Mental illness is a huge issue in the US. In fact, 1 in 4 adults suffers from a mental disorder in any given year.
If you’re someone who suffers from a mental health disorder, be it anxiety, depression, or something else, you know all too well the toll it can take on your life.
Thankfully, the stigma around mental health has begun to dissipate, which means more and more resources for coping with mental illnesses are popping up all the time. And, more and more treatments are being discovered and becoming available to the general public.
If mental health improvement is a priority for you, check out this guide to learn some strategies that may help.
1. See a Doctor
Undoubtedly, if you are struggling with your mental health, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor.
A doctor will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and help you decide if medication is right for you. Your doctor can also help get you set up with a therapist.
For many people, finding the right medication and the right therapist is all it takes to turn the state of their mental health around.
Telling someone about how you’re feeling takes a lot of courage, but this is really the most important thing you can do in order to treat your illness.
2. Sweat It Out
We all know that working out is good for our physical health, but it’s also extremely beneficial for our mental health.
This is because when you exercise, your body releases stress and mood-enhancing endorphins.
And, you don’t need to kill yourself in the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Scientists say that just 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week can work wonders for both your mental and physical health.
One type of exercise that’s particularly beneficial for mental health is yoga. In fact, one recent study found that depression, anxiety, and stress levels decreased significantly in women after just 12 sessions of hath yoga.
You can click here to find out more about how yoga benefits your mental health.
Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps us stay connected with our friends and family and raise awareness about important issues. On the other hand, social media can also trigger people to compare themselves to others.
When you go on social media, it’s very important to be conscious of how you feel. If you find that you’re scrolling and starting to feel worse and worse, then it may be time to disconnect for a while.
Even just taking a break from social media for a couple of weeks can help reset your mental state. And, if you ever find yourself in a bad mood, find something else to do other than going on social media.
Chances are, you’ll not only notice a change in your mental state, but you’ll also notice a change in your productivity levels!
4. Establish Healthy Coping Mechanisms
When you’re in a particularly bad mental state, it’s very important that you have healthy coping mechanisms in place so that you don’t go into a downward spiral.
Different coping mechanisms work for different people, but here are some examples of healthy coping mechanisms:
- Watching a favorite TV show
- Going for a run
- Doing a puzzle
- Taking a warm bubble bath
- Going for a nature walk
- Calling a friend
- Repeating positive affirmations to yourself
It’s also important to make sure you’re not turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle your stress, such as drinking or smoking cigarettes. Your therapist or doctor can help you establish healthy coping mechanisms that work for you.
5. Show Gratitude
Even if you’re not the type of person to keep a diary, writing in a gratitude journal can make a big difference for your mental health.
While keeping a gratitude journal may seem a little “woo woo” to some, studies actually show that it’s good for health. In fact, one study found that high school students who kept a gratitude journal developed better eating habits. There are also studies that show that gratitude journaling may lower your symptoms of depression and may lower your risk of developing heart disease.
The thing about gratitude journaling is that it forces you to focus on the positive instead of the negative. And, you shouldn’t feel pressure to mark major milestones each day. You can record something as small as enjoying a delicious piece of cake or something as large as marking a certain number of days of sobriety.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
The mind-body connection cannot be underestimated.
There’s plenty of evidence that proves that the healthier we eat, the better we feel. In particular, you should focus on eating:
- Protein-rich foods, as these can raise your dopamine levels
- Fruits and veggies, as these give your cells the nutrients they need to make sure your brain-regulating chemicals are where they should be
- Foods rich in Omega-3s, such as nuts and seeds as they can help improve your mood and cognitive function
These foods are delicious, nutritious, and good for your entire self.
7. Lean on Your Support System
While a therapist can help you cope with your mental issues, it’s still important to turn to friends and family members in times of need.
The more you isolate yourself, the worse you’re going to feel. If you live by yourself, make it a goal to set up social events with friends and family members a few times a week.
The more support you feel from your loved ones, the more strength you’ll develop to fight your illness.
Mental Health Improvement: Are You Ready to Turn Your Mental Health Around?
As you can see, there are a lot of great mental health improvement strategies out there.
Now is the time to put these strategies into action so you can start feeling better about your mental health.
And, if you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more posts like this one.