Society has always given physical health priority with an understanding that if you are physically fit, then you can deal with anything that comes your way.
We do everything to improve physical condition—diet, exercise, medication, and even doctor visits. But until recent times, people barely acknowledged mental issues as important or even existing, leave alone speaking about it. They feared doing so might make them appear weak. But now, more people are acknowledging and discussing mental wellbeing.
So what exactly is mental health?
It refers to the state of our social, emotional and psychological well-being. In other words mental health affects how we think, feel, and act in certain situations. It affects our everyday state of being, and not managing it can lead to medical problems.
Mental health impacts every element of our life—from our relationships to our performance at work. It is important to prioritise your mental health even if you are not diagnosed with any concerns.
Here are some ways with which you can improve your mental health
1. Social Connectivity
Try and spend time face to face with loved ones. Don’t rely only on technology. It’s easy to get into the habit of texting to connect. Humans are social beings with emotional needs for relationships and positive connections. Good relationships are important for mental wellbeing. It helps to build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
2. Being active
Physical activity releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that lift your mood and provide added energy. Regular activity can have a major impact on your emotional and mental health. It relieves stress, helps you to sleep better, and improves self esteem. This doesn’t mean spending more time in the gym. Find activities which you enjoy and make them a part of your daily routine.
3. Practising gratitude
Many times we focus on the negative—thoughts and events. One way to combat negativity is practising gratitude. Be thankful! Maintain a journal. Spend 10 or 15 minutes journaling about what you’re thankful for. Make a list anywhere from five to 10 things. Explore small and big things equally. Beautiful weather, compliments from the team, having a home, job, or good health. It helps in being more empathetic and reduces aggression.
4. Be kind to yourself
Ask yourself—would you speak to someone else the way you speak to yourself? Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake or judge yourself harshly for being imperfect. Being kind means taking care of yourself.
For some, self-care might be taking time to rest each week, spending time with friends, or going for a vacation. Start by investing in yourself. Spend 15 – 30 minutes each day doing something that uplifts you. This can bring about a positive change in improving the relationship you have with yourself.
5. Find a meaningful goal
Challenge yourself. Even if you think you’re at a good place in life and most of your goals have been achieved, there are always areas for growth and learning new things. Stagnation is counter productive to positivity and self-love.
6. Prioritise sleep
Good quality sleep isn’t just about getting your eight hours. It’s about getting sleep that is restful and energises you. If you are having difficulty getting restful sleep, try to incorporate practices that will help you achieve better sleep, like exercise daily, avoid caffeine intake close to bedtime, don’t check e-mails, and social media an hour before bedtime.
7. Pay attention to present
Being mindful about the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. It includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Live in the moment and enjoy it.
When you have tried all means and made consistent efforts to improve your emotional and mental health and even then find it difficult to function optimally at home, work, or in your relationships, it may be time to seek professional help