by Jessica Peters
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 47 million American adults experience mental illness. According to Mental Health America, more than 10 million adults in the U.S. have an unmet need for mental health treatment. Among Americans aged 10-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the NIH.
Despite the fact that we all periodically struggle with our mental health, most of us tend to neglect it and risk falling into harmful habits. But just like your physical health, your mental health is important and there are a number of ways you can maintain it through simple daily tasks. Here are seven habits for nurturing mental health.
What you eat has a massive impact on how you feel. A report by the American Psychological Association cites a number of studies that show a clear link between depression and the consumption of high-sugar, processed foods. Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega fatty acids can help improve your mood and energy levels.
Meditation is proven to provide a wide range of mental health benefits. It reduces stress by decreasing the production of cortisol, a hormone that’s known to release inflammation-promoting chemicals that can disrupt sleep, increase blood pressure, promote anxiety, and contribute to fatigue.
It also enhances your self-awareness, helping you develop a greater understanding of your thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it can improve your sleep, control pain, decrease blood pressure, and promote more positive feelings towards yourself and others. Perhaps best of all, meditation doesn’t require anything but a few minutes of your time.
Consult an Energy Healer
According to an energy healer, holistic treatment can help with emotional issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as physical issues such as chronic pain and fatigue. Seeking help from a professional can help you gain a better understanding of your mental health while also being able to resolve any issues you may have.
Less Time on Social Media
While social media can be a convenient way to get in touch with people, there have been many studies showing its negative effects on our mental health. This is largely due to how people portray their lives on social media.
Fear of missing out or FOMO is a very real thing. It’s easy to believe that other people’s lives are better than yours when in reality, this is not the case. We get sucked in by the idyllic photos of luxurious vacations or images of families looking oh-so-happy. The reality is often very different.
Try limiting your social media use to a few hours per week and make a greater effort to socialize in the real world. Connect with your true friends and don’t believe everything you see on your social media feeds. Yes, it might appear that friends are living their best lives, but in all likelihood, they are just as bored/unhappy with their life as the next person.
We often forget just how fortunate we are to be where we are in life. Gratitude helps us become more aware of what you have, giving you something to fill your heart with and feel positive about. The best way to practice gratitude is to keep a journal where you write a daily gratitude list. This is proven to promote mental health and overall wellbeing.
Each morning find one thing to be grateful for. Whether it’s the sun shining through the blind, heralding a fine day, or the fact that cute guy or girl smiled at you on the train.
Exercise is not only extremely beneficial to your physical health. It’s also a powerful antidote to anxiety, depression, and stress. This is because your body releases mood-boosting and stress-relieving endorphins both before and after a workout. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours in a gym every day to reap these benefits.
Simply finding ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine can make a world of a difference. For instance, you can choose to walk more often and cycle to nearby locations. Additionally, being outside exposes you to vitamin D-producing sunlight, which increases serotonin levels in your brain.
Be a Positive Person
Negativity is self-fulfilling. The more you catastrophize, the more likely you are to be unhappy. Try and look at situations from a new, more positive perspective. Instead of saying “I can’t do this” or “this is too difficult”, be positive. Believe in yourself and the power of positivity. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes, and how people are more inclined to help you!
Taking care of yourself is key to maintaining your mental health. Spending more time being active, social and outside of the house alone will go a long way in improving the way you feel. Having someone to talk to about your mental health is just as important.
Jessica Peters is a freelance writer from Melbourne who blogs about health and fitness. Jessica is an avid traveller and regularly crosses the globe to learn about other cultures while blogging from her laptop.