When it comes to our physical health, a lot of us make efforts to stay healthy. But when it is our mental health, majority of us look the other way. This is unfortunate, because mental health is your overall psychological well-being and it is as important as your physical health.
To be mentally healthy, you need to have good ways of handling stress, making decision, connecting with others and enjoying life when things are hard.
Here are simple steps to begin your journey to becoming mentally healthy.
Heard of Sunday night blues? Every Sunday evening, anxiety, depression and sadness kick in, as the day slowly turns to a Monday. And oh, how I hated Mondays.
Anyways, I dedicated my Sunday evenings to participating in various sporting and physical activities and woosh! All those endorphins!
Exercise isn’t just for physical health. Engaging in physical activities releases a lot of “I feel good” hormones (happy hormones) e.g Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, which help alleviate anxiety, reduce stress and boost mood.
Love your mental health? Exercise!
Surround yourself with happy people
I can’t count the number of times I have used the sentence “Cut toxic people out of your life” this year. You see, some people derive happiness in resisting and sabotaging the possibility of self-improvement. They would suck out your happiness, positive spirit, energy, and leave you drained (could be physically, mentally, emotionally).
Then, there are Angels. This set of people that will inspire you to be a better person, provide you with motivation to achieve your goals, empower you to make the changes you need to succeed and cheer on your success.
Happiness and optimism is very contagious, same with negativity. Be with someone who is good for your mental health. Let that negativity go, darling.
Putting pen to paper is liberating and therapeutic. Whenever you are angry or worried, write your problems on a piece of paper and toss it in the bin (this doesn’t work for everyone). Finding it hard to recall what you read for an examination? Summarize key points with a pen and paper. Depressed, feeling self-pity? Embrace gratitude. What are you grateful for? Have a gratitude journal. Recognizing all you are thankful for, fosters resilence Also, document part of your life so you would know the area to focus on.
Talk about your feelings
It is really healthy to talk to someone. A friend, partner, family member, anyone you trust … emphasis on ‘trust’. Talking about your feelings is a sign of being in control of your life. It also helps you view things from a different perspective.
You could also self- talk (which I am very guilty of, by the way); basically have a monologue with yourself. Above all, talk to God. It’s totally liberating and refreshing
Do something you love
What you do and how you feel are linked. Doing something you love means you are good at it. This boosts self-esteem, beats stress and improves mood.
Go ahead, and enjoy yourself.
If I’m not out on weekends, I am indoors listening to music from my Bluetooth speakers. That’s my favourite form of relaxation. When stressed, our bodies react to what is called ‘flight or fight’ response – a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. The ability to relax effectively reduces stress and symptoms of mental health conditions.
So, travel, chill out with friends, knit, anything … just relax.
There are meals that boost mental health. Foods rich in omega – 3s : Grains, Vegetables, Nuts, Fatty fish ( Sardines, Tuna, Mackerel), etc. A healthy gut is a healthy mind.
In conclusion, if you’re struggling with symptoms of mental health disorders please talk to a therapist. Seek help. Make your mental health a priority. Incorporate these changes to your life and flourish. It doesn’t cost a dime.