhere from 60 to 67 degree F or around 19-degree Celsius. Cool your room before bed and experiment to find out which temperature offers the most comfort.
Meditation is one of the most beneficial practices for investing time in. It calms the body and the mind and leads to less stress and more mindful states of being. A 2018 study sponsored by the US Defence Department found meditation helped individuals with PTSD. Another study suggested that combining physical exercise and meditation can reduce symptoms of depression and improve brain activity. Even some minutes of meditation per day can prove helpful.
#19 Value Yourself
Treating yourself with respect and a kind attitude helps to avoid self-criticism. Work on your hobbies, favorite projects and broaden horizons. From a crossword puzzle to planting a garden, taking dance lessons, learning fluency in another language or playing an instrument, there are many things you can work on.
#20 Work on Physical Health
Taking care of physical health improves mental health. Ensure that you eat nutritious, fiber-rich meals, avoid smoking and tobacco, drink enough water, exercise and get adequate sleep. All of this can decrease depression and anxiety, besides improving the mood. Get adequate sleep as researchers believe lack of sleep leads to massive depression.
#21 Surround Yourself With Exceptional People
Those with strong family or social connections are healthier than those lacking a support network. Work on building support with family members and friends, and seek out activities where new people can be met, such as clubs, classes or support groups.
#22 Donate Your Time
Volunteering time and energy to help others will always stand you in good stead. You'll feel great about doing tangible things to help others in need. It's a wonderful way to meet new people.
#23 Cope with Stressors
Stress is an everyday part of life. The focus should be on practicing good coping skills. Try Tai Chi, exercise, journal writing, playing with pets or enjoying a nature walk to reduce stress. Remember to smile and see the humor of life. Research demonstrates that laughter boosts the immunity, eases pain, relaxes the body and lowers stress.
#24 Quieten The Mind
Try meditation or prayer. Relaxation and prayer can improve the outlook towards life and mental states. Research shows meditation enhances the feeling of calmness and boosts the impact of therapy.
#25 Set Realistic Goals
Decide how you need to achieve your goals, whether they're academic, professional or personal. Set high aims but be realistic and don't overschedule. Enjoy the sense of self-worth and accomplishment as you move towards the goal.
#26 Make Room for Change of Pace
While routines can make us more efficient and enhance security and safety, change of pace can rev up a tedious schedule. Plan a road trip, alter jogging routes, walk in different areas or try new restaurants.
#27 Avoid Smoking, Drinking & Drugs
Keeping alcohol to a minimum and avoiding smoking and drugs are a good way to safeguard your mental and emotional health. Sometimes, people use alcohol and drugs to self medicate, but these only cause problems in the long term.
#28 Get the Help You Need
If you are in emotional turbulence, seek help because it's a sign of strength, not weakness. Treatment can also prove effective, as people who recover from mental illness or addiction and lead complete, rewarding lives.
Boost Wellness and Health With These Strategies
Without careful attention to diet, you can end up being Freshman 15. Follow these tips to keep your diet healthy and beneficial:
#1 Understand Proper Portion Size
To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, track how much you are eating. For many people, meat servings are generally around the size of card decks and other servings vary depending on the type of food.
#2 Vary your Meal Size
When a cafeteria has favorite foods every day, it can be tough to return to the old favorites. Changing dietary habits every day can be an important part of your nutritional plan, so take advantage of the selections available.
#3 Eat Breakfast
Here's another tip for all you workaholics out there. Eat breakfast if you want to start your day off right. A balanced and healthy meal can make all the difference to your mental health!
#4 Choose Healthy Snacks
It is easy to eat healthy if you want to stock your dorm with fruits and healthy snacks. These will be more effective than junk food items.
#5 Avoid Alcohol
Another important tip is to avoid alcohol. Addiction of any kind is a debilitating disorder. But perhaps substance abuse is the most dangerous of these. And if you cannot avoid alcoholic beverages, ensure that you drink in moderation.
#6 Watch Out for Emotional Eating
Don't fight stress by eating, although it can be tempting to do so. Avoid reaching out for those cookies or chips, when you are stressed about an exam around the corner or a work presentation. Emotional eating is rarely a solution for combating stress. To avoid this, try taking a break or working out.
#7 Stay Hydrated
Drinking adequate water in a day can help to boost focus and prevent individuals from overeating. Ensure that you stay hydrated as you traverse the day by bringing water with you.
#8 Limit Sugary or Caffeine-Rich Beverages
Beverages do not fill one up, but they can fatten you up and damage your overall health. While you don't have to give up coffee or soda, scale back if you want to get into top shape.
#9 Try to Eat Veggies and Fruits
Even if the fruits and veggies don't include your favorite ones, try to incorporate at least a few into the diet daily.
#10 Limit Junk/Processed Foods
Junk food is not good for your health. Eating lots of it is not an effective idea. While a little fast food does not hurt, make sure you don't make a regular habit of it.
#11 Make Nutrition Convenient
It is essential not to make it hard to eat right. Buy healthy foods and stock the fridge or room with them so that they are easy to access when you set off for a snack.
#12 Indulge Your Senses
A little treat now and then is a great idea for engaging in a healthy diet. Give yourself a big break and enjoy the food you love but cannot have all the time.
#13 Take Vitamins
If you need nutrition to from the diet, supplement it with multi-vitamins to remain disease-free and healthy.
#14 Watch Out for Eating Disorders
While a lot of groups focus on helping students to lose weight, there's the need to fend off eating disorders as well. If you feel worried you have an eating disorder and require help, reach out for a medical professional who can help you with it.
Fitting exercise into a busy schedule is not always easy, but taking stock of these tips can help you to get on track.
#1 Stretch First
Help yourself to avoid injuries by stretching each and every time you exercise. Simple stretches before and after the workout or engaging in physical activities can keep you active and pain-free.
#2 Ride a Bike to Work/School
Instead of taking a bus or driving to class, you can opt for biking instead. It offers the way to get exercise between the courses.
#3 Play a Sport
A way to get motivated is to make it to the game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or recreational sports through the school to get active and enjoy the experience at the same time.
#4 Use Safety Equipment
No matter which sport is being played, always ensure that proper safety equipment is being used. It keeps individuals from getting hurt and allows one to remain active often.
#5 Head to a Gym
Schools/offices provide students/workers with gym facilities they can enjoy for free. Head to the gym between classes or in the morning or just squeeze in a workout during an office break.
#6 Benefit from Fitness Courses
Along with gym facilities, most folks can access fitness classes taken. These are generally comprehensive and one needs a workout that helps individuals to stay in shape and motivates you.
#7 Walk Often
While taking public transport may be quicker, walking gives you a chance to strengthen and tone your body, stretch your legs, burn calories and relax before the next class.
#8 Blend Different Exercises in the Routine
When you work out, just don't stick to a single type of workout. Use strength training, cardio and stretching exercises to make your routine a comprehensive and holistic one.
#9 Make it Fun Filled
If you are bored with your routine or find the experience torturous, you need to make it fun-filled and enjoyable instead.
#10 Work With a Gym Buddy
When you work with a gym buddy for your workout routine, you will always make the effort to show up. Take advantage of peer support groups and strengthen your physical and mental health.
The Health Benefits of Exercise
Regular exercise is excellent for the body. Exercise remains one of the most effective ways to improve mental health. Consistently exercising can have a profound impact on depression, ADHD, anxiety and more.
It also serves to relieve stress, boost memory, and help you to sleep better. Additionally, you don't have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research shows how the smallest amount of exercise can make a difference. No matter what your age or fitness level, you can use exercise as a tool to feel better.
Mental Health Benefits
Exercise is not just about muscle size or aerobic capacities. Exercise can also improve the physique, trim the waistline and boost your self-esteem. It can even add years to your life. What motivates most people to stay active is the wish to live longer. But what should also motivate them is the wish to live healthier, especially when it comes to mental health.
Individuals who exercise regularly do so because it offers them tremendous well being. They feel more energetic, sleep better during the night, have sharper memories and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves.
#1 Exercise and Depression
Exercise is revealed by research to be able to treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. This is without the side effects. Along with relieving depression symptoms, maintaining an exercise schedule can even prevent a relapse.
Exercise is a powerful force for fighting depression for a lot of reasons. It promotes different types of changes in the brain, including reduced inflammation, increased neural growth and new activity patterns that promote a sense of calmness and well being. It also releases powerful chemicals in the brain called endorphins that energize you and make you feel good. Exercise can fend off depression by making you feel good and in control, as well as serving as a source of distraction.
#2 Exercise and Anti Anxiety
Exercise is a natural, effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves stress and tension. It also boosts physical and mental energy and enhances well being through endorphins release. This can really help you to get better benefits if attention is paid instead of zoning out. The sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the wind against your skin or the breathing patterns are all part of the growth process. By adding the element of mindfulness, you can improve your condition faster, by interrupting the chain of worrisome thoughts.
#3 Exercise and Stress
When under stress, the muscles in the face, neck, and shoulders can get tense. This can leave you with neck or back pain. Or even painful headaches. One may feel a tightness in the chest, muscular cramps or pounding pulses. Problems such as diarrhea, heartburn, and insomnia or frequent urination can also be other outcomes. The worry and discomfort of these physical symptoms create more stress and a vicious cycle between the body and the mind.
To break this cycle, it is important to exercise. Besides releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activities help to relieve tension in the body and relax the muscles. As the body and mind are closely linked, when the body feels better, so will the mind.
#4 Exercise and ADHD
To reduce symptoms of ADD/ADHD and improve mood, memory, concentration, and motivation, physical activity is the way to boost the brain's neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This impacts focus and attention in distinct ways. Exercise works much the same way as ADHD medicines like Adderall and Ritalin
#5 Exercise, PTSD and Trauma
Evidence indicates that by focusing on the body and how it feels when one does exercise, one can actually activate the nervous system to move out of immobilization stress responses characterizing trauma or PTSD. Rather than permitting the mind to wander, focus it on attention to the physical sensations in the joints and muscles, like insides of the body move. The exercise involves cross movement and engages arms and legs like walking, swimming, weight training, running or even dancing. Outdoor activities include hiking, sailing, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and even white water rafting have been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms.
#6 Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise
The endorphins that make one feel better also help in concentrating and feeling mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise stimulates new brain cells and wards off age-related decline. It also promotes higher self-esteem. Regular exercise means investing in your body, mind, and soul. When it becomes a habit, the sense of self-worth is fostered and makes one feel powerful and strong. One feels better about their appearance and meets exercise goals to feel a sense of achievement.
Even short bursts of exercise in the afternoon or morning can help in the regulation of sleep patterns. If one prefers exercising at night, relaxing exercises like gentle stretching or yoga can promote better sleep. Raising the heart rate several times in a week offers more benefits. Starting off with just a few minutes of exercise and increasing the workout as you feel more energized is important.
When faced with emotional or mental challenges in life, exercise helps in boosting health. Rather than resorting to drugs, alcohol or other negative behaviors that ultimately make symptoms worse, regular exercise needs to be the focus for boosting immunity and reducing the impact of stressors. Reaping mental benefits of health is easier, too.
How to Boost Mental Health Through Exercises
It's not essential to train at a gym, sweat buckers or run one monotonous mile after another. Mental and physical benefits of exercise can be reaped with moderate intensity exercise of 30 minutes five days a week. Two 15-minute or three 10-minute exercise sessions work just as well.
Even some activity is better than none. Start with a 5-10 minute session and slowly raise time. The more one exercises, the more energy there is. So eventually, you feel ready for a whole lot more. The key is to commit to moderate levels of activity, at least. As exercise gradually becomes a habit, one can try extra minutes or different kinds of activities. If one keeps at it, the benefits of exercise are multitudinous.
If you cannot find time in the morning, or weekdays, opt for weekends. A recent UK study found people who focused their exercise routines into 1-2 sessions experienced as many health benefits as those working out more often. Further, you don't have to suffer to get results. Research shows moderate levels of exercise are simply the best. One can breathe a little heavier, but yet not out of breath. The body should feel warm, but not overheated or extremely sweaty.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Ironically, the very thing that can help has obstacles associated with it. When you're stressed or tired, working out can make you feel better, not worse. Yet people do not see physical exercise as an energizer. Studies show how regular exercises reduce fatigue and raise energy levels. If one feels tired, a short walk can be a motivator.
Another big obstacle is feeling overwhelmed. When you are depressed or stressed, the thought of adding other obligations can seem overwhelming. Working out is not doable. If you have children, managing childcare while exercising can be a real hurdle. Physical activity helps us to do everything in a better way.
Even when you're starting at ground zero, working out is still easy. Exercise can help in getting into shape. Start with low impact movements a few minutes each day.
If you're your own worst critic, it's time you changed! If you have physical impediments like disabilities or injuries that limit mobility, talk to healthcare providers about how to exercise safely. Don't ignore the pain and try exercising to reduce muscle or joint issues.
Exercise whenever you feel depressed or anxious, or even stressed out, with mental or emotional problems. This is more so for depression and anxiety patients. When you're facing mental health issues, it is best to focus on what matters.
Try a few different things, like exercising in ways that are enjoyable. Fill yourself with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Additionally, wear clothing that offers comfort and chooses a calming or energizing setting. This includes city parks, quiet corners or a scenic path. Reward yourself for every milestone you achieve. Exercise can even become a social activity. If you don't have 30 minutes to dedicate to a yoga or bike ride, think about other activities you can follow. Make exercise a fun-filled exciting part of everyday life.
Tips for Restful Sleep
#1 Take a Nap
If there is a time in the day, a short nap can really work wonders for energy levels. Don't nap too close to bedtime or for a lengthy period of time, though. A nap will benefit your body in different ways.
#2 Don't Work On Your Bed!
Your bed is meant for sleeping. It should not be a workspace. Keep the workspace separate from your sleeping area.
#3 Always Get a Good Night's Sleep
Always opt for a good night's sleep, whenever possible. While the amount of sleep varies, most individuals need to sleep for 7-9 hours to feel completely rested. Try to get a whole night's sleep whenever possible.
#4 Stick to the Schedule
There are different types of classes and work hours every single day. While it's hard to get to stick to the schedule, keeping sleep times similar across the day can improve the chance of a good night's rest.
#5 Understand the Impact of Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep has a huge impact. It reduces the ability to focus and makes you more prone to negative emotions.
#6 Work Out the Right Time to Sleep
If you're sharing a room with someone else, especially, this tip is really handy. It is hard to go to bed when you need and not wake up when you don't want to. Work with roommates to reach a common consensus regarding bed timings.
#7 Avoid All Nighters
While studying all night to do well can be a real disservice, not getting enough sleep further damages your ability to excel at academics. The same holds true for the workplace. So make sure you get a little sleep before the big test.
#8 Create a Bedtime Routine
If you have a problem going to sleep, try combating insomnia and mental health issues by creating a routine that lets your mind and body know bedtime is approaching and you slip into sleep mode.
#9 Avoid Caffeine and Heavy Meals at Night
Avoid coffee or caffeinated beverages or eating and drinking right before bed. These activities can throw your body's internal clock into a tizzy so avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages before bed.
What Does It mean to Be Mentally Healthy?
Mental health refers to overall psychological well-being, as it encompasses the way you feel about yourself, the quality of relationships and your ability to manage and deal with difficulties. Strong mental health is not just the absence of mental health issues. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is more than just freedom from depression, anxiety or psychological problems. Mental health refers to positive characteristics like the following:
- Contentment and satisfaction
- Zest for life
- Dealing with stress effectively
- Imbued with a sense of meaning and purpose
- Adaptable to change and flexible to learn new skills.
- The ability to maintain relationships
These are the positive characteristics that promote a strong relationship and a productive, meaningful life. These positive characteristics help when coping with life challenges and stresses. Having solid mental health does not mean you'll never experience emotional problems. Disappointments, losses and changes are a normal part of life. They cause anxiety, stress, and sadness, too. Strong mental health means being able to bounce back from life's disappointments.
Those who are emotionally and mentally resilient can cope with difficult situations and maintain an outlook that is positive. They remain focused, flexible and productive in bad as well as good times. Resilience also makes such people unafraid of uncertainty or new experiences. A solution can easily be found.
Anyone can suffer from mental or emotional problems. It can happen to anyone. Research shows 1 in 5 people suffer from diagnosable mental disorders. Yet despite this, no one ever makes an effort to improve their situation. Emotional messages are ignored and one is constantly toughing it out. But the truth is that embracing your issues can be hard, but essential if you want to overcome health problems.
Work on managing your moods and building resilience. Just like physical health, it takes effort to maintain mental health, too. Make social connections. Understand and accept your symptoms. And work on your health if you want to beat the mental disorder. Remember that disease may not be in your control, but health is definitely in your hands.