5 Simple Things You Can Do Today To Boost Your Mental Health

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Surefire Ways to control mental health
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Last Updated on February 17, 2022 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

Many of us pay close attention to our physical health. We watch what we eat, get exercise, and visit our doctors for routine check-ups.

But how many of us make mental health a priority as well? How many of us engage in self-care?

What are you doing to boost your mental health?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and one in five U.S. adults will experience a mental illness in a given year.

Mental disorders are far more common than you think. No one is immune.

We have to take steps to protect our mental health. As a society, we are overworked, underpaid, disconnected, and lonely.

Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to boost your mental health. Here are five actionable ways to show some love to yourself every single day. 

5 Simple ways To Boost Your Mental Health
5 Simple Things You Can Do Today To Boost Your Mental Health

1. Express Gratitude

The next time you’re feeling bummed out by what you feel is missing from your life, practice giving thanks to what you already have.

At least one study shows clear benefits from expressing gratitude. Researchers followed a group that regularly expressed gratitude.

What they found was that the participants reported strong feelings of optimism and a desire to become a better version of themselves.

In short, expressions of gratitude fosters positive emotions and changes our way of thinking.

It’s easy to start feeling grateful. You can write down five things you’re grateful for every day and reflect on them for a moment. They don’t have to be “huge” things—if you can walk, see, hear, and have clean running water and a place to live then your list is already complete.

An attitude of gratitude changes the way you see the world.

2. Get Moving

Those feel-good endorphins are not a fabrication; a 2017 study discovered that one hour of exercise per week is enough physical activity to ward off future depression.

Physical activity increases circulation and defuses stress, which helps us feel better.

And exercising with other people—including playing in a team sport—may enhance exercise’s effect as you’re socializing with others and working towards a goal together.

Something as simple as taking a quick walk around the neighborhood or jumping rope during a commercial break can contribute towards daily exercise.

Start by taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes every day. You’ll notice that your mood has gotten better.

Mental Health Wellness Tips. Courtesy, YouTube.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Insomnia and compromised mental health can feed one another, creating a harmful cycle that is hard to break.

While depression and anxiety can lead to sleep deprivation, as many as 50% of people with insomnia have a mental health disorder.

It can be difficult at times to determine which came first, but it’s clear that there’s a link between not sleeping well and an increased risk of having an anxiety disorder or depression.

Not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night also slows down our cognitive ability and reaction time. It also causes our appetite-regulating hormones to go out of whack (which makes us consume more calories), and leaves us with no energy to exercise or enjoy what we love to do.

“It would be great to have a relaxing ritual into one’s schedule (preferably before bedtime),” said Alex Savy, a sleep science coach and founder of SleepingOcean. For example, this can help readers reduce their stress levels in the evening and, thus, sleep better. They can journal, read something neutral (it’s a no-no for scary stories), take a warm shower or bath, do self-massage, stretch, meditate, paint, and so on.

RELATED:  Major Depression: A Simple Guide To a Complicated Disorder

Establish a bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster.

4. Take a Break

Everyone needs a breather on busy days, whether at the office or running errands, particularly when things get stressful.

If necessary, go sit in your car or find another private space and focus on your breathing for five minutes. Mindfulness meditation can be effective at reducing depression and anxiety.

Breaks are an excellent form of self-care and an incredible way to boost your mental health. Never feel guilty about taking them.

We all have limitations. Knowing what they are and how to overcome them is a strength, not a weakness.

5. Create Art

They call it art therapy for a reason—at least two studies show that creating art improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and can even help people tolerate pain better.

Whether you’re into painting or making jewelry, getting creative takes the mind off your troubles and focused on something positive.

Plus, it’s an amazing confidence booster when you make something with your own hands. It’s also a great way to spend your free time as opposed to going on social media, which may be harming your mental health.

6. Bonus Tip: Talk To a Professional

The benefits of talk-therapy is clear.

The vast majority of people who work with a licensed therapist report that it is tremendously beneficial. They see a decrease in their symptoms, an increase in coping skills, and a desire to affect positive change.

While you can certainly find a mental health professional in your area, more and more people are turning to online counseling platforms such as BetterHelp.

Online counseling is convenient, affordable, and confidential. You’ll have virtually unlimited access to a licensed therapist by phone, video, or chat. It’s an excellent way to boost your mental health.

When Online Therapy & Counseling Is Appropriate vs When It Isn’t. Courtesy, BetterHelp.

How to Put Your Mental Health First

Knowledge is power when managing your mental health.

If you struggle with depression and anxiety, it’s important to learn all you can about those conditions. Only then can you learn to manage them.

But knowledge is not enough. You have to take steps to boost your mental health daily.

Self-care is the name of the game. Anything you do to nourish your emotional, physical, or psychological needs is self-care.

You probably don’t even need to do a bunch of different things, either. The trick is always to find what works for you.

If you are not sure where to begin, review the five steps mentioned above and go from there.

And if you have any tips, please leave them in the comments below.

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Elizabeth Haste

Elizabeth Haste is a freelance writer from Raleigh. NC. Having suffered from anxiety and depression in college, she is super passionate about mental health awareness and education.

3 Comments

  1. Mental health is as important as physical health, we need to have a Control over mental health especially when feeling upset.

  2. Wonderful blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that
    cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of
    group where I can get advice from other knowledgeable people
    that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
    Kudos!

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