5 Quick Fixes To Improve Your Mental Health
In a hectic world where everyone and everything seems to run at 100mph, it’s important to take care of yourself and in particular, improve your mental health. There are many simple tasks you can complete on a daily basis which will enable you to maintain or boost your wellness – something that in itself has a lot of benefits!
By taking care of your mind, you can think more clearly, make better decisions, sleep more soundly, feel more positive, maintain better relationships, and generally feel happier. And who wouldn’t want that?
Here are a few tips for changing behaviours to improve your mental health and how you feel every day.
1. Make healthy choices
It’s very easy to make a grab for your favourite snack as a quick fix to curb those hunger pangs, but a few simple swaps can keep your mind more focused through the day. Nutritionist Naomi Mead advices that switching to food that is high in fiber, moderate in protein, and low glycemic helps regulate food intake and appetite.
Fresh fruit and raw nuts are two good examples of a healthier snack. That may not immediately float your boat, but Naomi believes it’s all a matter of persuasion, “It’s possible to re-train your brain to get excited about vegetables—and to experience less pleasure when you eat sugary and junk foods”.
You can do this by changing eating behaviour over time, and teaching your brain to actually prefer healthier foods. Studies have found that the brain works best with 25g of fruit sugars in the bloodstream.
So, try reaching for a banana rather than a bag of crisps mid-morning. Your brain will soon get used to this idea and want a banana around that time.
Don’t forget water as well. Keeping hydrated can boost brain power by up to 20%. Be sure to carry a water bottle around with you. When you’re at work, it is easy to forget to drink regularly.
2. Have some quiet time
Our environments are noisy. There’s so much going on. When we commute, we are surrounded by people chatting, trains rolling or the general hustle of the morning ride. When we sit in an office, we are surrounded by telephones, conversations, typing and printers. When we get home, we put the TV on.
Does our mind ever get any peace?
A little relaxation in a quiet room can work wonders for our mental health. It can help you focus your thoughts and you could even try some meditation – something many people advocate for mental health.
Attempt some relaxation exercises. Deep breathing, prayer, mindfulness techniques and even short naps can boost mental health.
3. Avoid stress
Stress can come in many forms. You may not even realise you are suffering from stress, but the accumulation of small and frequent negative thoughts and energy can have a negative impact on your physical health very quickly.
Stress can cause extreme fatigue, depression, negative feelings, hair loss, weight loss/gain, infertility, muscle pains and poorly functioning internal organs. You should try and identify what could be causing stress in your life.
Is it your work colleagues? Your long daily commute? Your untidy house?
Then, try and change these issues where you can. Make small, positive changes – so, for instance, you might not be able to escape your work colleagues very often, but you could make a conscious decision that at lunchtimes you leave the office area and take a walk in the fresh air on your own instead.
4. Keep your mind active
Watching the TV every evening can have some benefits on occasion (zoning out, escaping real life, switching off for a little while, etc) but in general, mixing up your monotonous routine with something that keeps your mind active is a great way to stay sharp.
You could try puzzles or crosswords, for instance. You might want to read a book or do a jigsaw; many people choose to partake in gaming as a way of boosting brain power. Games evoke excitement, a positive emotion that increases brain activity and encourages a sharp mind.
Video games are said to improve reaction times by 25%! Even games like bingo could go some way to improve your reactions, get your mind buzzing and relieve stress. You could play this online, on a tablet or phone, and even encourage partners or friends to join in for added fun.
5. Talk about it
If there is something on your mind, there is nothing better than getting it off your chest. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness.
By bottling up your thoughts and keeping them contained, your mental health is bound to suffer. You will feel tension, stress, you could even be unable to sleep at night. These feelings can quickly snowball, creating a seemingly desperate situation in which you cannot escape. But there is help available and it’s never as hard as it sounds to find it. You can overcome any issues you have with time, patience, understanding, acceptance and support.
Good luck with making these small changes in your life to protect, sustain, and improve your mental health.