Physical health is a topic that is constantly being discussed, whether that’s the latest diet advice to lose weight, improve gut health or the latest exercise that will get you feeling fitter. If physical health is great and obviously important, mental health should not be something you overlook when it comes to overall health.
Trying to find ways to improve your mental health? In this post, we’ll share some things anyone can do to improve and maintain mental health.
Yes, the first thing you can do to improve your mental well-being is… focus on your physical well-being too! Aside from health benefits for the body, exercise has been shown to positively impact the levels of serotonin – the “happy hormone” – in your brain. Serotonin is a hormone that helps individuals with an overall sense of well-being, can boost your mood and also has wider impacts on appetite levels and sleep cycles, all important parts of a healthy lifestyle which can support good mental health and help with depression.
Find something you enjoy and can stick to, whether that’s a dance class, a fitness group or running in the morning, the possibilities are endless!
Eat Well & Drink Sensibly
When struggling with mental health or depression, often the natural response is to turn to comforting foods and sometimes alcohol. Alcohol may seem like it temporarily relieves anxiety or loneliness but once effects wear off, things may only seem worse. If you feel like you are turning to alcohol to manage difficult feelings, do not hesitate to turn to loved ones or groups for support.
A healthy diet is also great for mental health. It’s not just about weight management, but what you eat will fuel your brain and organs to keep your body functioning well and will support good mental health. People who are experiencing eating disorders as a result of poor mental health should look for support from medical professionals from the likes of Newbridge who offer support and treatment for a variety of eating disorders.
Stay in Touch
It’s all too easy to think we are connected with the world when we’re using social media and getting used to texting or messaging people. Strong relationships are the foundation of good mental health so it’s important to try and spend some time with family and friends. It could be as simple as visiting a family member, grabbing coffee with a friend or lunch with a co-worker. Relationships bring support and a sense of belonging that we’re not always conscious of.
If you’re meeting face-to-face, try to turn off the TV or other distractions. Why not organise a game night? If you live far apart from loved ones, make the most of technology with video calls to stay in touch with those you haven’t seen in a while.
Mindfulness has gained traction in the past couple of years, and for good reason. It’s been proven to help with feelings of anxiety or stress, which in turns can impact your sleep, mental health and even physical health such as blood pressure.
Mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of your life, whether that’s eating, walking or meditating for example. The idea is to focus on the present moment, acknowledging what you are thinking or feeling without judgment. A great way to start could be to try an app such as Headspace which has some tips and courses for absolute beginners.
There isn’t a “quick fix” if you are struggling with mental health, but by introducing new habits and practices into your life, you will slowly improve your mental health. Don’t hesitate to seek professional support if you need to and open up to those around you.