6 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Mental Health
When looking for ways to improve your mental health, you will receive recommendations for medication and therapies. But almost no one discusses the importance of making lifestyle changes for mental health improvement.
Our daily habits like our sleeping schedule, what we eat, how much physical activity we do, etc. all affect our mental health just like they affect our physical health. Physical health and mental health are completely interdependent.
Mostly, when it comes to taking care of our health, we do not think beyond our physiques. But mental health is equally important. You don’t have to be suffering from a mental health issue to care for your mental health. Everyone must strive to improve their mental health to reduce and prevent stress and depression.
Making simple lifestyle changes can have significant positive impacts on your mental health. Here are six changes that you can make to improve your mental health.
1. Get Rid of Unhealthy Habits:
The first step is to give up your bad habits like smoking, drinking, using drugs, etc. for the sake of your mental health. These activities are not only bad for our physical health, but they also deteriorate our mental health.
Drinking, for example, messes up the chemicals in your brain that ensure good mental health. You act more impulsively when you drink, as it makes you lose your inhibitions. In that case, you can even harm yourself or others. Thus, to improve your mental health, breaking out of such bad habits is necessary.
If you have a serious problem, you can seek professional help at any rehabilitation center in your area. If, for example, you live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Delphi Behavioral Health Group can help you recover.
2. Start Exercising:
Studies show that exercising has many positive effects on mental health, not only physical health. Even low-impact routine activities like walking can reduce depression. Furthermore, several mental health medications often lead to weight gain, and exercise can help curb that side effect. Weight gain leads to other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc., and it negatively influences mental health.
You can go to a gym or start working out at home with minimal equipment. Start by doing exercises for a little time in the beginning so that you can make a daily habit and commit to it in the long run. Not only does exercise is shown to protect your mental health, but some exercises like aerobics help in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
3. Manage Stress:
Stress is the major cause of mental illnesses, and its link with mental illness is two-way. Stress feeds mental health problems and, in turn, mental health issues further feed stress. Thus, this is a vicious cycle to get trapped into. But what is more worrisome is the coping mechanism you develop to manage stress.
It is necessary to develop a good, positive coping mechanism. Studies show that meditation is a good way of reducing stress and anxiety, and it is thus beneficial for your mental health. It is important that you also point out the root cause of stress in your life and work on that. When you feel stressed, paint, plant, read, or do anything that you enjoy doing, which is positive. You can learn a new skill, join a class or a group, etc.
4. Fix Your Sleeping Routine:
A good night’s sleep can do more for your mental health than you realize. According to some studies, we are less likely to make healthy choices when we do not sleep on time or don’t sleep for enough hours and wake up tired more than before.
This leads to obesity in people with poor sleeping schedules. It also causes cell damage. And if the mental illness symptoms are already present, sleep deprivation worsens them. While good sleep improves mood, reduces stress, protects the brain, and gives energy.
Make a proper bedtime routine and a sleeping schedule. Go to bed early and make a habit of waking up at the same time each day. Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sound sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep easily, try improving your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene means not doing any activity that can trigger your body and brain functions into not sleeping.
Do not use electronics when it’s bedtime, do not consume energy drinks or caffeine right before going to sleep, make sure your bed is ready and clean, your pillow is right for you, etc., so that you feel calm as soon as you lay down. All these better sleep hygiene things will make it easy for you to fall asleep quickly.
5. Be Positive:
It sounds cliché, but this is the way to go. If you experience negative thoughts more often, you must let those emotions go. Negative feelings like helplessness and hopelessness and a negative attitude in general mess up the body’s hormonal balance and destroy the chemical that the brain produces to make us feel calm and happy. This harms and weakens the immune system as well as other body parts.
You have to change your perspective in life and be more positive about things. You can break the negative thoughts by any mindful exercise, like breathing exercises or meditation. Not only that, but you need to train your brain to shift your attitude completely. Studies show that kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude make you happier by reducing depression and anxiety. So take control of your emotions and become a positive person.
6. Social Media Detox:
Several studies show the negative effects of social media on our mental well-being. It is so imperative to limit your social media use. It has become a part of our daily routine, and though we cannot give up social media completely, it is crucial to limit the time we spend on it. Even baby steps count.
Do not scroll through social media for more than a few minutes continuously; do not scroll through it during bedtime. Social media causes depression because people compare themselves with others negatively. Moreover, cyberbullying and disturbing content make it even worse for your mental health. The more you take a break from it, the better.
Though the stigma around seeking help for mental health has now reduced as compared to the past, we still need to focus on the right direction. It’s not only about supplements and medication. You can attain mental health improvement by changing your habits and lifestyle. Adopt these six changes to your lifestyle and watch your mental health improve.