Mental illness is a serious issue in the world today. Even before the pandemic started, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 20.6% of adults in the United States experience a mental health issue while one in 20 adults suffers from serious forms of mental illness.
Despite the fact that certain mental conditions are a product of our environment, genetic makeup, or a disease, it’s how you make decisions and take care of your mental state that prevents the onset of serious diseases. Here are a few tips to help you on the path towards better mental health.
1. Develop a Support Circle
Our social connections form an important part of mental wellness. Having close friends and family members provides us with the emotional support we need each day. As much as you may want to be self-sufficient, we still need other people to help us get through life’s challenges. When you are in bad shape, there is no harm in reaching out to loved ones who won’t hesitate to provide reassurance and advice.
Moreover, your friends and family members know you too well, so it won’t take long to notice a change in your behavior. In this case, they will be the ones who will reach out to help. With a healthy support system, you won’t have to feel alone in dealing with the challenges that are taking a toll on your mental health.
2. Stay Physically and Mentally Active
In most cases, a mental illness becomes worse if a person is preoccupied with their thoughts. A lack of outward activity can leave a person vulnerable to negative self-talk, unwanted flashbacks, and self-esteem problems.
The best way you can fight against these negative factors is by maintaining an active lifestyle. Exercising is proven to increase mood and develop self-confidence. It’s also a sure-fire way to improve sleep quality among patients who have depression.
In addition, a Harvard Medical School article points out that exercise can also help in the production of “feel good” hormones such as endorphin and enhance nerve growth. Mental activities are also effective in preventing mental deterioration and the symptoms of severe stress.
Games such as chess are often prescribed to people with dementia or ADHD. Likewise, creative activities such as painting and songwriting can also provide an emotional outlet for patience with post-traumatic stress disorder. Keeping your body and mind busy not only distracts you from negative thoughts and traumatic memories. It also provides another layer of protection to your mental health.
3. Keep Stress at Bay
No one is truly spared from stress. Whether it’s working overtime or struggling to pay off debt, there will always be situations that will disturb our mental peace. Stress can lead to a number of neurological effects. According to a 2017 study by a Rockefeller University researcher, stress can cause neural imbalances and alter a person’s behavior in the long term.
While we can’t prevent stressful situations from happening, we can at least make adjustments to daily living and change the way we react to stressful situations. It all starts with knowing how to take control of your time. Realizing your limits is the foundation of effective stress management. If you have a tendency to accept favors that only add to your daily struggles, it’s best that you say “no.”
Consider taking breaks and doing something that relaxes you during your spare time. Also, make it a habit to reward yourself after accomplishing a major task. In addition, you should avoid coping mechanisms that will only worsen your stress levels. Smoking and drinking too much coffee, for instance, will only increase your heart rate and aggravate your anxiety.
4. Eat the Right Food
The food you eat contains minerals that benefit brain function. These minerals include magnesium, potassium, and selenium. There are also nutrients that can help improve your mood and help you manage stress. Fiber-rich food such as cereals and oatmeal can serve as alternatives to junk food for coping with stress.
After all, the food you binge on during a long day at work may contain saturated fat. This prevents the absorption of nutrients that actually benefit the brain. If you want to experience better mental health, start by watching what you eat!
5. Get Counseling
If you or a loved one is experiencing a major disorder, there is no better option than to look for psychiatric services near your area. Psychiatric experts are trained to diagnose and treat a wide array of mental health conditions. They can also provide advice on how you can deal with stress or an addiction. Whether you have PTSD or develop chronic depression, seek out a professional who has a proven background in dealing with your specific problem.
Taking care of your mental health is important in this day and age, so consider these tips towards living a fuller life no matter the weather.