Mental health is defined as a state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. To be in prime mental health means being able to work productively, maintain healthy relationships, navigate stress, bounce back from adversity, contribute to society, and realize your own potential. Use these 15 tips to boost your mental health and help improve your life.
1. Take care of your body
Physical well-being contributes to mental well-being. Eat balanced, nutritious meals, stay hydrated, and cut out vices such as smoking. Physical exercise can be especially helpful for boosting mental health as it’s been proven to lift moods and decrease depression and anxiety.
2. Maintain a peaceful mind
It’s equally important to keep your mind healthy. Mind-body exercises and relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can not only calm you down, they can also help make your outlook on life more positive.
3. Get quality sleep
Adequate sleep is important for keeping both your body and mind healthy. Poor sleep can have a major impact on mood. Practice good sleeping habits by getting enough sleep, keeping a regular bedtime, avoiding caffeine after noon, and turning off all the electronic screens in your home at least an hour before bed.
4. Practice self-love
Be kind and respectful to yourself, and find time for activities you enjoy. Avoid constantly criticizing yourself, and remember, you are valuable.
5. Write things down
Keep a gratitude journal and write down 3-5 things you are grateful for each day. Journaling topics can be expanded to things you loved about your day, things you achieved, and the like. This act of appreciation can boost your mental health.
In the same vein, writing down the things that are bothering you can help you release stress and frustrations and be more mentally healthy.
6. Be social
Humans are inherently social, and interactions with others are crucial to a positive well-being. Boost your mental health by making time to talk and interact with others in-person. The stronger your family and social connections, the more likely you are to be able to maintain positive mental health.
7. Pay it forward
One way to be social is to volunteer and give to others. Volunteering gives you a chance to interact with other people, and the experience gives you something to feel good about, whether it is your generosity or your gratitude for what you have.
It doesn’t have to be a formal volunteering event either. A small act of kindness or even a genuine compliment can make you feel as good as the person you’re giving it to.
8. Go off the grid
Spend time off your phone, computer, and all other electronics and enjoy some time in the present. Whether it is with friends or via some alone time. Getting outdoors and spending time in nature is also a great mental health booster.
9. Learn how to deal with stress
Stress can be a part of everyone’s day-to-day, and the better you can manage and cope with it, the more you can live a fuller, healthier life. Knowing what stresses you out, avoiding those stressors, and acknowledging what you can and can’t change are the first steps to successful stress management. Try keeping a stress log to help you identify what is causing you stress. Then avoid and change what you can and find ways to accept and work around the things that are out of your control.
10. Start your day with something you love
Set the mood for your day by doing something you love. Maybe it’s reading a chapter in your book while curled up with a cup of your favorite hot beverage or cuddling with your dog. Or maybe it’s getting in some sweat equity before the sun has risen. Whatever it is, starting your day doing something you love can help you tackle the day with a more positive and healthier outlook.
11. Learn to say no
Whether it is at work, at home, or with friends, learn to say no to avoid overload and burnout. Prioritize what’s important and be firm in declining additional things that could cause your mental health to tip into the negative side.
12. Give yourself confidence boosters
Aiming for perfection and trying to reach the stars, in one go, are recipes for disaster. Instead, set realistic goals and break down tasks, especially challenging ones, into smaller, more manageable steps. This will build a sense of achievement each time you complete a step and help boost your confidence as you continue onto your ultimate goal.
And whenever possible, do something you’re good at before undertaking something more difficult so you’re able to approach the challenging situation with more self-confidence.
13. Find some meaning and purpose
Part of having positive mental health is being able to achieve your own potential, which includes finding things that are meaningful and purposeful to you. This could be starting your own small business, fostering kittens, or having weekly coffee with an elderly neighbor who lives alone. Find what gives you meaning and purpose and it’ll not only boost your mental health, it could improve your physical health as well by strengthening your immune system and reducing pain and stress.
14. Talk about your mental health
It’s important to talk about mental health in order to maintain positive mental health and get the right treatment if needed for a mental illness. If you’re feeling your mental health isn’t as good as it could be or that you could be living with a mental illness, it’s important to speak with a professional. Being able to ask for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Mental health services are covered as an essential benefit under every Affordable Care Act health insurance plan.
Finally, one of the simplest ways to boost your mental health is by smiling. It can help you de-stress and calm down; it can even help lower your heart rate. If you’re finding it a little difficult to smile, craft situations to make yourself smile and laugh more, perhaps by watching cute animal videos or attending a comedy open mic night with friends.