World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10th each year and we're ALL for raising awareness around such a prevalent topic.
There’s so much one can do to boost your mental health and the health of others. Some steps are bigger, and others are relatively small and easy to do. We’ve included several here, but if after you’ve read these, you’re still interested in some more tips, you can always find us on Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs.
Remember, the goal here is not just to improve your mental health and overall well-being but to help others do the same.
Take Small Steps to Boost Your Mental Health
Not all of these little changes will work for you, and some might not even be practical, but if you take the things you can do and make them a part of your routine, you’re setting yourself up to feel better, mentally and physically.
1. Embrace the Sun
You’re constantly being told how dangerous the sun’s UV rays are, but did you know that the sun is also good for you? A research paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders states that seasonal increases in daylight were associated with decreased emotional distress. They also found that greater sun time trended with lower suicidal ideation.
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s become a cliché, but learning to manage small annoyances and inconveniences in your life can make a big difference in your stress levels. The real benefit here is that by using techniques to manage “small stuff,” you not only keep yourself on an even keel, but the effect can be contagious.
Your positive attitude and calmness can make others feel better about the same stressors.
3. Skip the Caffeine
on some people, meaning it can cause or worsen anxieties. This is one of those things that can affect one person while having no effect whatsoever on another, so you need to know how you react to caffeine.
But if you find that skipping it leaves you feeling calmer and more relaxed in your day, it’s definitely a habit that’s worth breaking.
Another thing to consider is if you don’t get enough sleep, your mental health and mood can be drastically affected. Sleep is crucial to physical and mental health for all people. Caffeine can be the culprit causing you to miss out on those valuable moments of rest.
4. Make Sleep a Priority
Since it’s been touched on, this is a good time to dive deeper into the importance of sleep.
Harvard Medical School published an article that looks at sleep and mental health disorders, and they point out that in the past, professionals saw a lack of quality sleep as a symptom of mental health problems.
Today they’re realizing that lack of sleep may actually be a contributing factor in the development of several serious mental health problems and psychiatric disorders.
5. Exercise or Microcize
If you don’t have the time to exercise, try microcizing. It’s small bursts of exercise or activity that can get your heart rate up a little bit. It’s a great way to start up the beneficial effects of exercise.
Of course, if you do have the time, a longer bout of exercise does more good. Even if it’s just a walk after dinner, exercise is proven to help boost mood and improve mental health in many different ways.
6. Talk to People
Don’t spend all of your time virtually communicating. Step away from the computer, and put the phone down, and actually engage in conversations with others.
Social connections are known to improve both physical and mental health. And, think about it, if you’re engaged with someone else, you’re not the only one receiving the benefit, they’re getting a physical and mental health boost, too.
7. Focus on Healthy Foods
You are what you eat. You’ve heard it your whole life, and as you grow older and wiser, you realize how very true it is.
If your body is lacking in specific vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients, you’re going to be affected by that, sooner or later. By eating well-balanced and healthy meals, you can ensure you’re consuming most of what you need in your diet. If something is still lacking, try taking a high-quality stress relief supplement.
8. Treat Yo'self
While you’re working hard to do everything right, it can feel like there’s no joy left in your life. You certainly don’t want this to be the case.
Feel free to treat yourself to a little chocolate. Take a break from your regular workout to watch a movie or have dinner with friends. Stay up late one night to have quality time with your spouse when the kids are asleep.
Whatever it is, make sure you recognize that you’re doing a good job, and once in a while, you deserve a treat.
Changes in Attitudes Toward Mental Health
While most people feel that the acceptance of mental health issues is better than it used to be, it’s still not seen on par with physical health issues.
We’ve certainly moved far away from the days when people in mental health facilities were viewed as a tourist attraction and seen as entertainment. But the stigma associated with mental health remains. Even to this day, people with mental health disorders are regarded as “not normal” and more violent than other people.
More acceptance is needed, and that might be one of the best things you can do to promote mental health for yourself and for others.
Just by committing to small changes, you’ve taken a big step toward elevating attitudes of mental health. Every time you make an effort or try to be more in touch with your mental health and that of others, you’re advancing the cause.
Taking charge of your life and making the changes necessary to live the life you want is within your control. You can do it by moving toward that goal every day.
Putting yourself, mental and physical health included, first is something you should be proud of.
That said, some mental health concerns require additional support and professional help. Reach out if you feel that you’d benefit from help, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
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