Your mental health is much more than a state of mind — it’s your overall perception of yourself and the world around you, and it dictates everything from your happiness levels to your ability to handle everyday stressors. For these reasons and countless others, it’s imperative that you care for your mental well-being.
Though professional mental health help is certainly beneficial in doing just that, there are changes you can make on your own that will boost your mood and lead to an increased quality of life.
Ditch Bad Habits
It is not uncommon for individuals to “self-medicate” with mind-altering substances such as drugs or alcohol, but the truth is that these substances do more harm than good. Try not to drink more than one or two alcoholic beverages a month, and refrain from using drugs entirely.
Form Good Habits
In addition to dropping the bad habits, you should also strive to form positive ones. Some things you can do that will have a positive impact on your life include exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Go To Bed Earlier
Speaking of sleep … A large body of research shows that sleep deprivation is directly related to a negative mood. You should allow yourself six to nine hours of sleep each night, depending on how much your body needs. To ensure you get a decent night’s rest, make it a habit to shut down any screens at least an hour before bedtime.
Alter Your Diet
Findings show that food has the ability to alter your mood and can either restore structural integrity to the brain cells or damage it. For instance, fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that affect every fiber of your body, including those cells that regulate your mood. Carbohydrates increase serotonin, which has a calming effect on your mood, while foods rich in protein increase dopamine, norepinephrine and tyrosine, which help you stay alert.
Say Goodbye to Toxic People
Whether friends, family, or acquaintances, toxic people can drag you down in more ways than you realize. You are not obligated to keep anybody in your life, so if there’s a person who constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, cut ties with him or her. On the other hand, family support is often the best, so if you have a strong bond with family members, seek to strengthen that connection.
Practice Coping Skills
Stress is a part of life, but don’t let it dictate your life. Practice coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. Some positive strategies include going for a run, playing with your pet, journaling, or doing Tai Chi.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s important that you set goals for yourself, as goals give you purpose. However, if you’re overambitious, you may end up stressing yourself out. Ideally, you should set one or two over-reaching goals and then detail the steps necessary to accomplish them. The closer you get to your goal, the more accomplished you’ll feel.
There is a significant correlation between family and mental health. Simply knowing you’re valued by others can help you maintain a positive mindset and give you the confidence you need to pursue the help you deserve.
If you struggle to maintain a positive outlook, you’re not alone. You also have nothing of which to be ashamed. Get on the path to recovery and ask for a mental health assessment today.