If we want is to live a happy, healthy life and achieve our goals, then we will need to pay attention to our mental health. Let’s not wait until we find ourselves seriously struggling mentally or facing a diagnosed illness. Ignoring our mental health can play havoc on our everyday lives. It can drain our energy, motivation, focus and our concentration, and increase our stress. If left unchecked, it can lead to more deeper issues like anxiety and depression. Here are five ways that will help us keep mentally fit.
1. Stress Management
You know sometimes we don’t even realize how much stress affects our daily lives. Continuous stress builds up over time and slowly we find we are not sleeping well, skimping on our diet, or living in a state of fog. Living under stress can lead us to fatigue, hair loss, muscle pain, weight changes, infertility and a negative approach to life.
Certainly we can’t cut out every stressful situation in our lives. However, we can learn to let go of what we can’t control and mitigate those things that do cause us stress. For example, we can’t control how busy our office gets at certain times or how other people act. These situations may agitate us. When we feel that way, we can take a time out and focus on something else, preferably a happy though, a positive affirmation, or just smile at the situation.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is not only good for our bodies it is also good for our minds. A simple thing like scheduling a short workout to start our day will pay dividends in lifting our mood and spirit. A 20-minute cardio routine is a perfect way to kick off the day. Studies show that brisk ten-minute walk three times a day is as healthy as a 30 to 45 minutes workout.
3. Go Unplugged
These days it is so easy to be constantly connected. Our phones are practically tethered to our hands. Often, we turn to it and unconsciously open a social media app. Before we know it, we’ve wasted 15-minutes scrolling aimlessly. Not only that, we are jarred into reviewing the latest breaking news which in turn triggers an avalanche of emotions that seems to be outpouring from all corners of the world. Suddenly, we are caught in that avalanche and we feel our emotions escalating to a higher pitch. That’s just for starters. That doesn’t even take into account how we interrupt ourselves to look at a notification or attempt to multi-task. Always being connected encourages plenty of bad habits.
Let’s do ourselves a major favor and unplug for a few hours or maybe for a whole day. Can we take the plunge and just put our phones on the “do not disturb’ mode, and spend our day untethered? Hey, we may find that we are re-engaging with people face to face, communicating with others, and enjoying nature. Isn’t that novel?
4. Walk Away
It doesn’t matter what we’re dealing with it’s important to understand when to walk away (or take a break) from a situation. It’s easy to stick at it and give in to frustration, but a short break can make all the difference.
5. Make Healthy Choices
What do you do when you feel hunger pains in the mid-afternoon? Do you wander over to the vending machine and grab a candy bar or a bag of chips? Perhaps, you brought a snack with you, but it’s not much better for you than what you found in the vending machine.
By making a simple healthy choice in times like this, we can positively influence our mental health. The best thing to do is to choose a snack that’s low on the Glycemic index, offers plenty of fiber and moderate protein. This helps us regulate our appetite. For example, take a small handful of raw nuts or a piece of cheese and top it off with a piece of fruit is more healthy for us.
What we are attempting to do here is to train our brain to get the same pleasure from healthy choices as it does to the junk it’s become accustomed to. Achieve this one dietary behavior at a time. Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
It may not be easy to follow the tips above, especially if you are struggling with a mental health episode. However, once you start taking steps to apply some of the changes suggested you will see the difference in how you feel. Others will notice, too. We all experience mental health struggles from time to time, but these five tips can help us stay on track in improving our mental health.
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