Your mental health is fundamental to your life and goals, and it’s about time we all started giving it the attention it deserves. It’s not only a question of serious diseases like dementia that could be waiting for you in old age if you don’t take good care of your mental health; there are also significant impacts, ranging from the everyday stress, blues and lack of focus, energy and motivation in your daily life, to more serious conditions like depression and anxiety, that affect people in all stages of their lives.
It’s essential to have a calm, healthy and composed mind as you take on life’s many challenges. So we have compiled a list of five simple activities that can help you boost your mental health.
5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
Physical activity is perhaps the most vital contributor to our mental health, and has been shown to be one of the most powerful cures for depression and anxiety — more even than antidepressants. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which transform your state of mind and gives you the clarity and positive drive you need to sail through your days, even when stresses or pressures threaten to knock you off track. So next time you get off work and find yourself sinking into your social media feeds or binging on Netflix, catch yourself. Try spending that time jogging, working out, doing some yoga (which alone has huge mental benefits), or even just engaging in simple exercises at home.
Take a break, meditate
Take some time between work to relax and center yourself. Step away from the noise and clutter. Allow your mind to take a breather. When you do this, it allows your mind to be more attentive and fully present. You will become more aware of yourself, and will experience greater mental clarity as a result. You can also take this time to write down what is bothering you so that you can find a solution to that in due time.
Furthermore, when you increase your capacity for self-awareness, your creativity will increase, and will ideas come more freely to you. Keep a notepad handy to jot them down so that you don’t forget them. You can make the most out of this practice when you wake up in the morning too, where you can note down the ideas you had the night before.
Dark chocolate? Coffee? Where?
Ever wonder why you feel so good every time you enter a coffee shop or catch a whiff of the fresh beans brewing? Studies have suggested that the aroma of coffee beans might serve to ease feelings of stress, and drinking it can even help to reduce the risk of depression. If you are prohibited from too much caffeine and are trying to cut back, green tea with added lemon and honey can do the job of oxidizing your blood and activating your mind and body just as well.
Talking about body and mind activation, dark chocolate contains theobromine and various flavonoids that improve mental capacities. It also has caffeine. So keep one bar of dark chocolate hidden in your fridge, and help yourself to a little piece here and there. Do this every week and savor the chocolate moderately rather than gobbling it down.
Laugh and smile more
Laughter is truly the best medicine. Yes, we know Reader’s Digest does have a whole section on it. And for good reason; laughter reduces stress and anxiety. Smiling also reduces your heart rate and helps a feeling of calm wash over you in times of stress.
So take the time out to watch a comedy or TV series that gets you going with laughter. You could also goof around with a funny friend or watch funny videos online. Or you could go out of your way to help someone. The effort itself is memorable and rewarding.
Put down that phone
But only after reading through this article, of course. No, but seriously. All that unnecessary exposure to harmful rays, skimming and skipping through content, multi-tasking, constant notifications, bad posture — the combination of bad habits they encourage have been shown to take their toll on your mental health over time.
Take this challenge today and make it go viral: Pick the right moment, and go without your cell phone for the day. Set all emails, alerts and notifications aside, and go about your daily routine without interruptions. Instead, talk with friends or coworkers face-to-face when you need to discuss things or communicate. It’s more than doable.
We hope this helps you out. Best of luck with trying these activities, and let us know if we missed out on your favorites.