Mental health has now become a buzzword, especially after the deadly pandemic. People are now more concerned about their mental health than ever before. So, many people have the question, ‘how to improve mental health?’ in their minds.
Remember that being fit and healthy involves a heavy part of mental health. Until and unless your mind is healthy, you cannot consider yourself 100% fit. So, here are 8 tips for improving your mental well being.
8 Habits to Cure Mental Illness
Cultivate Positive Thinking
Research testifies that your thoughts about yourself strongly affect your feelings. If these thoughts are negative, there is no chance you will feel better anytime in your life. However, the best way to change these negative thoughts is to replace them with positive ones.
According to psychologist Patricia Harteneck, ‘when we perceive ourselves and our life negatively, we end up having experiences that confirm that notion. So, instead of repeating negative thoughts about yourself, promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
Thus, instead of saying sentences like I am stupid or everyone takes advantage of me, try saying I am more compassionate and helpful for everyone.
Take a Walk in Nature
According to the research on Positive Psychology, a simple walk in nature can boost your mental health and well-being. Go for a walk where you can have lush green under your toes and around, blue sky on your head, and the sun kissing your nose.
Another 2019 study from Canadian researchers found that merely five minutes of contact with nature improves human health, mood and self-esteem, and general emotional well-being. A walk in nature improves hedonic and self-transcendent emotions, which boosts your mental health.
So, it is time for a good nature walk.
Hug Someone You Love
Sometimes a hug is enough to rebuild your mental health. According to research from a 2011 study conducted by UCLA, oxytocin’s receptor gene is linked to self-esteem and optimism. If you do not know what oxytocin is, it is known as a cuddle hormone. So, now you can guess what releases oxytocin which helps your self-esteem and optimism. Along with a hug, it can also be generated from kissing, snuggling, and physical touches.
According to one study, life scientists identified for the first time that a particular gene is linked to optimism, self-esteem, and mastery- the belief that one has control over one’s own life. Optimism, self-esteem, and mastery are critical psychological resources for coping with stress and mental well-being.
Thus, a hug is a sure way to boost your mental health.
Spend Time With Your Furry Friend
You have no one to hug? Why not hug a friend like a dog? If you do not have a furry friend, it is time to get one. As there are multiple mental health benefits of having a furry friend.
Need to be convinced?
A 2019 research study examined the effects and cortisol levels of college students who spent 10 minutes with animal visitation programs. The stress hormone – cortisol – decreased with just 10 minutes of petting cats and dogs. The search also notes that a 10-minute college-based AVP providing hands-on petting of cats and dogs provides momentary stress relief.
So, the next time you go for a walk in nature, make sure you bring your furry friend with you.
Adopting an upright posture
It is time to stretch out your muscles and stand as you mean it. According to a study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, upright posture can positively affect and reduce fatigue. Other studies have also concluded that an upright posture can increase the positive effect, reduce fatigue and decrease self-focus in people who have mild depression.
So, if you are hunched on your phone or laptop now, it is time to correct it.
Exercise and Staying Active
Exercise is not only important for physical health, but mental health depends on it a lot as well. Even if your body stays active during the day, it releases endorphins, automatically making you happy and fulfilled.
An article from Mayo Clinic suggests that exercise releases feel-good endorphins – natural cannabis-like brain chemicals, endogenous cannabinoids, and other natural brain chemicals that boost well-being.
So, walking in nature and that too with your furry friend will pay off wonders for you.
Get 8 Hours of Sleep
A large body of research has proved that sleep deprivation has a significant adverse effect on the mind. To recharge your mind and body with enough energy, at least 8 hours of sleep is considered mandatory. Not getting enough sleep can put your mind in a state of distress and affect it negatively.
It is important to mention that almost 60 to 90% of patients with depression have insomnia, suggests Sleep Health Foundation.
So, if your emotional well-being is already under stress, you will cause more trouble by not getting enough rest. Not only it affects your mood, but it is also not best for your emotional well-being.
Do something for someone else
This may sound counterintuitive since one is already not feeling their best, and you ask him to do something for someone else. But it’s true!
Research shows that being helpful to others tremendously affects how you feel about yourself. Being kind and helpful to others boosts your self-esteem and value. Helping will enrich your life and your mental stability.
When you bring value to someone’s life, he or she pays gratitude to you, and this value brings great self-esteem in return. So, if you are looking for the simplest answer to your mental health, try helping others.
Maintain a Gratitude journal
Expressing gratitude can work wonders for your mental well-being. A renowned psychologist Patricia Hartneck has linked gratitude with increased happiness, improved health, and mental well-being. Hard neck suggests the best-researched method to increase feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or write a gratitude list daily.
So, before you start or end your day, write all the things you think you should be grateful for – no matter how big or small.
Mental illness is a natural health problem and should be treated as such. These are the 9 best habits you can cultivate today to prevent mental illness.
So, will you practice some of these habits? Which one will you try out first? Let us know in the comment section below.