In any given year, about 43 million Americans suffer a mental illness. Going by these numbers, it’s very likely that in every five people you know, at least one has a mental condition.
Or, is this one person you? When did you last have a mental health examination?
Left unattended, even a seemingly benign mental disorder can morph into a serious mental illness with consequences such as premature death.
Don’t let it get there.
In this article, we’re sharing everyday things you can do to achieve and maintain optimum mental health. Read on!
How do you think about yourself? Do you consider yourself a good-for-nothing loser or a work in progress?
Your thoughts and perceptions of yourself have a powerful effect on how you feel and who you become. If your thoughts are always negative, your sense of self-worth will take a slump, along with your mental wellness.
Yes, we live in a world that, according to research, is becoming more negative, but that’s no reason to let your mind become a breeding ground for negativity.
You have the power to keep a positive attitude. Tell yourself words of reaffirmation every morning, try to find good in everything, volunteer, and hang around people who give off positive vibes.
You Only Have One Body
It’s not uncommon to hear people saying “I have lived many lives.” On the other side of the spectrum, we have the “you only live once” battalion.
Many lives or one, one thing remains fact: you have one body. Take care of it.
Taking care of your body can help improve your mental health. Performing regular anaerobic exercises such as jogging, gardening, and dancing, for instance, increases blood circulation to the brain, which improves your mood. These exercises also help to reduce anxiety and depression, the two most common mental health conditions.
In addition to breaking a sweat, eat balanced, nutritional meals. If you enjoy a smoke, it’s time to drop the habit.
Same goes for people who consume alcohol. Such substances not only cause dangerous diseases but also lead to addiction, which fuels mental health issues.
Another way to take care of your body? Get enough sleep. At least seven to nine hours of sleep every day (throw in a 15-45 minute nap) will blast you to optimum mental performance.
Get Yourself a Furry Friend
People keep pets for many reasons. Some love them for their great company, others keep them as a status symbol. And others do because, well, cats have a reputation for hounding down mice and rats, and dogs can deter intruders.
Pets are also good for your mental health wellness.
In a systematic review of 17 international studies on the use of pets in the management of mental health conditions, researchers at BioMed Central concluded that pets do indeed benefit people with mental health benefits.
But, don’t wait for a mental condition to strike to get yourself a pet! Even people of sound mental health can still benefit from pets. Whether your pet of choice is a bird, cat, snake, dog, guinea pig or rabbit, it’s time to open the doors to your home and welcome a new resident.
Is there anything that defines teen years like a journal or a diary?
Admit it. You, too, kept a diary when you were a teenager! You documented your feelings.
Your fears. Struggles. Triumphs.
You let go, and felt better about it, right?
The funny thing is journals or diaries cease to become a part of us as we grow into adulthood, yet this is the time we need them most.
Journaling is a form of expressive therapy and can help you beat anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. It provides an opportunity to talk to yourself, and you’ll be able to recognize your fears and triggers.
If the last time you wrote a journal or filled a diary was way back in your teens, it’s not too late to revive the habit.
Another thing — don’t turn to journal apps and software. While they serve the same purpose as hardcopy journals and diaries, the benefit is in writing things down — not typing.
Learn About Mental Health
Mental disorders aren’t easy to spot. Unless you’re a mental health expert or someone is showing visible signs of insanity, it’s tough telling what’s normal and what’s not.
As such, increasing your mental health awareness is a must if you’re to achieve good mental health.
You don’t have to enroll in a college course to do this. Taking a few minutes, a couple times a week to read about common mental conditions. Watch mental health shows on TV and follow mental health professionals on social media.
The more you know about the signs, symptoms, and remedies of mental health conditions, the easier it is to catch them and take immediate preventive action. After all, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Embrace the Great Outdoors
If you don’t already love spending time in the great outdoors, here is a good reason why you need to start. Spending as little as five minutes outdoors is enough to lift your mood and self-esteem! And when you feel good about yourself, there’s no room for negativity.
Make Visiting a Mental Health Professional a Thing
Seeing a mental health professional isn’t something many people do every day or regularly. In any case, more than half of those suffering from mental health conditions receive mental health services.
To enjoy optimum mental health, see a mental health professional on the regular. Having a 5-10 minute session with a mental therapist every other day after work is completely manageable, and the cost is well worth it.
After all, when you have good mental health, your overall health improves, too. Read this article to gain more insight into the relationship between mental health and overall health.
Optimum Mental Health Is Achievable
Many of us operate in fast-moving, high-pressure environments. From keeping a job to raising a family and doing everything else in-between, balancing it all can be a tall wall to climb.
And when the going gets tough, stress kicks in and our mental health deteriorates.
The good news is your mental wellness is firmly in your control. Practice these activities habitually and you’ll be on your way to optimum mental health.
While at it, keep tabs on our health section for more tips.