What is Mental Health?
Our mental health encompasses our entire well-being. Being mentally health refers to ones psychological wellness. Moreover, just as it is crucial to maintain ones physical health, it is just as important to enhance and maintain our mental health. Furthermore, being mentally healthy does not just mean the absence of psychological disorders, but also having effective coping mechanisms as well as enhancing the positive characteristics of ones life. Some characteristics include; effective emotion regulation, such as being able to cope with and tolerate difficult feelings, effective communication like setting boundaries and being assertive. It is also very important to set realistic expectations about life and relationships, to avoid unnecessary disappointment. These characteristics will help you maintain and balance a healthy life style that are necessary for mental health. This does not mean that we don’t experience, loss, hurt or anger, but it is how we chose to cope with our issues that influence our mental health.
Mental Health Basics – Really Basic
Those who are mentally healthy engage in hobbies, have high self esteem and confidence, exercise more frequently, have social support, maintain a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep. These are all important aspects that influence out mental health. When we maintain our body, we are nurturing our mental health as well. The two are interconnected, maintaining physical health nurtures and strengthens our psychological well-being and vice-versa. These are some things you can do in your life to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They are all free and you have complete control of all them. These guidelines don’t require hours of therapy or special treatments. Take a month and try some of these basic tips. See how your month goes and let us know!
Engage in activities that make you happy and positively impact your life. Whether its volunteering, reading, spending time with family and friends. Investing in things that make life more enjoyable help us cope with life’s difficulties. Leisure time and activities recharge our batteries, a great stress-buster, and gives us things to look forward to and enjoy.
Get off your Duff
Our minds and bodies are connected, they are one, mistreating one is mistreating yourself. Investing in our physical health helps manage and maintain our psychological well-being. Whether if its going to the gym, jogging, hiking or going for a walk, engaging in exercise helps take our minds off difficult situations, thus relieving stress and anxiety. Exercise is natures best anti-depressant, it releases feel good hormones and neurotransmitters that are more effective and last longer than medications. Being physically active also helps to get more restful sleep and gives us more energy throughout the day. It also helps regulate our metabolism and maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t Cheap on Sleep
Sleep is not an option, it’s a necessity to live a healthy life. During sleep is when the physical and emotion self heal, restores, and recharges. We process and consolidate neural, cognitive and emotional information when we sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep, we find ourselves feeling irritable, inpatient, or anxious contributing to stress and anxiety. Without regular adequate sleep we have less cognitive capacity (attention, memory, learning, decision making), our immune system is depressed, and we are not recharged enough for optimal functioning throughout the day. It is essential we get enough rest to let our minds and bodies, recuperate.
Check your Negative at the Door
Negativity creates negativity, it’s a simple as that. If you have negative thoughts ‘today will be terrible’, you will have negative feelings ‘I feel blah and miserable’ and outlook ‘I knew today would be bad, look at this parking ticket’. When we think negatively we focus on the negative. What we focus on expands. We also ignore the positive things that happen though the day when we focus on the negative. My mother used to say ‘if you look for trouble you’ll find it’. If you look for ways to feel bad, you’ll find them! This leads to feelings of anger, stress and anxiety. Check your thinking and focus on some of the positive things your life. Surrounding yourself with people and activities that have a positive outlook are beneficial to our mental well-being.
We are a social species, we need to connect, talk to, and be around other people. Make time for friends and family in person and on the phone. Text and e-mail less as they are less forms of connection and really are best to update information rather than the personal experience we need and thrive on. Choose people who can and do support you and nourish you. Reduce time spent with and investment with people who bring you down or are a negative influence in your life. Like it or not – we are an interdependent species, not islands unto ourselves. Those with little to no social contact and support have higher rates of mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, chronic anger). Get together with a friend – it’s good for your health.
You are what you eat
I know, I know you’ve heard it all before. But we have to say it again, eating well is good for you, physical and emotionally. If you put crap in your body – you are going to feel like crap, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make small and reasonable changes in your eating habits. Enjoy the occasion treat of junk food and the longer term benefits of healthy eating. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
These tips will keep you healthy and happy. Try it for a month and see what changes in your life. If you want one of the easiest ones to try – get 7-9 hours of sleep every night for a month, go to bed at a decent time, have a great bedtime routine and you will thank us for it after one week! If you struggle with specific things that are more than lifestyle changes, consult a specialist who can help, that’s what we’re here for. But really – try out these tips for month and see how your life improves. Drop us a line and let us know how it goes – to your Health!