Good mental health improves the ability to feel good about yourself, express emotions effortlessly, and maintain relationships with your loved ones
Often people are focused on their physical health – they exercise to lose weight, follow certain diets… whereas one must also give importance to achieve good mental health.
According to WHO mental health is “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Therefore, good mental health is a sign of a healthy life.
A study showed there may be a link between mental health and coronary heart disease. This explains that suffering from a serious mental condition can affect your heart and vice versa. Hence striking a balance between mental and physical health is crucial.
What is ‘Good Mental Health’?
Good mental health is about being in the right frame of mind irrespective of your situation. That is, if you are going through some conflict there are two possibilities –
- You let your emotions take over your actions. (this happens when you are not in the right frame of mind)
2. You deal with it constructively. (when you are aware and in control of your emotions)
When you take steps towards improving your mental health you will notice a change in your thinking pattern. This change helps your mind to stay aware of your thoughts and emotions which is a result of good mental health.
Understanding your mental health
When you feel feverish, the first thing to do is check the temperature – this is how physical ailment is checked. But what about your mental health? Here are the symptoms that could indicate your state of mind.
- Sudden appetite change
- Mood swings
- Feeling restless
- Sleepless nights
- Unfinished tasks
- Social withdrawals
- Substance abuse
- Feeling disconnected
- Suicidal thoughts
- Melancholy – Unexplained bouts of sadness
These symptoms are a sign of mental distress. You may feel perfectly fine physically – no aching back or knee issues… however, mental distress can be sneaky. If you experience any of these symptoms or if they have become part of your life then you must seek some help. It could be a professional guiding you or you can find ways to improve your mental health by yourself. In any case, it is important to treat your mental ailment just like your physical ailments – there is no shame in seeking help for mental distress.
Tips to Improve Mental Health
The good news is that once your mental ailments are diagnosed/ self-diagnosed, there are many ways to improve your mental health.
#1 Create a fun routine
The first step is to have a routine that keeps you engaged. To form a mindset that is free of trauma and stress needs to undergo some conditioning. Creating a fun routine that includes – ample physical activity, eating healthily, taking one step at a time, making time to pause – reflecting and letting go, and observing the triggers. Make a note of these triggers and if they continue to resurface then it’s time to get a professional opinion.
#2 Exercising is a boon
Show up every day for yourself. Choose a form of physical activity that you enjoy the most so that you are motivated to do it every day. Increase the level of physical activity with time. Regular workouts can change your life for good. It is truly a game-changer when it comes to mental recovery. When you exercise your mood is naturally uplifted. It has a positive ripple effect – enhanced mood, weight loss, and increased energy levels.
#3 Watch what you eat!
What you eat has an effect on your body as well as your mind. Poor nutrition contributes to mental ailments such as feeling low, having negative thoughts, feeling anxious… however, changing your diet can improve your mental health drastically. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, nuts, protein, healthy fats… all promote a positive mindset and a healthy body.
#4 Three things you are grateful for in life?
Perhaps you are not the kind of person who keeps a diary or a journal. But if you do decide to start a gratitude journal it can make a world of difference. You don’t have to sit and write a page if that’s not your thing. All you have to do is write three things each day that you are grateful for in life. Every day three lines of what makes you happy, things that made you feel good in the day. You can record something as simple as “I am grateful to have sugar free sweet after lunch today”. Over time you will be surprised to go through so many good things that happen to you day after day.
#5 Meditate for a few minutes
Mediating has been proven to boost mental agility. It is an effective way to reduce stress and improve your mental health. Whether you choose to follow an in-person guide, or download an app on your device, or do it yourself – many resources are available to help you practice mindfulness. Begin meditating in the morning for a few minutes – notice the elements around you with your eyes shut and awaken your senses. This will keep your mind calm throughout the day.
#6 Friends & Family
Having a social life can improve your mental health. However, if you do not have a social life then you can always join a community of like-minded people. For instance, if you like to sing, you can find out if any workshops are happening around you – participate and make new friends. The idea is not to isolate yourself but interact with people around you. Apart from participation, make plans to catch up with your family once a week at least. When you surround yourself with a company you enjoy it will have a positive effect on your mental health.
#7 Help someone in need
It is a win-win situation. When you help someone in need you automatically find yourself in a good headspace. Volunteering work can be emotionally rewarding. Seeing a smile on someone’s face because you did something good can be a powerful way to better your self-worth. Choose an activity or an organisation that aligns with your interests.
Seeking professional help is a good idea
If your symptoms continue to disrupt your life after trying every possible thing then it’s time to seek professional help.
Just like you visit a doctor to treat your physical ailment, similarly for mental health you need to consult with a professional therapist. There is nothing abnormal about going for therapy. However, not going for therapy can worsen your mental ailment.
Taking care of your mental health can make your life better. You will begin to focus on the good and positive changes that will occur in every aspect of your life. You will surround yourself with good company and feel loved. Your positivity and healthy mindset will draw your loved ones closer to you and strengthen your bond.