Just like your physical health, your mental wellbeing is important. In fact, there's evidence that good mental health directly affects physical health, and that it can help us reach the healthy goals we set for ourselves.
Mental wellbeing is not not just about being happy; happiness is just a part of the whole, and is just as important to it. Feelings of contentment, self-confidence, and self-esteem are all part of mental wellbeing. While this week is Mental Illness Awareness week, taking care of our mental wellbeing is something that we should strive for everyday.
We've put together this list of seven things you can do daily to take care of your mental wellbeing. Not only that, better mental health information will help your friends and loved ones as well.
Learn how to deal with stress. Everyone get's stressed out. It's unavoidable. However you can manage it by practicing good coping skills. There are one-minute de-stressing strategies you can use, such as deep or focused breathing, Tai Chi, yoga, exercise, taking a nature walk, playing with your pet or journaling. You can also try meditation or mindfulness as a way to reduce stress. Many of these activities are inexpensive, low risk and accessible for most. In a study published in the journal Ecopsychology, Dr. Sara Warber explained "given the increase in mental ill health and physical inactivity in the developed world...walking, when combined with nature and group settings, is a powerful, underutilized stress buster." You'll get fresh air, exercise and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!
Connect - Connecting with the people around you: your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors is beneficial. Spending time with you them has great bearing on your mental wellbeing. Make plans to spend more time with loved one's living with a mental illness or seek out activities where you can meet new people and engage in positive interaction. Another place to find this is in a support group or in online communities like healtheo360's Virtual Social Therapy® focus. Strong connections let us know that we have people who care about our mental wellbeing that we can share our feelings and know we are understood.
Eat healthier meals and snacks. What you eat has as much affect on your mental health as your physical health. Traditionally, mental health professionals aren't trained to ask about diet and nutrition. More research is finding that a nutritious diet is good for the brain too. These studies found a relationship poor diet and increased risk of some mental illness. Learn more about how you can add nutritious meals to your diet, even on a budget with these five tips. In establishing the national Let's Move! campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama said: The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of the nation is at stake. It’s geared toward people who want to set themselves on the road to a healthier life through positive changes to physical activity and eating behaviors.
Staying Active – In the last 100 years, we had to be quite active just to live your everyday life. Now, in the developed world, much of what we do is accomplished by machinery. We drive cars, take the train. Even our clothes are washed by machines. Engage in physical activities that you enjoy. Better yet, find others who also enjoy the same activities as well and use the opportunity to form or strengthen connections. You should also try these 10 holiday fitness tips.
The basics of maintaining your physical health include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough rest – lack of which contributes to a high rate of depression in college students
Ask for help when you need it – Millions of Americans live with various types of mental health problems and mental illness. Treatment options include medication and psychotherapy, however talking to family and close friends can have a huge impact. Talking about your feelings is not a sign of weakness. What it is: taking charge of your mental wellbeing and doing what you can, including asking for help, to stay healthy. Part of talking about how you feel is accepting who you are. This can be a gradual process, but engaging in activities with others can make it easier.
Value and accept yourself. Everyone deserves an amazing life filled with love, peace and happiness. Good mental health isn't something you have. It's something you do. Good mental wellbeing is about caring for yourself and caring about yourself. Mental health professionals generally agree, valuing ourselves or self-esteem is a measure of the mental picture we hold of ourselves. Negative thinking patterns associated with low self-esteem can be kept away by engaging in activities you enjoy and are good at. This can help build your self confidence. In her book, Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson explains why this way: it's about embracing everything that makes us who we are - the beautiful and the flawed - and using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways.
Taking action by educating yourself about good mental wellbeing and raising awareness of mental health conditions can break down obstacles and improve the chance of recovery for the millions of Americans living with a mental illness.
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