It’s no secret that the body and the mind are closely related. For a healthy and happy life, good mental health is absolutely vital. When your mental health takes a hit, it automatically affects your physical health too.
According to the statistics released by the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions, making mental disorders one of the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide.1 Here are simple ways to enhance your mental health.
1. Focus On Your Positives
Many people who suffer from mental health conditions generally focus on their negative points. They feel they are not good enough or feel they are incompetent. They also suffer from a low self-esteem. Let’s get one thing straight. No human is perfect and everyone has their own drawbacks. So, instead of thinking about what you’re not good in, focus on your positives. This helps improve your self-esteem and makes you a better person. Letting go of the negative thoughts about yourself is the first step.
2. Work On Your Creative Side
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Creativity is a gift that everyone is bestowed with. While some people may be good in artistic expression, others may have their own way of expressing their creative talent. You don’t necessarily have to pick up the paintbrush. You could be good at something else that you still haven’t discovered. Explore your interests and work on improving them. Not only does it take your mind off other unwanted things, but it also increases your positive energy and fires up your mind.
3. Involve In Physical Activity
Research has shown that endorphins are released when you exercise and makes the opiate receptors in our brain to feel much better. Exercising has a positive psychological effect on the human mind2 and also keeps you in shipshape. It is an excellent way to release the pent-up negativity. You don’t have to necessarily hit the gym. Even outdoor activities like running or walking can do wonders for you. Avoid staying indoors or confined spaces when you’re feeling low.
4. Refrain From Drinking
When people are feeling down, a common mistake most of them do is to consume alcohol. This is like adding fuel to fire. Alcohol can make a sad person more depressed.3 It is best to avoid drinking as it can push you further into a downward spiral. In fact, even happy people should avoid alcohol to enhance their mental health. Alcohol can make you think and act in ways that can be dangerous to you and those around you.
5. Think Rationally
A clouded mind prevents you from thinking and acting clearly. Often, preoccupied thoughts interfere with your rationale and affect your ability to take correct decisions. Anxiety and stress may pull you down and invoke negative thoughts. At such times, talking to a friend or a person close to you can help overcome negative thoughts. In many cases, you may be imagining a problem that in reality does not exist. A rational approach helps you tide over your personal problems more easily.
6. Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals
In trying to achieve very high standards, many people fall into a trap of their own making. Before you set goals for yourself, assess what is rationally possible and what cannot be achieved. Every person has their own limitations and it is important to understand your capacity and limits. Setting unrealistic goals can interfere with your happiness as you will feel dejected if you’re unable to achieve your goals. Goals are important in life, but they are not everything in life.
7. Break The Monotony
Doing the same thing every day over and over again can be boring. Change is an important aspect of our lives and you must ensure that you find interesting ways to break the monotony. You don’t have to switch your job or move to another house. Instead, just make some cosmetic changes to your home or workplace, which can spice up your life. If you feel that boredom is affecting you, think of ways in which you can improvise the situation. Going out with friends, watching movies or even gardening can bring the much-needed change from your routine.
8. Pour Your Heart Out
Bottling up your negative emotions and problems can have a devastating effect sooner or later. It’s like a volcano waiting to explode. It is important that you talk to people and let them know how you feel. It could be a close friend, a relative or a professional counselor. Talking to people helps in two ways. First, it allows you to discard pent up negative emotions that can play havoc with your life. And second, it can help you gain insight and new ideas or solutions to your problems. The people you talk to can see your problems in an objective manner and will be able to offer logical solutions.
9. Practice Meditation And Yoga
In the last couple of decades, meditation and yoga have gained immense popularity in the US. Meditation and yoga are extremely powerful methods to improve your mental health. Meditation is a way of cleaning your mind and improving the overall quality of your life. Studies have shown that meditation can help people with mental health conditions.4 Practice meditation for at least 15 minutes daily. Join a yoga class and stretch your way to wellness.
|↑1||Mental disorders affect one in four people. World Health Organization.|
|↑2||Taylor, C. Barr, James F. Sallis, and Richard Needle. “The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health.” Public health reports 100, no. 2 (1985): 195.|
|↑3||Boden, Joseph M., and David M. Fergusson. “Alcohol and depression.” Addiction 106, no. 5 (2011): 906-914.|
|↑4||McGEE, M. I. C. H. A. E. L. “Meditation and psychiatry.” Psychiatry (Edgmont) 5, no. 1 (2008): 28.|