Mental health is much more than a simple diagnosis. We’re talking about your overall psychological well-being. While taking care of your mental health can mean seeking professional support, it also means taking steps to improve your emotional health. Making these changes will pay off in all aspects of your life. It can boost your mood, build resilience, and add to your overall enjoyment of life.
Tell yourself something positive
Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on your mood. When we perceive our self and our life negatively, we end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion. Practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
The body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins pre and post work out, making exercise a powerful antidote to stress, depression and anxiety. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Have a Good Diet
What you eat nourishes your whole body and that includes your brain.
Carbohydrates in moderate amounts increase serotonin, a chemical that has been shown to have a calming effect on your mood. Food rich in protein increase norepinephrine, dopamine, and tyrosine, which help keep you alert. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients that feed every cell of your body, including those that affect mood-regulating brain chemicals.
Include foods with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed). Research shows that these nutrients can improve mood and restore structural integrity to the brain cells necessary for cognitive function.
Be Open to Someone
Knowing you are valued by others is important in helping you think more positively. Plus, being more trusting can increase your emotional well-being because as you get better at finding the positive aspects in other people, you become better at recognizing your own.
Do something for someone else
Research shows that being helpful to others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. Being helpful and kind—and valued for what you do—is a great way to build self-esteem. The meaning you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life.
Take a break
In those moments when it all seems too much, step away, and do anything but whatever was stressing you out until you feel a little better.
Sometimes the best thing to do is a simple breathing exercise:
- Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths
- For each one, count to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four
- Exhale for another four
Go to bed on time
A large body of research has discovered that sleep deprivation has a significant negative effect on your mood. Try to go to bed at a regular time each day, and practice good habits to get better sleep. These include shutting down screens for at least an hour before bed, using your bed only for sleep or relaxing activities, and restricting caffeinated drinks for the morning.
Start today! You have the power to take positive steps right now to improve your resilience and emotional health. Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis to make your mental health a priority. Besides, it is easier to form new habits when you are feeling strong. You can then implement those habits when you need them most. Pick something from this article that resonates with you and try it. Then, try something else. Slowly putting in place routines, habits, and regular patterns will help you feel better through gradual change.