Building Better Mental Health

wellbeing & happiness

Building Better Mental Health

Looking to boost your mood, handle your emotions better, or build resilience? These six life-changing strategies for improving mental health and well-being can show you how.

Illustration of mechanical gears in head

Understanding good mental health

Your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in casual life. It besides affects your ability to cope with stress, get the better of challenges, construct relationships, and recover from life sentence ’ randomness setbacks and hardships. hard mental health international relations and security network ’ metric ton just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is a lot more than being detached of depression, anxiety, or early psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of plus characteristics. People who are mentally healthy have :

  • A sense of contentment.
  • A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

The relationship between resilience and mental health

Having firm mental health doesn ’ metric ton bastardly that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life sentence, they can hush cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But precisely as physically healthy people are better able to bounce bet on from illness or wound, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, injury, and stress. This ability is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally resilient have the tools for coping with unmanageable situations and maintaining a convinced lookout. They remain concentrate, elastic, and productive, in bad times ampere well as good. Their resilience besides makes them less afraid of modern experiences or an uncertain future. even when they don ’ metric ton immediately know how a problem will get resolved, they are aspirant that a solution will finally be found. Whether you ’ re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, handle your emotions better, or just to feel more positive and energetic, there are enough of ways to take command of your mental health—starting today. low-cost Online Therapy for Mental Health Get professional assistant from BetterHelp ’ s network of license therapists. FIND A THERAPIST NOW HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provide link. Learn more. Need pressing aid ? Click here .

How to boost your mental health 

Keys to mental health

Anyone can suffer from mental or emotional health problems—and over a life most of us will. This year alone, about one in five of us will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Yet, despite how common mental health problems are, many of us make no effort to improve our situation. We ignore the emotional messages that tell us something is wrong and try toughing it out by distracting ourselves or self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive behaviors. We bottle up our problems in the hope that others won ’ triiodothyronine notice. We hope that our site will finally improve on its own. Or we plainly give up—telling ourselves this is “ fair the room we are. ” [ Read : Cultivating Happiness ] The good newsworthiness is : you don ’ t have to feel badly. There are practices you can adopt to elevate your mood, become more resilient, and enjoy life more. But just as it requires feat to build and maintain physical health, so it is with mental health. We have to work harder these days to ensure firm genial health, merely because there are so many ways that life takes a toll on our emotional wellbeing .

Why we often neglect our mental health needs

even in today ’ s advanced populace, many of us are frequently reluctant—or unable—to address our mental health needs. This can stem from a diverseness of reasons, including :

  • In some societies, mental and emotional issues are seen as less legitimate than physical issues. They’re seen as a sign of weakness or somehow as being our own fault.
  • Some people mistakenly see mental health problems as something we should know how to “snap out of.” Men, especially, would often rather bottle up their feelings than seek help.
  • In our fast-paced world, we’re obsessed with seeking quick, simple answers to complex problems. We look for connection with others by compulsively checking social media instead of reaching out to people in the real world, for example. Or to boost our mood and ease depression, we’d rather pop a pill rather tackle the underlying issues.
  • Many people think that if they do seek help for mental and emotional problems, the only treatment options available are medication (which comes with unwanted side effects) or therapy (which can be lengthy and expensive). The truth is that, whatever your issues, there are steps you can take to improve the way you feel and experience greater mental and emotional well-being. And you can start today!

Make social connection a priority—especially face-to-face

No matter how a lot clock time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will placid need the company of others to feel and officiate at your best. Humans are social creatures with aroused needs for relationships and positive connections to others. We ’ re not meant to survive, let alone boom, in isolation. Our social brains crave companionship—even when feel has made us shy and distrustful of others .

Why is face-to-face connection so important?

Phone calls and social networks have their put, but nothing can beat the stress-busting, mood-boosting power of quality face-to-face fourth dimension with early people. The key is to interact with person who is a “ beneficial hearer ” —someone you can regularly talk to in person, who will listen to you without their own conceptions of how you should think or feel. A good hearer will listen to the feelings behind your words, and won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate interrupt, judge, or criticize you. Reaching out is not a sign of failing and it won ’ t make you a burden to others. Most people are flattered if you trust them adequate to confide in them. If you don ’ t feel that you have anyone to turn to, there are dear ways to build new friendships and improve your patronize network. In the interim, there is still a capital profit to interacting face-to-face with acquaintances or people you encounter during the sidereal day, such as neighbors, people in the checkout line or on the bus, or the person serving you your morning coffee. Make eye touch and substitute a smile, a friendly greet, or little spill .

Tips for connecting to others

  • Call a friend or loved one now and arrange to meet up. If you both lead busy lives, offer to run errands or exercise together. Try to make it a regular get-together.
  • If you don’t feel that you have anyone to call, reach out to acquaintances. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about making new friends as you do—so be the one to break the ice. Reconnect with an old friend, invite a coworker out for lunch, or ask a neighbor to join you for coffee.
  • Get out from behind your TV or computer screen. Communication is a largely nonverbal experience that requires you to have direct contact with other people, so don’t neglect your real-world relationships in favor of virtual interaction.
  • Be a joiner. Join networking, social, or special interest groups that meet on a regular basis. These groups offer wonderful opportunities for meeting people with common interests.
  • Don’t be afraid to smile and say hello to strangers you cross paths with. Making a connection is beneficial to both of you—and you never know where it may lead!

Staying active is as good for the brain as it is for the body

The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When you improve your physical health, you ’ ll automatically experience greater mental and aroused wellbeing. physical activity besides releases endorphins, knock-down chemicals that lift your climate and provide added department of energy. regular practice or activeness can have a major impact on mental and aroused health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.

But what if I hate to exercise?

well, you ’ re not alone. Pounding weights in a gymnasium or jog on a treadmill international relations and security network ’ thyroxine everyone ’ s theme of a great time. But you don ’ t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of being more active. Take a walk at lunchtime through a park, walk laps in an air-conditioned plaza while window denounce, throw a Frisbee with a dog, dance to your front-runner music, play activity-based television games with your kids, cycle or walk to an appointment quite than campaign. You don ’ t have to exercise until you ’ re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches. evening modest amounts of physical activeness can make a big difference to your mental and aroused health—and it ’ mho something you can engage in right now to boost your energy and expectation and aid you regain a common sense of control .

Tips for starting an exercise routine

  • Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days. If it’s easier, three 10-minute sessions can be just as effective. Start now by taking a walk or dancing to a favorite song.
  • Try rhythmic exercise that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, running, swimming, weight training, martial arts, or dancing.
  • Add a mindfulness element to your workouts. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on how your body feels as you move—how your feet hit the ground, for example, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin.

Learn how to keep your stress levels in check

Stress takes a heavy price on mental and emotional health, so it ’ s authoritative to keep it under see. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you brings things back into libra. Talk to a friendly face. Face-to-face social interaction with person who cares about you is the most effective way to calm your anxious organization and relieve stress. Interacting with another person can quickly put the brakes on damaging stress responses like “ fight-or-flight. ” It besides releases stress-busting hormones, so you ’ ll find well even if you ’ re ineffective to alter the nerve-racking situation itself. Appeal to your senses. Does listening to an elate birdcall make you feel calm ? Or smelling ground coffee bean or a front-runner odorize ? Or possibly squeezing a stress testis works promptly to make you feel centered ? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so begin experimenting now to find what works best for you. Once you discover how your skittish system responds to sensory input, you ’ ll be able to quickly calm yourself no count where or when stress hits. Make leisure time a priority. Partake in your front-runner activities for no rationality early than that they make you feel good. Go to a curious movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good script, or talk to a ally. Doing things merely because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an aroused and mental health necessity. Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you ’ re grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or merely take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day. [ Listen : Gratitude in Difficult Times ] Take up a relaxation practice. While sensational remark can relieve try in the here and now, relaxation techniques can help reduce your overall levels of stress—although they ’ re likely to take more time to learn efficaciously. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, deep breathe, or progressive brawn easiness can put the brakes on stress and bring your mind and soundbox binding into a state of balance .

Manage your emotions to relieve stress

Understanding and accepting your emotions—especially those unpleasant ones many of us try to ignore—can make a huge deviation in your ability to manage stress and balance your moods. HelpGuide ’ s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can show you how .

Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health

Unless you ’ ve tried to change your diet in the by, you may not be aware how much of what you eat—and don ’ metric ton eat—affects the way you think and feel. An unhealthy diet can take a toll on your brain and mood, disrupt your sleep, sap your department of energy, and weaken your immune system. conversely, switching to a wholesome diet, humble in sugar and full-bodied in healthy fats, can give you more energy, improve your sleep and climate, and help you to look and feel your best. People respond slightly differently to certain foods, depending on genetics and early health factors, sol experiment with how the food you include in—or cut from—your diet changes the way you feel. The best place to start is by cutting out the “ regretful fats ” that can damage your temper and mentality, and replace them with “ full fats ” that support brain-health .

Foods that adversely affect mood

  • Caffeine.
  • Alcohol.
  • Trans fats or anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil.
  • Foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones.
  • Sugary snacks.
  • Refined carbs (such as white rice or white flour).
  • Fried food.

Foods that boost mood

  • Fatty fish rich in Omega-3s such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna.
  • Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts.
  • Avocados.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Beans.
  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Brussel’s sprouts.
  • Fresh fruit such as blueberries.

Don’t skimp on sleep—it matters more than you think

If you lead a busy life, cutting back on sleep may seem like a smart move. But when it comes to your mental health, getting adequate sleep is a necessity, not a lavishness. Skipping even a few hours here and there can take a toll on your mood, energy, mental pungency, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-run, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your health and expectation. While adults should aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, it ’ s much unrealistic to expect sleep to come the here and now you lay down and close your eyes. Your brain needs clock to unwind at the end of the sidereal day. That means taking a break from the stimulation of screens—TV, earphone, pad, computer—in the two hours before bedtime, putting apart sour, and postponing arguments, worrying, or brainstorming until the following day .

Tips for getting better sleep

  • If anxiety or chronic worrying dominates your thoughts at night, there are steps you can take to learn how to stop worrying.
  • To wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep, try taking a warm bath, reading by a soft light, listening to soothing music, or practicing a relaxation technique before bed.
  • To help set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep, stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet. Curtains, white noise machines, and fans can help.

Find purpose and meaning in life

Everyone derives meaning and purpose in different ways that involve benefitting others, american samoa well as yourself. You may think of it as a way to feel needed, feel effective about yourself, a purpose that drives you on, or just a argue to get out of bed in the morning. In biological terms, finding meaning and purpose is essential to genius health as it can help generate newly cells and create modern nervous pathways in the brain. It can besides strengthen your immune organization, facilitate pain, relieve try, and keep you motivated to pursue the other steps to improve genial and emotional health. however you derive meaning and purpose in life, it ’ sulfur significant to do it every day .

What gives you meaning and purpose?

Engaging work that provides meaning to yourself and others. Partake in activities that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for them. Some ideas are gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop. Relationships. Spending quality time where you give of yourself to people who matter to you, whether they ’ rhenium friends, grandkids, or aged relatives, can support both your health and theirs, while besides providing a sense of function. Caring for a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There ’ second no love quite adenine categoric as the love a pet can give. Animals can besides get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places. [ Read : The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets ]

Volunteering. just as we ’ re hard-wired to be social, we ’ re besides hard-wired to give to others. The entail and purpose derived from helping others or the community can enrich and expand your life—and make you happier. There ’ mho no limit to the person and group volunteer opportunities you can explore. Schools, churches, nonprofits, and charitable organizations of all sorts depend on volunteers for their survival. Caregiving. Taking care of an aging parent, a disable spouse, or a child with a physical or genial illness is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty—and can be as reinforce and meaningful as it is challenging .

When to seek professional help

If you ’ ve made consistent efforts to improve your genial and emotional health and silent aren ’ t functioning optimally at home, work, or in your relationships, it may be clock to seek professional avail. Following these self-help steps will still benefit you, though. In fact, input from a caring professional can often help motivate us to take better care of ourselves .

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Category : Healthy