If you have unsuccessfully made resolutions to improve your mental health, there is still hope. One primary key to keeping resolutions is to take baby steps. The same should apply to maintaining good mental health.
The new year is a great time to make resolutions. Here are some simple resolution tips to improve your mental health.
Take Care of Your Body
Mental health can depend on your physical well-being. When your body is well, your mental health is in good standing.
Make it a priority to exercise regularly. Take daily walks and stretch more. You do not have to engage in strenuous physical activity to improve your mental health. Exercise is a healthy alternative to mood-altering medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
A study through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that running or walking for 15 minutes to an hour a day decreases your tendency to depression by 26%. Exercising releases endorphins in your body that promote a sense of well-being. When you feel good, your outlook on life improves.
Starting an exercise routine is not easy for those who suffer from depression. Start slow and work your way up, and set goals for yourself. For example, start walking short distances. You can increase your distance over time. Work out for a few minutes a day at first, then increase your time.
Staying active is an excellent example of stress relief. If you suffer from anxiety, raising your heart rate and panting a little can relieve any tension that you may have. Concentrating on your workout and not your worries can help clear your mind of any negative thoughts.
Some foods can lead to feelings of depression. Most contain ingredients that add unwanted weight and raise the dopamine levels in the brain that link with instant gratification.
When you consume meals that contain additives, artificial ingredients, and preservatives, your body reacts by way of inflammation.
Processed foods cloud judgment and lead to sluggishness. Convenient foods, such as pre-packaged meals and snacks, chips, and other junk food, can make you feel irritable and moody.
Change the way you eat. Fill your plate with dark leafy green vegetables and fruits (½), protein (¼), and complex carbohydrates (¼).
- Protein gives you energy. Foods high in protein include poultry, red meat, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Complex carbohydrates, like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, corn, and whole grains, also increase energy levels.
- Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, broccoli, and asparagus, provide nutrients your body needs to function well.
Nutrition is fuel for the brain. Following a balanced diet will help clear your thinking and improve your mood.
Since your body consists of about 70% water, including your brain, it requires sufficient amounts to function properly. How much you should drink depends on your needs. An average of eight glasses a day is realistic.
A lack of water dehydrates the body and causes an imbalance in bodily functions. Your brain responds negatively, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Dehydration can set in when you consume beverages other than water. Caffeine and soft drinks are examples of dehydrating liquids.
Sleep deprivation is more common in people with anxiety and depression than in other groups. On the other hand, mental health affects sleep. A way to improve your mental health is to get at least seven hours of sleep.
A regular sleep schedule is crucial to good health. Setting a bed and wake schedule will refresh the body and mind, which will help alleviate symptoms of depression. Experts say that napping and sleeping in are not ways to catch up on sleep.
The body’s circadian rhythm needs consistency to allow for restful sleep. When there is an interruption in the cycle, sleep patterns fluctuate. Sleep deprivation can alter your mood, making it unpleasant.
Take Care of Your Mind
Like the body, mental maintenance is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
Meditation relaxes the body and mind. Spend some time in solitude. Shift your focus to the peaceful sounds around you. Feel the tension leave your body, and practice breathing any time you notice your mind drifting away.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
Whether it is gardening or writing a story, you can use that to escape from the stresses of life. Focus on something that makes you happy. You deserve time to yourself, so take advantage of it. Engage in mind-challenging activities, like puzzles, strategic games, or reading.
Interact With Others
Staying socially active improves the health of your brain. Engaging in conversation with others can distract you from things that bother you and allow your brain to rejuvenate. There is safety in numbers, and being in the company of others may give you the sense of security you need.
When you confide in someone, you release tension. A support group may be an option so you can interact with other people who struggle with similar issues. Your peers may be able to give you some pointers on overcoming stress.
Developing relationships with others can help alleviate loneliness and isolation. Be sure to surround yourself with people who build you up. Good mental health relies on emotional stability. Interacting with those who support and encourage you is healthy.
Schedule time out with your friends. Spending time away from home or the source of your stress can release some of that tension. Go to a movie, meet for coffee, or take a walk. Just a few minutes a day can make a difference.
It is okay to display your emotions. Allow yourself to cry when you are sad, laugh when something is funny, and smile when you are happy. If something upsets you, express your anger.
Do not be hard on yourself for feeling the way you do. It is an instinct for humans to express themselves. Use those emotions to turn negative habits into healthy ones. Say no to things that tear you down.
Restoring mental health may take some time. Talking it out with a neutral party could decrease your anxiety. Finding the right therapist will help. Collective Counseling Solutions can set you up with one.