May is Mental Health Awareness Month!! This is such an important topic and there is such a stigma around it. We all need to do something about this. There is a particular stigma around any diagnosed mental illness of any kind, and we'll get that in an extra blog post this month. But this is a guest article written about ways to improve your mental health. Because our mental health is more important than we give it credit for. Read on for some tips from freelance writer Nicole Allen and see if you can implement some or all into your daily life.
5 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health
Your mental health is a lot more than a diagnosis, it is your general psychological well-being. Mental health is the way you feel about yourself or others and the ability to control your feelings and emotions while also being able to tackle everyday difficulties.
Managing your mental health may mean finding treatment and professional support. It may also mean taking steps to improve your emotional health without the help of others. When you make positive changes in your life, it can help you enhance your emotional health, reduce stress, and cope with difficult situations. Here are five things you can do to promote your mental wellness:
Get Away from Things
Daily demands such as work, home, and other obligations can be stressful and distract people from what they find interesting and meaningful. Taking a break from the day-to-day hustle and bustle helps the mind relax, revitalize, and re-energize. Considering packing your bags to visit wanderlust-worthy spots.
Traveling may bring happiness and help you reflect on your interests and personal goals. It may provide mental diversion from stressful events. It may lower levels of the hormone cortisol, which may help you become more content and calm.
A 2013 study indicated that more than 80 percent of U.S. survey respondents said that they experienced substantial reductions in stress after traveling for a day or two. Taking photos, sightseeing, trekking, and exploring nature can help you feel more calm and relaxed.
Do not overdo your travel experience, though. Shorter vacations may be more fulfilling and less stressful than longer ones. Weekend trips have become increasingly popular. A survey by Enterprise Rent-A-Car of 1,000 Americans twenty-five years old and older found that 85 percent of the participants planned to take weekend trips in 2018. These statistics show that people realize the benefits of breaking free from the nine-to-five grind.
Track Achievements and Gratitude with a Journal
People often focus more on their failures than their milestones. So, consider tracking the achievements you have made by writing about them in a journal. It will help you realize that despite the pitfalls, you are still making strides.
Journal entries do not have to be about big achievements. Even the little goals you achieve can go a long way in determining your overall mental wellness. To foster feelings of gratitude, you may want to keep a gratitude journal. This journal will give you a space to write down the things that you are grateful for every day.
Break Away from Those Gadgets
Many people are today attached to devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, or other gadgets. The average person touches his or her phone about eighty times a day, an action that may affect health. Our phones and tablets release light waves that may throw our bodies' internal clocks out of whack and interfere with our sleep.
A study published by Harvard Business Review reported that using Facebook negatively affects the overall well-being of an individual, specifically mental health. Taking a digital detox where you break away from using gadgets can help reduce the negative effects. In another study featured in the Journal of Social Psychology, people who stayed away from Facebook for five days experienced reduced levels of the cortisol stress hormone compared to those who continued to use it.
Eat a Healthy Meal
The food you eat determines how healthy or poorly your brain is nourished. Eating carbohydrates increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. This chemical helps provide a calming effect on an individual’s mood. Eating food rich in protein increases the secretion of dopamine, norepinephrine, and tyrosine, all substances that keep people alert.
Vegetables and fruits have many nutrients that feed the cells of the body and may help regulate mood. Also consider eating food rich in omega-3 or other polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as nuts, fish, and flaxseed. These nutrients map help enhance an individual’s mood and restore the health of brain cells needed for cognitive function.
Tell Your Story
Living with untold narratives inside of you may cause great distress. People go through different experiences -- some good, some bad. We often tell the good stories and keep the bad ones to ourselves. When you have a story to tell, whether good or bad, say it. You never know how it may touch the hearts of other people.
If you abused drugs and recovered from addiction, consider sharing that on social media or in support groups. This information may help people understand that they are not alone in their struggles.
Talking about your experiences with drugs may help people who are in recovery keep on track and remain sober. It may give them hope, courage, and the strength to continue to pursue the road to sobriety. If you experienced a relapse or other problems while you were recovering from addiction, you can tell other people how you felt, how you came out of it, or how you started.
Learning how to improve your mental health may help you address stressful events that drive people to use drugs or alcohol to cope. There are many ways you can manage your mental health, so try to identify the ones that are more fulfilling and meaningful to you.
About the Author:
Nicole is a freelance writer and educator based in the Michigan and believes that her writing is an extension of her career as a tutor. She covers many topics like travel, mental health and education. She is a key contributor to Chapters Capistrano's website where she covers topics like addiction recovery, dual diagnosis treatments and health education. When she isn’t writing, you might find Nicole running, hiking, and swimming. She has participated in several 10K races and hopes to compete in a marathon one day.