Protecting our mental health is more straightforward than you believe. We can all do it every day, and with uncomplicated activities that help us feel good, we can cope better.
It is like brushing your teeth daily, which is essential to prevent problems. It is the same for our mental health; it can be fun too.
Researchers have created the following tips to help us care for our mental health; more importantly, research evidence backs each of those tips.
These tips will be more accessible for some and more challenging for others, so why not try them out and see which ones best suit you?
Trying new things may sometimes feel uncomfortable, but they usually get easier the more we practice them. One thing to remember is that none of us is perfect. We all have our limits. What is good enough for you is excellent.
GET CLOSER TO NATURE
Generally, people live with concerns, fears, uncertainties, failures, losses, and pressures that make them feel stressed.
Nature may have a truly calming effect on us. We have been living around other animals and plants for thousands of years. Some say nature helps them feel calmer, more helpful, and less lonely. The research found that going for a walk was a good way for adults to cope with stress during the pandemic in 2020.
Going into a forest or the woods and experiencing different smells, sounds, and textures may be helpful. The idea is to connect with your natural surroundings.
UNDERSTAND AND MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS
Feeling upset may interfere with your life, making it difficult to think clearly or work, relax, study, sleep, or deal with other people. Many of us know when we are upset, but sometimes we are unsure what we feel or why we feel that way.
Pay attention to your feelings without judging and try to recognize your emotions. Some women, for example, may find that their periods affect their mood.
Talk kindly to yourself. You may repeat something positive about yourself several times a day (mantra). Research shows that it may reduce negative thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness is also helpful. It is the capability to be fully present, conscious of where we stand and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is happening around us.
TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST AND EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
It requires a lot of courage to talk to someone about how we feel or with what we are struggling with. However, talking to someone we trust may help us feel relief. In addition, talking can transform the way you think about a situation.
Another benefit is that talking can strengthen your relationship with the person, which will benefit both when one of you needs support.
DO NOT USE DRUGS OR CONSUME ALCOHOL TO COPE WITH DIFFICULT FEELINGS
For some people, drugs and alcohol offer temporary relief. Still, unfortunately, they do not prevent the feelings from returning and can worsen conditions or create other issues, including damage to mental health.
You can look for ways to deal with distressing feelings, such as getting help with the situation that is causing them, and it is possible to find a trusted person to talk to. This person could be a friend or family member, a colleague, your family doctor, or a counselor.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep is often the first thing to suffer when we struggle with mental health. Adults should sleep approximately seven to nine hours every night, including enough sleep for dreaming and deep sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping, consider making some changes, for example:
MOVE YOUR BODY
Our bodies and minds are connected, so taking care of ourselves physically also helps us prevent problems with our mental health (and the other way around too). Therefore, physical activity is a great way to improve our mental and physical health.
Everything we eat affects our body, brain, and mood, for better or worse. So a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits is essential for good physical and mental health.
PLAN THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE FUTURE
Life throws all sorts of things at us, and during difficult times, we may feel hopeless and not have the energy to plan for the future. However, something to look forward to, including fun activities, may help us get through difficult situations and protect our mental health.
ASK FOR HELP
It is okay to ask for help. Mental health professionals and services are available to help you manage your symptoms.
You are not alone. At Neurocare Centers of America, your health and well-being are essential to our success. Contact us. We are here for you.