Mental health can mean something different for everyone. Whether that’s anxiety, your ability to manage negative feelings, or your pessimistic outlook on life, our psychological well-being is something that needs to be cared for and nurtured, so that we feel our best. Depending on the severity of your mental health struggles, many improvements can be made without expensive treatments and medicine, and done independently by you. Here are 6 tips to keep you mentally strong and feeling good for whatever today throws at you… and they are all things that you can do today!
Exercise directly affects the brain and is a powerful force against anxiety, depression, and low moods. If you can’t fathom fitting an exercise routine into your daily schedule, start small, and make little changes throughout your day that get your body moving more than usual. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far away when you’re at the store, or use part of your lunch break at work to go for a walk outside. Exercise is known to stimulate feel-good hormones such as endorphins and enkephalins, which can make you feel happy. When you’re ready to fully jump in and officially make exercise a part of your routine, at least 3 exercise sessions are recommended per week, averaging 45-60 minutes. Regular workouts can have a dramatic impact on your mental health and even help treat chronic depression, with true change noticed after about 4 weeks.
Focus on nutrients
Have you heard phrases such as “My body is a temple,” or “You are what you eat?” There’s a connection between your gut and brain; that’s no doubt! Being mindful of what you put in your body can help with your mental health struggles. What you consume is directly related to how you feel physically and mentally, and putting effort into finding the right vitamins and nutrients can make a huge difference in your mood. Eating clean, with all the right veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins, is scientifically proven to help you with your mental health. Different diets will affect individuals in various ways; start by cutting down on sugar, increasing your protein intake, or taking a probiotic supplement. Gradually make shifts as you experiment with how you feel and what works for you.
Give back to others
The physical act of doing something kind for someone else can be just the boost that you need! Start volunteering with a local nonprofit organization or if you don’t have any time to give, implement random acts of kindness into your week that will make someone else feel good. By making another individual feel better, you will also feel an improvement in your mood. Giving back doesn’t have to involve your wallet or a lot of time; help an elderly person by taking their grocery cart back to the store after unloading or make an email introduction that would really help someone out with their business. It can be as simple as leaving a sticky note at your colleague’s desk, telling them how awesome they are. The possibilities are endless and if it helps another person and makes you feel good about your day, then that’s all that matters.
I know; that may seem like a no-brainer, but the power of positive thinking can go a long way. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of negative thoughts; bringing positivity out of negative circumstances is a healthy way to up your mood. Try telling yourself 3 positive things in the mirror every morning before you start your day. Take up journaling and write down things that you’re grateful for that day. If you are having negative thoughts or anxious feelings about a situation, put effort and energy into finding a silver lining or positive aspect of the circumstance. We may not even realize that we are too often being pessimists, and it might take some training so that sooner or later, you automatically think of the positive instead of having to “manually” work at it.
Take a break
No matter if you’re a mom, busy entrepreneur, 9 to 5 professional, or philanthropic enthusiast, everyone needs some “me” time. Life can be a lot to handle at once and there are times when it’s best to step away and take a break. Know when it’s time to take a little time off to unwind, recharge, and not think about anything but taking care of your mental health. For you, maybe that means a fancy meal with your girlfriends, a good book in the park, a mani-pedi at the salon, or just taking a walk. Find out what “break” means to you and be sure that no matter how busy you get or how committed you feel to something, that you take even 30 minutes to re-energize so that you move into the next day fully charged and ready to go.
Catch some zzzs
When you get the 7-9 hours of sleep every night that your body needs, your mental health will naturally be in a much better place. Even small levels of sleep deprivation can affect your mental health, and you may not even realize that a lack of sleep is taking control of your life in a negative way. “Neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience, while chronic sleep deprivation sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability,” according to Harvard Medical School. If you’re not getting the recommended amount of sleep per night, ask yourself why, and make changes in your schedule or commitments that ensure that your body is able to get the sleep it needs. Do it for your mental health!
Mental health issues can vary from periodic anxiety, mild postpartum depression, and chronic mood swings. Starting with small lifestyle changes can improve your mental health in ways that will truly affect your life, you just have to start! Make today the first day of your journey and do something small as a commitment to yourself and your mental health.
At Lifted Naturals, we love hearing your stories and helping others with their well-being. Reach out to us to learn more about our probiotics or delve into what the Lifted movement is all about!