Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Mental health has always been crucial, but it’s particularly relevant in the current times where the pandemic continues to deliver its brutal blows and can feel like an eternal challenge. And while all of us are doing the best we can to cope, it’s time to take ownership of our minds along with our bodies. It is possible to achieve mental well-being by incorporating these simple yet effective ways and ensuring a more content and positive living. So, if you are someone looking for ways to improve your mental health or help others do the same, read on.
– Exercise and nutrition: While this might sound like a bit of basic advice. Let there be no doubt about how imperative these are as a basis for your mental and physical well-being. Try removing excess sugar, processed carbs, meat and junk food from your daily intake. Remember, meals that rely on fresh fruits, fibre and greens help promote a happy gut and mind. Additionally, there’s no shortage of research highlighting the positive impact of some form of daily workout on the mind and body. According to a study, as little as 15- 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity in a day can significantly prevent depression. Exercise also ensures the release of happy hormones, keeping you in a positive frame of mind. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Have you ever dragged your feet to a workout session because you are low on motivation? But feel on top of the world once you get done? Well, there’s your happy hormones and your mind thanking you.
– Maintaining sleep hygiene: Sleep is not overrated! Although there’s some individual variability in needs for sleep, generally getting your 7-8 hours a night is crucial for mental well-being. Lack of sleep can impact your mood, cause tiredness, and create problems in your ability to focus and function day-to-day. You can maintain good sleep hygiene by removing or switching off all electronic screens before bedtime. If possible, keep your tv in a separate room. Try finishing dinner at least two hours before bedtime. Late-night heavy meals often interrupt sleep cycles, making you feel bloated and tired the next day. Create your pre-sleep ritual – a warm bath, relaxing music, or light reading helps relax your mind and prepare it for bedtime. Finally, try and keep a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed on time makes a massive difference to the quality of your sleep, hence impacting your mental health.
– Get involved in your community or get out and socialize: Although the two aren’t one in the same thing. Both ensure human interaction and participation. Volunteering or coming together as a community helps with self-esteem and gives rise to a sense of belonging. Similarly, when socializing with friends, reconnecting with a loved one over a cup of coffee or a walk counters feelings of isolation and encourages sharing thoughts and feelings. This in turn improves your overall well-being.
– Learning healthy coping techniques: Relaxation methods that are part of positive coping skills play a preventive role when addressing mental health issues. Developing strategies to destress regularly helps you deal with day-to-day pressure and strains without losing control. What is more, it prepares you in the event of unannounced stress. Practising mindfulness, meditation and seeking a mental health counsellor for regular check-ins are ways you can teach yourself healthy coping techniques. We all know, learning anything during a prevention phase is so much better than a full-blown crisis.
– Being Grateful: Maintaining a gratitude journal is a powerful way to acknowledge things and people you are thankful for in your life. This exercise not only reminds you of all that is good and precious. It also allows you to visualize and connect with the universe through positive affirmations, leaving you feeling loved and supported. Incorporating this into your daily routine is easy. Choose a time and place of your convenience. It could be the first thing in the morning. Or last thing before you hit the bed. Or anytime during the day. Write down what you are grateful for and why. And if you prefer, you can communicate or express gratitude to people directly, which works just as well. It’s important to understand there is no right or wrong way of doing this. The benefits of this exercise are the same no matter how you choose to practice. Once you make it a part of your everyday life, rest assured you will not want to stop.
These habits have the potential to change how you live and approach anything in life. Practising them will not only make you more present, positive and productive, in your day-to-day life. It will also get you started on a more meaningful journey of self-observation and introspection. Ask yourself which of these habits can you start right away. Make a note, add reminders and stick to it to see if you feel any different. There’s nothing to lose. Only a better way of life awaits. In the words of the famous author Ruskin Bond, “The greatest victory is the one you win over yourself.” Start now and thank yourself later.
If you feel you need professional help or assistance with understanding your issues, contact us at Ward & Associates Psychological Services. You do not have to suffer and do everything on your own. Our counsellors are ready to help if you need individual counselling in Sherwood Park and online throughout Alberta. Give us a call and book your appointment today.