Make it a personal goal to improve your mental health now instead of waiting for a crisis. Mental health self-care is an important aspect of life just as physical care.
Just as taking care of your body, improving your mental health requires that you establish healthy habits.
However, habits alone cannot cure mental health problems, you need to pair them with mental health checkups. If you feel like you are already in crisis seek professional mental health care.
Give thought to these habits that can improve your mental health. You will realize that you can apply most of these suggested habits to your physical health as well.
1. Meet your body’s nutritional needs
Our survival on this earth depends on the food. Food is a basic need, therefore, lack of it causes uncomfortable physical symptoms. Have a healthy relationship with food by eating in moderation.
A habit of regularly starving yourself will gradually affect your mental health. As the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man. How true that is!
Biologically, hunger leads to low blood sugar levels which lower your serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain which is responsible for happy feelings.
Hunger causes irritability. Frequent hunger leads to mental health deterioration due to the presence of constant anxiety and irritability.
Work hard to always have food on your table and meet your body’s nutritional needs. Keep healthy snacks near you to prevent spending many hours without food. Your mental health and body health cannot survive without food. When you feel like you do not have appetite over a considerable amount of time, it is time to seek medical help.
2. Resist temptations
You may encounter pressure from family, friends, the society, and the media that elicit desires in you that can compromise your mental health. Your peers might try to cajole you into doing certain things which go against your standards.
The media exposes us to exaggerated expectations of beauty, empty promises and catchy advertisements which prompt you to buy stuff so that “you can be a real man” or “the most beautiful woman.”
Improve your mental health by training your mind to regularly resist the urge to seek quick gratification. Practice the habit of delaying gratification.
When you resist temptations, you avoid reckless habits such as binge eating, alcoholism, drug use and other mentally harmful behaviours. It keeps your self-esteem intact and the achievement that comes after is the presence of positive mood rather than a negative mood.
3. See the good in yourself and others
Form a habit of seeing the good in other people instead of focusing on their weaknesses. Whether it is people who you know or not, whether they are unknown people or celebrities, have respect for other people.
Many magazines, online forums, social media channels have become a common source of bad gossip and rumours about other people. Give yourself a mental health boost by actively avoiding such material. Do not take part in hurtful gossiping social situations.
A constant habit of shaming, insulting or harshly criticizing other people is not good for your mental health. When you do that you are lacking something that makes you need to put others down in order to feel good about yourself. Instead, build your self-esteem by looking for the good in yourself and others.
Keep positive thoughts about yourself and others, forgive others for their mistakes and be the wise person who does not spread bad rumours or gossip. Peace of mind is good for your mental health. Therefore, maintain habits that elevate your peace of mind and improve your mental health.
4. Walk away from negative people
Establish a habit of associating with people who inspire you to move forward and engage in useful conversations. Some are bad for your mental health because of their toxic behaviours.
Recognize toxic people and then, gracefully walk away from relationships and friendships that provoke negative emotions in you all the time. This might be hard to do given that some toxic people are people you love.
Nevertheless, your mental health is very important because it decides your level of personal success. Avoid social chats that always make your anxiety levels to rise for useless reasons instead of calming your mind. Chose to improve your mental health by the habit of walking away from situations and people who threaten your mental well-being.
5. Practice smiling
Smile when the chance to smile presents itself. Smiling can make you feel happier even when you do it despite not feeling like it. Practice smiling at yourself every day in the mirror.
Smile at people who you interact with at home, work, in the streets, shop and other social places. Deliberate smiling releases calming chemicals in your brain which lead to feeling better. Actively engage in activities that make you smile.
Also, laugh when you find the chance to laugh even if it is a forced laugh. “Laughter is the best medicine” is so cliche but it is not a lie. Laughter improves your mental health because it trains your brain to release happiness boosting chemicals.
When you no longer enjoy the things that you used to and smiling or laughing is a problem to you for a few months until you find yourself unable to see the humour in obvious humorous situations, it is time to seek the help of mental health professionals.
You probably have noticed that the major way to improve your mental health is to focus on feelings of enjoyment and things that bring you joy. Good mental health means a good state of mind. You cannot always be happy because some things in life are beyond our control.
However, you can improve your mental health by practising habits that promote a good state of mind. Show yourself some self-love by taking your mental health seriously and sticking to healthy habits in your daily life.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.
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