If you take a look at the news today, you’ll soon learn that record-breaking numbers of people throughout the country are struggling with mental health issues. It’s becoming a major epidemic in every age group and socioeconomic group in the country. However, there’s some good news about this epidemic.
Much like many of the ailments that attack our body, there are ways to prevent mental illness from getting the best of you. These 13 tips are scientifically proven tips on how to improve your mental health; reduce stress, improve your outlook on life, and help you avoid the pitfalls that can cause depression, anxiety, and more.
How to Improve Mental Health
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and legumes. In terms of mental health, you really are what you eat. Nutritionists revealed that eating a diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, and fatty fish gives your body vitamins that prevent depression and anxiety. By improving your diet, you make it possible for your mind to function at its best throughout the day. Bon appetit!
- Get at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. Scientists revealed that the sedentary lives we lead can be a major cause of mental health issues. According to them, just 20 minutes of exercise–any type of exercise–will improve your mood for hours after.
- Cut down on drinking and smoking. Substance use may feel like it’s helping, but it’s really not. Addictions only make things worse in the long run and contribute to mental health problems. The easiest way to decrease your chances of depression later on is to quit today.
- Take a step back from all the chaos and relax. In our society, we are often pushed to keep running and working around the clock. This isn’t healthy! Constantly working will make you anxious and upset, if only from the sheer amount of work you do. If you want to improve your life, do yourself a favor and take a step back to relax and have fun.
- Compliment yourself. It sounds corny, but hear me out. Take a moment to look in the mirror and find one thing about yourself that you appreciate. Heck, come up with a couple of compliments. When you get into the habit of seeing yourself in a good light, your self-esteem improves.
- Recognize that other peoples’ attempts of taking you down rarely have anything to do with you. If someone was totally happy with the way their life was going, do you honestly think they would take time out of their precious day to tear down others? Of course not!The only reason most people take the time to actively disparage others is because they don’t feel good about themselves and use hurt as a way to make them feel better. Once you recognize the haters for their envy and jealousy, it’s a lot easier to pity them rather than feel hurt by them.
- Turn off negativity around you. Being constantly barraged by negativity isn’t healthy, regardless of what kind of negativity it is. Whether it’s a friend who’s always gloomy, anxiety-sparking news about politics, or just self-deprecation, you owe it to yourself to take a step back and realign yourself with the positive.Don’t meet with that sorrow-filled friend today. Turn off the television. Go read something that’s fun and uplifting, or hit the gym. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. So, hang out with upbeat people and focus on sunny topics whenever you can.
- Learn new ways to handle stress. Believe it or not, most people don’t have very good coping mechanisms for stress—or they just rely on a single mechanism to carry them through everything. That’s not a good way to go through life! Take a look online to discover new coping mechanisms, and you’ll be able to handle a lot more of what life throws at you.
- Talk to someone. Believe it or not, many people might not know what you’re going through. If people close to you did, they may be willing to lend an ear or even help you out. Studies show that just venting to other people increases the amount of oxytocin your body makes, which in turn, boosts your mood and makes you feel more connected to other people.
- Try meditation. Studies repeatedly have proven meditation to be an incredibly powerful way to reduce stress, improve emotional wellbeing, and quiet your mind. If you’re having a hard time with life, meditation can be the tool you need to keep going when all else fails.You don’t have to pay a yogi or take expensive classes to learn how to meditate. Plenty of free meditation apps and guided meditation tours can help you learn to still your mind without any money being involved.
- Do something out of the ordinary. Did you know that relationship counselors advise couples who have grown resentful of being “stuck in a rut” to take new classes or trips together?Truth be told, a little break from the monotony can help you appreciate life more and “reset” your mood.
- Pay a compliment to someone, or do something nice for someone. Altruism isn’t just good for other people; it’s good for the altruist, too. Studies revealed that people who commit good deeds and compliment others feel better about themselves and have a better overall mood after they do acts of good.Even if it’s something along the lines of dropping change in a panhandler’s bucket, or complimenting someone on the great work they do, you will get an emotional boost from making others smile. Amazing, isn’t it?
- Pursue the goals you want. The easiest way to improve your mental health is to start working on things that matter to you. Not sure where to begin? Write down the goals you have for this week, and work towards at least one of them today. Every accomplishment you make towards a goal will make you feel a little better!