Nowadays, more and more people are talking about mental health and its importance in daily life. You might hear it from your favorite TV shows, friendly conversations, radio broadcasts, podcasts, and other places.
However, since mental health has become widespread, people might misinterpret its true meaning. You might hear it too often, but at some point, you might still get confused about what mental health really means. Don’t worry because you’re not alone.
Mental health refers to how the human brain function and everything that affects it. It involves an individual’s social and psychological well-being. Also, it goes beyond emotional health or one’s ability to manage and regulate emotions.
Taking care of your mental and emotional health is as important as keeping your physical body in good condition. If your mental and emotional health is in turmoil, your body will be out of balance, leading to high blood pressure, chest pain, and other physical symptoms.
Below are the strategies to maintain stable mental and emotional health. With these, you’ll be able to manage your emotions despite serious personal issues. You may also visit High Country Behavioral Health or other similar sites to address issues regarding mental health.
1. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining overall physical health. However, it’s also nonnegotiable when it comes to mental and emotional health.
According to a 2021 study, experts found that people who sleep for six hours or below on average were more likely to experience frequent mental and emotional disturbances than those who sleep more than six hours on average.
Sleep quality is also crucial to maintaining positive mental health. If you’re having difficulties achieving consistent, uninterrupted sleep, you might develop mental health symptoms, such as the following:
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Inability to focus or think properly
- Being excessively fearful or worried
- Being extremely guilty
- Self-isolation from family and friends
To achieve a good night’s sleep, start with these healthy habits:
- Don’t drink caffeinated drinks past 3:00 p.m. The caffeine might react in your body in a way that would make it difficult for you to fall asleep at the right time.
- Go to bed at the same time every night. This can help rebuild a healthy sleeping schedule.
- Make your bedroom clutter-free, quiet, cold, and dark. These are the bedroom elements that contribute to a good night’s sleep.
- Reduce blue-light exposure to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light can affect your body’s melatonin production, a sleep-inducing hormone.
- Reduce daytime naps. Power naps can be beneficial, but too much of it can disrupt your internal body clock, making it difficult for you to sleep at night.
If these tips don’t help you sleep better, you might be suffering from a sleep condition, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, which could make things worse. Consult a sleep specialist immediately if you do.
2. Reduce The Time Spent On Social Media
These days, most people spend their time browsing through social media apps. Such apps allow you to stay updated with the lives of other people, news, businesses, and the like.
However, consuming such information can cause stress and low self-esteem. All of which are known to contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety. So it’d be best to cut back on social media and spend your time on healthier habits.
To reduce your social media screentime, you might want to consider the following:
- Keeping your phone on silent to avoid getting distracted by notifications and updates from the people you follow
- Turning off your notifications so that you don’t have to put your phone on silent and allow people to reach you in case of emergency
- Deleting social media apps on your phone (but if you want to keep yourself updated now and then, use your laptop or computer to do so)
- Creating a list of meaningful habits, such as cooking, reading, wood crafting, or working out, to keep yourself off your usual sessions
Reducing the time spent on social media can also help you get a good night’s sleep and focus your mind on reality. That’s because people tend to lose their concentration when scrolling through social media apps. So it’s really best to cut back on such apps.
3. Fortify And Nurture Your Relationships
It’s natural for humans to socialize with others as much as possible. After all, humans are social beings. Do you think early civilizations will progress and prosper without socializing with each other? Probably, it wouldn’t, right?
Building relationships can help improve your mental and emotional health in many ways. For example, friendly relationships can
- Relieve the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness
- Provide access to mental and emotional support
- Add more value to your life
There are many ways to cultivate healthy relationships and nurture connections. You may try the following:
- Keeping in touch with your friends by sending a message or a funny meme
- Meeting with friends for a quick lunch, small talk, or morning walk
- Calling your friends during breaks
- Scheduling weekly or monthly dinner dates
If you lack meaningful relationships, here are some helpful tips to make friends:
- Use social media, attend local events, or join clubs to meet with people with similar hobbies and interests.
- Keep your social anxieties at bay.
- Don’t rush things. People need more time to find out if building friendly relationships with you is worth it.
- Develop coping skills for rejection. Understand why a relationship with a friend has to end and use it to strengthen future relationships.
Catching up with friends can also make a great difference. According to a 2018 study, those who joke around and catch up tend to establish a stronger bond between themselves.
4. Engage In Physical Activities
Like sleeping, engaging in physical activities, such as workouts and sports, is good not just for the body but also for the mind. It helps
- Relieve all the stress that piles up in your mind
- Improve your mood despite encountering a stressful situation
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Manage and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety
Engaging in physical activities can be different for everyone. Also, it doesn’t have to be in a gym unless that’s what you want. Instead, think of activities that would be memorable and effective for your mind and body.
Some examples are the following:
- Becoming a member of a walking club
- Enrolling in a restorative activity class, such as yoga or Pilates
- Performing seated movements, such as neck rotation, neck stretch, hip marching, chest stretch, arm raises, and more
- Enrolling in a dance class or organizing a dance party
- Stretching every hour
- Performing gardening and other tasks in the backyard, such as pulling weeds out, cutting dead branches, watering plants, arranging plants, and the like
- Spending the weekend with family and friends
To cut it short, you don’t have to engage in rigorous physical activities to get your body moving or care for your mental and emotional health.
Even a few minutes of stretching is enough to improve your overall mental health. Stretching helps in blood circulation, allowing more oxygen to flow in your body. This can make you feel calmer and more contented. You might want to take a look at these stretching exercises.
5. Eat A Balanced, Healthy Diet
When you’re depressed, you’d probably try to eat as much as you want to boost your mood and uplift your spirit. However, high-calorie and other sugary bites can make things much worse. So you might want to consider healthy foods filled with essential nutrients, such as the following:
- Fatty Fish: These include salmon, albacore, tuna, and herring. They contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce depression and improve mood.
- Dark Chocolate: This bitter yet satisfying treat is filled with mood-boosting, feel-good compounds. These include caffeine, N-acylethanolamine, and theobromine.
- Fermented Foods: These include kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and kimchi. They contain probiotics (good bacteria) that may help improve gut health and mood.
- Banana: This fruit might come as a big surprise. It’s high in vitamin B6, which boosts the production of dopamine and serotonin—types of feel-good neurotransmitters.
- Oat: This whole grain can keep you up and running throughout the day. It contains high amounts of fiber, which helps maintain stable energy levels.
- Berries: These fruits contain high amounts of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that can combat inflammation due to mood disorders like depression.
- Nuts And Seeds: These include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, and walnuts. They’re high in tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin.
- Coffee: This popular drink contains caffeine that promotes alertness and attention. It also increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Aside from these foods, make sure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least eight cups of water every day. Otherwise, your body and brain won’t be able to utilize all the nutritious food you consume.
6. Take Your Time To Rest
Everyone may have a different meaning of ‘rest.’ Although in general, it means allowing your body and mind to relax, rebuild, and restore. Is it difficult for you to take a rest? If it is, these simple tips might come in handy someday:
- Lie Down: Start by lying on your back. Then open your legs and spread your feet wide. This will help you relax while lying down.
- Think But Be Aware: When trying to rest, think of relaxing your mind and body, but make sure to keep your mind active and aware of your surroundings.
- Focus On Physical Body: Think of your physical body when you rest. Then focus on breathing gently.
- Visualize Your Breathing: When you inhale or exhale, imagine a wave slowly moving from your head down to your toes and vice versa.
- Make Your Body Heavy: Sit or lie down on your back, and feel that your body is too heavy for you to make a move. Then stay in this relaxing state for 10–30 minutes.
If you don’t have enough time to relax, do these simple tricks instead:
- Close your eyes and place your hands where your heart is. Then breathe deeply, and feel the warmth coming from your hands.
- Inhale for two counts and exhale for four counts. Do this 12 times.
You can also sleep if that makes you feel relaxed and rested. But make sure to reduce your naps to avoid causing sleep problems at night.
7. Focus On Positivity
Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring all the negativity around you. Rather, it means approaching all unpleasant things in a more positive way. In other words, it’s about anticipating what’s best to come instead of the worst.
Positive thinking is beneficial to both physical and mental health. It can
- Increase your lifespan
- Reduce levels of depression and anxiety
- Improve mood
- Manage psychological well-being
- Reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular conditions, and infections
- Improve coping skills when dealing with stressful situations
To focus on positivity, follow these simple tips:
- Take a break and evaluate what’s on your mind. Even if it’s all negative, try to make it more positive.
- Befriend positive people you can depend on during stressful and trying times.
- Encourage yourself to smile and laugh a lot, even if nothing’s going on your way. This can make stressful situations less stressful.
- Try positive self-talk. When you do, don’t think of the negative things that other people might say to you. Focus on the positive ones.
Positive thinking also contributes to a healthier lifestyle. People with a healthy lifestyle don’t smoke or drink alcohol, eat balanced meals, engage in physical activities, and sleep well. All of these are known to improve good mental and emotional health.
8. Learn To Say No
You don’t have to say yes every time someone asks you to do something. For example, if someone asks you to meet them up, you can always say no if you find the situation uncomfortable.
If you do plenty of things more than you can manage, you’ll only overwork and stress yourself. Of course, try to explain calmly why you can’t do it. If you think their feelings are hurt because of your ‘no,’ don’t feel burdened, but make sure to apologize to clear things up.
Keeping positive mental and emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical body. A healthy mind can prevent issues that may put your overall health at risk. You may follow all the self-care tips above to care for your mental and emotional well-being. However, keep in mind that these tips aren’t a cure for mental illnesses. If something wrong comes up, consult a healthcare professional immediately to manage your condition appropriately.