10 Daily Habits to Support Your Mental Health
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Mental health is a trending topic in today's world - and for a good reason! The World Health Organization states that mental health is a fundamental human right. Good mental health is crucial for all your daily activities. It affects how you react to stressful situations, how you connect with other people, how you make decisions, etc. In short, it affects how we act, feel, and think.
Poor mental health can lead to health conditions like depression, anxiety, insomnia, eating disorders, addiction, etc.
On the other hand, good mental health makes you realize your full potential, enhances your work productivity, improves your relationships, and helps you fit in and contribute to your community.
You can not control or change your genetics, family history, and stressful situations. However, you can control your daily habits to promote your mental health. Let's dive right into this.
1. Get active
When exercising, your body releases the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin. That way, it's not only good for your physical but also your mental health. It is proven that exercise relieves stress, helps with depression and anxiety, improves sleep, and raises self-esteem.
You don't have to do vigorous training. Choose exercises you like and feel comfortable doing. It can be a simple walk around your neighborhood, a hike in the mountains over the weekend, yoga, dancing, or gardening. If you sit a lot at work, stretching every hour can tremendously impact your mental and physical health.
Find an activity you enjoy and incorporate it into your daily routine.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is the number one thing to improve if you want to support your mental health. It is not just the amount of sleep you get that matters. The quality of sleep is also crucial. Try to get more than six hours of sleep a night. While sleeping, your whole body rests, and your mind has the time to reset.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid caffeine and energizing drinks at least three hours before sleep. Make sure your sleep environment is clean and quiet.
If changing your sleeping routine doesn't help, ask a sleep therapist for more information.
3. Follow a healthy diet
Healthy food is not good just for your body; it also helps your mental health. Serotonin (known as the happy hormone) helps regulate your biological clock. It is important for better sleeping, but it also plays a significant role in your appetite, emotions, and physical functions. It is the key to your emotional health. So eating food that boosts your serotonin levels can make a huge difference. Food rich in tryptophan (the amino acid that helps serotonin production) include eggs, cheese, turkey meat, bananas, plums, spinach, pineapple, nuts, etc.
Remember to drink plenty of water during the day. Enough fluid means your body cells will get all the necessary nutrients.
And last but not least: have your morning coffee. Having one cup daily decreases the risk of mental health issues by 15%.
4. Limit your screen and social media time
Take a rest from your smartphone and laptop. Being constantly connected to technology makes you compare yourself to others. Sometimes, you may feel like others accomplish or have more than you. This can lead to depression and loneliness.
There are a few things you can do. You can take a weekly day off the grid and hang out with friends and family that make you feel good. Or you can limit your daily time spent online. Today's smartphones have apps that can help you track your social media activity.
5. Volunteer and help others
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When you give your time to others and, in the process, you help people in need, your self-esteem boosts. Other benefits of volunteering include gaining new skills, improving your confidence, making new friends, physical and mental well-being, valuable business skills, and a sense of connection.
Even small acts of kindness towards other people can improve your mental health. Simple things could make a huge difference:
- listening to a friend in need,
- saying thank you to someone who did something for you,
- or spending time with friends or family members who need company.
These are all great options.
You need to know when it's time to take it easy. Resting isn't just sleeping. There are a few relaxation techniques that you can try: biofeedback, guided imagery, deep breathing, massage, yoga, tai-chi, meditation, aromatherapy, etc.
By relaxing, your blood pressure lowers, stress levels reduce, and muscle tension reduces.
Another way to rest and relax is by having a warm bath. You can put Epsom salt in your bathtub, which will help increase your magnesium levels. Magnesium promotes better sleep and can reduce stress.
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7. Be grateful
Many things in your life are worth being thankful for. Try journaling to write what you are grateful for daily. You can also include writing about the things you accomplished that day.
Gratitude is a great way to have a positive attitude, even when life hits you in the face. When you have a journal, you can return to what you are grateful for and think positively again. You'll be surprised by how much this will help your mental health.
8. Get plenty of sunshine
Recently, we have heard a lot about the risks of too much sun exposure. Even though too much sun can harm your health, responsible exposure to sunshine has many benefits. The sun is a great natural source of vitamin D. It also increases your serotonin levels. That way, your mood improves, and you sleep better.
All you need is 5-15 minutes in the sun a couple of times a week.
If you work inside and don't have much time to go out, try soaking sunrays through open windows or have lunch in a park.
Remember to wear sunscreen if your sun exposure lasts longer than 15 minutes.
9. Do things you like, and learn new skills.
While learning new skills, your job options diversify, and you can keep up with all the changes in fast-changing technologies. But learning new things has other benefits.
It helps you connect to other people, raise your self-esteem, and builds your sense of purpose.
Try to find activities you like and enjoy doing. There are many options; take time, remember what you wanted to do as a child, and do it. You can take a cooking class, pottery, write a song, learn a foreign language, take painting lessons, work in your garden, and do some DIY projects. The list is endless. And the benefits for your mental health are priceless.
10. Connect with others
During the Covid pandemic and all the lockdowns, people became distanced from each other. Thankfully, all the restrictions are now behind us, and we can return to the lives we had before.
Social interaction and good relationships are as crucial for your mental health as exercise and healthy food.
Use technology to keep in touch with friends and family that don't live near you. Turn off the TV and play games with your family. Go for a lunch or coffee break with a friend you lost touch with. Spend time with a friend or family member who is sick or needs help.
And do all the things with a smile on your face. Laughter is the best cure for a bad mood.
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The bottom line
Prioritizing your mental health is essential for leading fulfilling and balanced lives. The impact of good mental health is about more than your own well-being. It influences various aspects of your daily life, including how you interact with others, handle stress, and make decisions.
Plus, poor mental health can lead to various conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and addiction, which can significantly impair our overall quality of life.
While you may not have control over certain factors like genetics, family history, or stressful situations, you do have the power to cultivate healthy habits that promote mental well-being. The suggestions outlined in this blog provide actionable steps that anyone can incorporate into their daily routine.
Remember, each small action counts, and the benefits of investing in your mental well-being are immeasurable. So, let's prioritize our mental health and embark on a journey of self-care, growth, and happiness.
Sources: NHS, Mental Health America, Carolina Wellness, Healthline, Bestmade Natural Products, Tri-City Medical Center, UtahState University