Top 5 Tips For Improving Your Mental Health
Your mental health affects how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. Being pro-active about improving your mental health is very important, so it is not wise wait until you’re in a crisis to make this a priority…..start now! Making certain lifestyle changes will help you to live your days to the fullest.
5. Get Plenty Of Sleep
There’s a reason your parents made you go to bed at a certain hour as a kid; practicing good sleep patterns can positively affect your mental health. It’s not just about getting 8-9 hours of sleep but more so getting “quality” sleep, where you feel well rested when you wake up.
If you’re having issues in obtaining quality sleep, avoid stimulants before bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that affect not just the heart rate but delay or disrupt the sleep cycles of the brain. This can lead to a range of sleep disorders that has adverse effects on your mood and mental health, causing anxiety or depression.
4. Watch What You’re Eating
Your brain is fueled by what you put into your gut. Changing your diet and eating healthier whole foods is a great way to improve your mental health. Try having foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, protein-rich legumes, and fatty fish, olive oil (high in omega-3s); limiting foods like refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats.
3. Learn How To Manage Stress
Practicing stress management such as relaxation and breathing techniques on top of exercise can help significantly boost your quality of life and have a positive effect on your mental health. Getting plenty of sleep and watching what you consume is already a big step in practicing stress management. Too much stress increases the hormone, cortisol, in your body. Too much cortisol will exacerbate anxiety which will lead to spikes in blood pressure, thus worsening anxiety.
2. Do Something You Enjoy
Schedule some time out of your day/week and do something that makes you feel good. When you’re doing something you enjoy, your mental health benefits and your stress levels decrease. It could be anything from reading a book, journaling, cooking, going outdoors or spending quality time with close friends and family. Everyone is different, so find out what works for you.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Talk To Someone
Having a strong support system and talking to someone can help you feel like you’re not alone if you’re feeling unhappy, stressed or having a tough time. For a lot of us, it can be hard to speak up, but try to open up to someone you feel comfortable with; from therapy to family and friends, knowing that you have a good support system and social network to rely on when you feel like you can’t do it alone, will help your overall mental health. If you’re struggling to get the words out face-to-face, try writing your thoughts.
Written by: Kalesh Forde - YSC Team