We live at the mercy of stress, we hide sadness, we force joy and we forge emotional states to look good in the eyes of others. But you know that it doesn’t have to be like that! The WHO (World Health Organization), from year to year, puts the issue of “Mental Health” on the agenda. And it does so mainly by alerting us to the need to take care of the mind in the same way that we take care of our physique.
Living a healthy life, based on total well-being, requires that we also pay attention to mental health. Take care of yourself and be happy! Here we give you 7 steps to improve mental health.
- Pay attention to signs and seek help:
Poor sleep, lack of appetite, apathy, sexual disinterest. These are some of the most common symptoms of depression, but these are far from the only issues that affect mental health.
Lack of sleep or sleepless nights can generate indisposition, bad mood, restless mind, impair our logical reasoning, and lower immunity. Don’t think about hours of rest as “wasted time”. A rested mind is the guarantee of an efficient mind, that is, it buys time. The ideal is to sleep regularly from 7 to 8 hours a day. This number can vary for some people and in the extremes of age.
Anxiety and excess stress with a consequent inability to deal with it, are other factors that affect mental health and that can be detected with some signals that the body gives. The first step is not to ignore what you feel and the second is to seek help. And let it be clear: going to the psychologist or psychiatrist is not at all a sign of weakness.
- Do what makes you happy:
Do you like listening to music? Take 10 minutes a day and focus on the chosen melody. Want to learn a new language? Look for an online course and challenge yourself.
Do you feel happy amid puppies? Find an animal support association and volunteer. Including activities that generate pleasure in your routine has a positive impact on mental health. But don’t make the mistake of putting too much pressure on what you do. If these tasks are seen as an imposition and an obligation, the feeling of frustration may increase.
- Have healthy habits:
Eat well, sleep eight hours a night, and exercise. These are aspects that contribute not only to good physical but also mental health. The old maxim of a healthy mind in a healthy body has never made so much sense and small habits of personal care can make all the difference.
Don’t underestimate the power of physical activity. Prioritizing physical activity in your routine is fundamental to your health as a whole. The latest and best-quality scientific evidence points to exercise as a first-line treatment for anxiety, mild depression, chronic pain, premenstrual disorder, and many other medical conditions. Getting your body and mind in tune is critical to your mental health, and exercise can provide you with friendships and increased self-love.
- Be grateful and celebrate your achievements:
In the eyes of others, it may seem like a ‘small thing’, but the meaning depends on how important it is. By celebrating, you send positive signals to the brain, and focus attention on achievements (small and large). By giving thanks, you are also focusing attention on what has been going well.
- Try to cultivate good thoughts:
Optimism or knowing how to focus on the good side of things is an exercise that, in addition to providing relief from stressful thoughts, brings mental resilience.
In other words, believing that things will get better can help us a lot to face life’s challenges. This exercise ends up building a natural habit and makes us more apt to overcome and grow with difficulties.
Even so, it is not always easy to maintain this attitude in the face of adversity. Therefore, it is important to know that you can count on the help of a professional to see the world from a different perspective.
- Practice Mindfulness:
There is a lot of scientific evidence that proves that practicing mindfulness or meditating every day has benefits for our cognition and emotional state.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present situation, without judgment of what you do. This can be practiced even in everyday actions, such as taking a shower. Try it: when you turn on the shower, try to focus on the sound of water flowing through the pipe and into the shower. As you enter, feel the water through your body and focus on that sensation. How does your hair feel, your skin? How does the soap feel? And so on.
Take a few minutes out of your day to notice how your body is feeling and what thoughts are going through your head. There are several methods of practicing mindfulness, the important thing is that you break the automatic behaviors and thoughts throughout the day that can accumulate, generating anxiety and mental confusion.
- Filter social networks and persons:
Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not the best way to captivate friendships and keep in touch. The amount of joint information these media bring can generate a lot of anxiety, in addition to the feeling that you should be where you are not.
People save the best moments of their lives to be shared on social media, and let’s face it, looking at pictures of your friends when you’re working hard to pay the bills might not be very healthy at the moment. So, if you feel anxious and tend to put yourself down, try not to follow these media so many times a day and filter the content and unknown persons that appear to you. In case you find joy in talking to strangers online, it is recommended to use Nuwber to verify their identities. Not everyone is out there to become your friend, some people have malicious intentions.
By following these steps, you will certainly improve your mental health. If needed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Recognizing your limits requires maturity and courage. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone when you’re not feeling well. After all, we all have problems and reasons for suffering. Sharing our difficulties is the first step to preventing damage to our mental health.