12 Tips to Improve Your Mental Wellness
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Most of us go through our days without even considering the state of our mental well being. Mental wellness is a vital part of our overall health, and it is intricately connected to our physical wellness. Before we discuss the 12 tips you can use to improve your mental wellness, lets first define what mental wellness is and the factors that impact it.
What is Mental Wellness?
Mental wellness relates to the overall health of our mind, our emotional wellness, our social competency, our sense of self-fulfillment, and our ability to cope with stressors.
The state of our mental well being is constantly changing due to a variety of factors and the current circumstances of our life. Due to its fluid nature, mental wellness is hard to balance at times. Life events can cause our mental well being to become unbalanced, and sometimes those events are out of our control. So what factors play a role in our mental well being?
Factors That Impact Our Mental Well Being
There are many factors that can impact the state of our mental well being, some are in our control, and some are not. Some of those key factors are our genetics, emotional wellness, our environment, finances, sleep, social connectedness, spiritual well being, and occupational satisfaction. Many of these factors have an interchangeable effect on both our mental and physical health. Now that we’ve covered all the basics, let’s jump right into the tips to improve our mental state.
12 Tips to Improve Your Mental Wellness
1. Take Care of Your Physical Health
As I mentioned before, our mental and physical health are both intertwined, so it goes without saying that we need to take care of our physical well being too. This includes seeking medical attention when we are sick or injured. Our bodies also need the proper nutrients to stay healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet will ensure our body has everything it needs to fight off ailments and stay in top shape. When you feed your body the right foods, you also feed your mind. Another part of caring for your body involves drinking plenty of water. Since our body is made up of 60% water, we need to take in enough to stay hydrated. Extreme dehydration can have a devastating effect on our physical and mental functions. The final tip regarding our mind-body connection is to avoid substances that harm our body, like smoking or excessive drinking. Not only can they cause a lot of damage to our bodies and put us at risk of serious health issues, they also hinder our daily functionality. All in all, when we take care of our body, we are in turn caring for our minds since the two go hand in hand.
2. Get Some Good Quality Sleep
We have all heard this tip many times before, but the reality is that sleep plays a vital role in our health. When we sleep, our body gets a chance to repair itself; however, the repair stage only happens when we enter the REM stage (Rapid Eye Movement). If you don’t reach that stage, you don’t repair. During this stage of sleep, our body repairs damaged cells and recharges our brain to leave us feeling rejuvenated the next day. The general rule of thumb is that we need about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you struggle to get to sleep, try putting away your electronics an hour before bed and listen to relaxing music.
3. Take Care of Your Mental Health
This may sound redundant, but it’s not, some people struggle with mental illness, and when those conditions are left untreated; they can compromise or mental well being. If you struggle with mental illness or you notice signs of trouble ahead, seek professional help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help or at least talking with your doctor about your concerns. Taking care of your mental health is not a set it and forget it kind of situation, it requires a constant check and balance.
4. Develop Coping Mechanisms to Combat Stress
Stress is a regular part of life, so it is essential that we develop healthy coping mechanisms or strategies for dealing with stressors. What do I mean by healthy coping mechanisms? A healthy coping mechanism is a behavior or activity that helps you deal with stress and doesn’t harm your body or mind. Try finding a hobby or activity that makes you feel relaxed rather than a bad habit like smoking. Find something that makes you happy and relaxed that won’t harm your body. Another option for the times when you don’t have time to engage in a hobby would be breathing exercises or meditation. Coping strategies can combat the horrendous effects of stress on your physical and mental well being.
5. Try Meditation
Meditation has long been known for its ability to quiet the mind and reduce stress as well as anxiety. If you struggle with anxiety or just find that your life has become too stressful, meditation can help you stay balanced. There are a number of books and apps that can teach you how to meditate and inform you of the many benefits it has to offer. Other alternatives include yoga or Tai Chi, this can help you kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you learn to cope with your stress and improve your mental wellness, you will also get some physical activity in too.
6. Get Out And be Active
Our minds need stimulation to stay sharp and avoid stagnation, by getting out of the house we provide our brains with that much-needed stimulation. Our brains need stimulation to stay active, but they can’t stay active when we sit inside and stare at a screen all day and night. Getting some exercise outdoors gives us new sights, smells, and sounds to take in. Also, getting exercise releases endorphins which boosts our mood and combats stress, anxiety, and depressing moods. Not to mention the added benefit of getting some Vitamin D from the sun, which is also a mood booster. Find a way to work at least a 30-minute physical activity into your daily schedule. If you can’t, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car farther away from the grocery store for some added activity.
7. Exercise Your Mind
Just like our bodies need exercise, so do our minds. Our brain needs to be challenged regularly to stay on top of its game and to prevent mental disorders such as dementia or Alzheimers. Try doing a brain teaser, crossword, or Sudoku in your spare time to really push your brain to think harder and solve problems. If you’re hanging out with a friend or loved one get them involved too, challenge them to a game of mahjong, scrabble, or clue. Other alternatives include learning a new skill or hobby like playing an instrument or learning how to paint. Whatever activity you choose, just don’t forget to exercise your mind, its a muscle too.
8. Make Time For me Time
Everyone needs downtime, a few minutes or an hour in the day that is meant for just you. Our lives have become so busy with appointments, work, and errands, it can be easy to get burned out. If you want to improve your mental wellness and keep your mental well being in check, you must make time for me time every single day. Even if all you can spare is 30 minutes to just sit down and watch trash TV. Our brains need a break in our day, a chance to stop working and just relax. Find a pleasurable activity that makes you happy. Try taking a bath, reading a good book, or watching your favorite show, whatever you choose. It’s like they always say on planes in the case of an emergency, please put your own mask on first then your loved ones; in other words your no good to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Humans are, by nature, social creatures, and a big part of maintaining our mental wellness involves social interaction. We need social interaction, social bonds, social support, and we need to feel connected with others. All of these things make use feel happy and give us a sense of belonging. Without social interactions, it can make us feel isolated. Spending time with friends and family can really boost your mood, stimulate your brain, and provide you with a great support network.
10. Enjoy The Little Things in Life
The hustle and bustle of our daily routines paired with all the stressors we encounter can make it difficult to stop and smell the roses. Make sure you try to stop and enjoy the little things in life, like a funny cat video, or your morning coffee. Sometimes it’s those little moments that help us get through those tough days or get from one moment to the next. Find the time to laugh at goofy cartoons, your never too old to enjoy silly things and to act a little goofy. That’s how you know you enjoyed your life rather than going through the motions. Make it your mission to have at least a couple of good laughs every day of your life. We have enough things to be serious about in life, so choose which things you must be serious about and which ones you can choose to react differently to.
11. Treat Yourself
It seems like bills are never-ending, no matter how much you plan and save there is always a bill waiting to eat it up. You have to put aside some money to treat yourself, no matter how tight things are. Financial issues have a way of turning your life upside down and making you feel unhappy and overwhelmed. Even if you aren’t having financial troubles, you need to be able to treat yourself. It might mean buying a coffee each morning or getting your nails done once a month or going on a date night. However, often you wish to indulge, it is worth every penny if it makes you happy.
12. Be Positive And Love Yourself
Self-love is an integral part of our overall mental wellness. We are all guilty of listening to that negative voice in our heads that picks at our flaws and ruminates about our weaknesses. It can be really hard to stay positive and not give in to the little bully in our heads. There is no need to pick on ourselves; there will always be enough people out there willing to doing that. To be truly happy and fulfilled in life, we have to love ourselves and be our own cheerleader. When I was young I heard a saying if you can’t love yourself how can you expect others to. What he means is that you teach others how to treat you. Do some soul searching to find out what you love about yourself, practice saying positive things to yourself every day. By doing this, you will significantly improve your self-esteem and sense of value.
Maintaining your mental wellness is a fluid process that requires constant work. Our 12 tips can help you work towards improving and achieving a better state of mental wellness.