The journey to enhance mental health commences by grasping the components of a sound state of mind. The term “mental health” encompasses your social, emotional, and psychological well-being, essentially serving as the lens through which you perceive the world. When exploring avenues to boost mental health, it’s crucial to recognize that mental well-being is interconnected and doesn’t exist in isolation. Various factors contribute to your mental state, including brain chemistry, genetics, family history, lifestyle, and life experiences.
The intertwining of physical and mental health mutually influences your capacity to maintain relationships and engage in behaviors conducive to peace of mind. A mentally healthy perspective empowers you to effectively manage stress, confront challenges with assurance, and navigate life in a way that promotes thriving.
To help you improve your mental health, here are 7 best ways you can do it;
1. Make Sure You Get A Solid Seven Hours Of Sleep Every Night
Not getting enough rest can leave you feeling grumpy the next day, and prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. To ward off these problems and stay focused, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Beyond physical well-being, sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining mental health and managing issues like anxiety, depression, and stress. To improve your sleep habits, try to consistently follow a sleep schedule, including weekends, incorporate a relaxing bedtime routine involving activities such as prayer, reading, or journaling, avoid using your phone and laptop at least 30 minutes before going to bed and limit alcohol and caffeine intake in the hours leading up to bedtime.
2. Allocate Time In Your Schedule For Meditation Or Prayer
Engaging in prayer and meditation provides a means to connect with God or simply find stillness and deep breathing, particularly before or after a demanding day. Beyond spiritual advantages, both practices offer various health and well-being benefits, including reduced heart rate and blood pressure, enhanced stress management skills, improved memory and self-awareness, and better communication with loved ones.
To incorporate meditation or prayer into your daily routine, identify naturally quiet moments in your day, such as the morning upon waking or before bedtime, free from technological distractions. Alternatively, consider scheduling dedicated time for prayer in your calendar. By intentionally carving out space in your schedule for these practices, you increase the likelihood of consistent engagement and the associated physical, spiritual, and mental health benefits.
3. Detach From Technology Whenever Possible
Despite being designed for entertainment and connection, social media and other technological aspects can have adverse effects. For instance, frequent social media users are three times more likely to experience feelings of isolation compared to those who use it less. Many individuals also engage in social comparison online, leading to anxiety, depression, and diminished self-esteem.
Even if your use of social media is limited, there’s a risk of being overly connected. With more people working from home than ever, it becomes challenging to delineate between work and personal life when both unfold in the same space.
Whether you grapple with social media-induced comparisons or face burnout from excessive work-related technology use, unplugging from devices at the end of the day is beneficial. This practice aids in reconnecting with loved ones, elevating your mood, and facilitating the release of accumulated stress. Disabling non-emergency notifications on your phone or computer can also enhance focus on activities like meditation or prayer, contributing to better sleep.
4. Incorporate Daily Reading Or Journaling Into Your Routine
Whether you find solace in fictional escapades or seek knowledge from nonfiction, regular reading contributes to the enhancement of various skills such as analytical thinking, memory retention, and concentration. It serves as an effective means to unwind, especially after a day spent staring at a computer screen.
Moreover, engaging with spiritual texts, like the Bible, has been linked to lower blood pressure and a calming effect. Delving into self-help literature can assist individuals in managing mood disorders and addressing mental health issues.
Consistent reading not only improves your writing skills but might also inspire you to incorporate more writing into your daily life. Journaling, in particular, facilitates thought processing, provides a positive outlet for emotions, helps track goals, and encourages gratitude reflection. Expressing thoughts about challenging experiences through writing has even been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression.
5. Dedicate Time To Be With The People And Pets You Cherish
Spending six to seven hours with loved ones increases the likelihood of experiencing joy, as we are 12 times more likely to feel joyful on such days. If physically being together isn’t always feasible, a simple call or FaceTime session with a friend or family member can still significantly boost your mood. Moreover, reaching out to someone you care about can brighten their day.
For those who have pets, the company of these furry companions can also be a source of anxiety relief and joy. Petting animals has been shown to lower cortisol, a stress-triggering hormone, while increasing oxytocin, promoting happiness and bonding.
6. Consider trying a yoga class at your local gym
Yoga combines deep, calming breaths with gentle stretches, balancing, and core exercises. Whether offered in person, online, or both, yoga provides an excellent means to alleviate stress while incorporating a workout into your lunch break or early morning routine.
Guided by an instructor, you’ll focus on deepening your breath as you engage in stretches and movements, promoting increased oxygen intake, lowered blood pressure, and stress reduction.
Engaging in yoga contributes to both physical and mental well-being by combating anxiety and depression, reducing inflammation, pain, and fatigue, enhancing strength and flexibility, and improving heart health.
7. Make An Effort To Spend Time Outdoors And Engage In Physical Activity Regularly
Even if you’re not particularly fond of nature, a simple walk on a sunny day can have significant positive effects on your mental health. Activities like hiking, biking, or just taking your lunch break outdoors can elevate your mood and energy levels. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days, to benefit from Vitamin D exposure.
Incorporating gardening and yardwork into your routine also qualifies as time spent in nature and provides an opportunity for exercise. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins in the brain, enhancing self-esteem, reducing stress, and aiding in pain management. These combined physical and mental health benefits offer compelling reasons to embrace the outdoors and stay active.
Above all, make time for yourself– it makes a difference! Whether through prayer, meditation, rest, or time in nature, these activities rejuvenate you, ensuring you’re prepared to support loved ones and tackle the challenges of the day.
If finding quiet moments seems challenging, know you’re not alone. Consider joining in-person or virtual prayer groups, mindfulness sessions, or yoga classes to discover moments of tranquility and peace amidst a hectic schedule. Prioritizing your mental health becomes more accessible when you’re part of a supportive community!