Mental health is much more than a clinical diagnosis. Your mental health also refers to your psychological well-being. If you’re like many folks these days, you might be curious how you can improve mental health.
Having a healthy psychological well-being means being able to better manage your emotions as well as your mood. Every day presents unique challenges, and a healthy mental state helps you take the challenges of life in stride.
7 Simple Strategies To Improve Mental Health
1. Get & Stay Connected
We are social creatures, and it’s important to have strong, healthy relationships with others. Having good social supports will help protect you against the harmful effects of stress. It’s also good to have different types of connections. Besides connecting with family and friends, you could find ways to get involved with your community or neighborhood. For example, you could volunteer for a local organization or join a group that is focused on a hobby you enjoy.
2. Manage Haves – not wants
If you want to improve mental health, practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude will sharpen your attention towards the positive aspects of your life. By focusing on what’s good, you’ll start to notice and appreciate other positive things in your life. Gratitude is more than just a feeling; it is a choice. By choosing to be grateful, you can keep your mind distracted from negative thoughts.
But it starts with more than just simply deciding you want to be more grateful. You have to take actionable steps. Something as simple as writing down 3 things you are grateful for every morning can have massive effects on your daily thoughts.
3. Eat A Brain-Healthy Diet
Foods that can support your mood include fatty fish rich in omega-3s, nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts), avocados, beans, leafy greens (spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts), and fresh fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
Eating healthy is a vital part of positive mental health. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will slowly release energy into your bloodstream, creating a consistent level of energy that won’t leave you feeling tired or sluggish. Eating healthy also provides a mental boost because you’ll feel good about your healthy food choices.
So if you want to improve your mental health, improve your diet. It’s that simple.
4. Engage Your Senses
Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Does squeezing a stress ball help you feel centered? What about taking a walk in nature and enjoying the sights and sounds of the trees? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.
5. Sunshine is the best medicine for the soul
Sunshine is a great way to boost your mood. Put on some comfortable walking shoes and take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood, or a local park. Exposure to sunlight will help your brain release serotonin which will boost your mood, and help you feel more calm and focused. Plus, exposing yourself to just 10 minutes of sunlight shortly after waking up massively improves the quality of your sleep.
6. Get Some Sleep
A good night’s sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. When you’re well rested, you’re naturally energized. Regular sleep also boosts your immune system as well as your cognitive and mental health.
You have the power to improve your mood. By making some healthy choices in your daily routines, you can develop regular habits that will improve your overall mental well-being.
7. Cultivate Purpose & Meaning
- Engage in work that makes you feel useful and gets you fired up.
- Invest in relationships and spend quality time with people who bring out the best in you.
- Volunteering can help enrich your life and contributed to feelings of happiness.
- Random acts of kindness can be as rewarding and meaningful.
- Engage in one good deed or gesture each day for a stranger, friend, or family member.
If you’re having trouble staying positive or managing your moods find a well-trained therapist you like and trust to help you create better coping strategies, and offer additional support and guidance to help you live a more balanced life.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in Greater New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.