According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, and suicide rates are on the rise in almost every country. In the United States, one in five adults suffers from a mental illness, but only 41% of them receive treatment.
Mental health disorders cost America $193 billion per year in lost productivity, and that number is expected to increase significantly in this decade.
But what can you do? How can you improve your psychological well-being and help those who are suffering? Let’s explore the most important tips for good mental health.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for our physical and mental health because it helps your body to heal, regulates your moods, and improves your cognitive functions. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but many people do not get enough restful sleep even though they reach the optimal number of hours.
There are several things you try do to get better sleep:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Create a bedtime routine that helps you wind down before sleep. This could include reading, taking a bath, or writing in a journal.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both of these substances can disrupt your sleep patterns.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to create an ideal sleep environment.
Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling with your mental health, if you notice any changes in your mood or behavior, or if you feel like you can’t cope with life’s challenges, it’s important to seek professional help.
A therapist can help you understand your thoughts and feelings and provide tools to deal with them healthily.
Many people are hesitant to see a therapist because they think it means they are weak or crazy, but this could not be further from the truth. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you need rehab to help you get back on track, it means that there are struggles that you can’t and shouldn’t go through alone. Professional figures like therapists and psychiatrists are there to help you, as much as a physician would help and heal your body from an injury- so don’t be afraid to reach out!
Not only does exercise improve your physical health, but it has also been proven to boost your mood, reduce stress, and promote better sleep. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (like a brisk walk) three times a week can make a big difference in your mental well-being.
However, if you’re not used to exercising, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts and be sure to mix things up to keep yourself motivated.
For instance, you might want to try different types of exercise like running, cycling, weightlifting, or swimming. You can also join a sports team or take up a new activity like hiking or dance classes.
On the other hand, slower and softer activities like yoga and Tai Chi can also be beneficial for your mental health. These are also good because they promote mindfulness, which has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat has a direct impact on your mood, energy levels, and overall health, therefore, to feel your best, it’s important to consume a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This includes avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine.
Additionally, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish like salmon and tuna, as well as in flaxseed and chia seeds) can help to improve mood disorders like depression and anxiety. On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils, processed foods, and chicken) can worsen these conditions. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet.
Furthermore, drinking plenty of water is also essential for your mental health as dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Keep that bottle of water handy and aim to drink eight glasses a day!
Chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health, therefore, it’s important to find ways to manage it healthily. This could involve exercise, relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature.
Nature is a great way to reduce stress as it can help to ground you and provide a sense of peace, and lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress). So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods.
On the other hand, having strong social support is essential for maintaining good mental health. Spending time with friends and family can reduce stress, improve your mood, and promote better sleep. If you don’t have close friends or family, there are many ways to meet new people and build relationships, such as joining a club, taking a class, or volunteering.
Finding Something You Enjoy
Doing things you enjoy is a great way to relax and reduce stress, as well as improve your mood. It could be anything from reading, playing an instrument, or watching your favorite show.
Moreover, hobbies can also help to boost your self-esteem and confidence, as well as provide a sense of accomplishment. All of this can lead to a more positive outlook on life and better mental health.
On the other hand, if you like to help people, or animals, or take care of nature, volunteering can be a great way to improve your mental health. Not only will you feel good about helping others, but you’ll also have a sense of purpose which is key to happiness.
Maintaining healthy psychological well-being is essential for overall happiness and well-being. The eight tips provided are a great starting point, but there are many other ways to improve your mental health.
If you’re struggling with poor mental health, please seek professional help. There is no shame in getting the support you need and want to live a happier life.
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