Ways to improve mental health
Mental health cannot be compartmentalized into the arena of “personal issues,” since your mental well-being impacts every facet of life. Neglecting your physical health is a well-known driver of poor life outcomes – and your mental health is no different. Learning about ways to improve mental health empowers you to master your emotions and create the extraordinary life you deserve.
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How to improve mental health: Basic principles
Learning how to improve mental health starts with understanding what constitutes a healthy frame of mind. The term “mental health” refers to your social, emotional and psychological state – the lens through which you view the world. When you’re seeking out ways to improve mental health, it’s important to understand that mental well-being doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your mental state is shaped by a wide range of factors, from your brain chemistry, genetics and family history to your lifestyle and life experiences. Your physical health and mental health impact each other, bearing on your ability to sustain relationships and behaviors that bring about peace of mind. With a mentally healthy outlook, you’re able to handle stress effectively and face challenges with confidence. You’re able to think, feel and act in ways that allow you to thrive.
Ways to improve mental health: Tips and strategies
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the work required to improve your outlook on life, take heart. There are many ways to improve mental health. The following tips are your mental health toolbox.
1. Embrace holistic health
One of Tony Robbins’ central philosophies is that of state, where your thoughts, feelings and physical body work together to shape your overall experience of life. To really get a handle on how to improve mental health, embrace the fact that your state is within your control. One step at a time, you can steer your outlook, emotions and physiology toward greater resilience. With this perspective in mind, you can be proactive in building a vibrant, fulfilling life.
2. Build self-care into your daily routine
Your self-care practices form the backbone of how to improve mental health. When you take care of yourself, you’re prioritizing your own happiness. Self-care is highly individualized, so pick strategies that work for you. In addition to regular exercise and a nutritious diet, try calming rituals like meditation, reading, warm baths or time spent with loved ones.
3. Learn to manage your thoughts and feelings
As you begin familiarizing yourself with ways to improve mental health, mastering your emotions can seem impossible. But with practice, you can reset your mind and mood to create a more positive outlook. With practice, you gain greater insight into the limiting beliefs that contribute to your distress.
4. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is a cornerstone of learning how to improve mental health. Research reported by the National Institute of Health demonstrates that exercise is of great importance for individuals experiencing mental health symptoms. By increasing blood flow and reducing reactivity to stress, aerobic exercise ameliorates mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression. Exercise also stimulates parts of the brain related to mood, including the limbic system (which controls drive/motivation), amygdala (which regulates fear responses to stress) and hippocampus (which impacts memory formation and overall effect).
5. Eat nutritious foods
Harvard Health reports on the role of nutrition in mental health. Your brain is always working, even while you are asleep. Like a professional athlete, your brain requires high-quality nourishment to function optimally and rid itself of oxidative stress. Foods that improve mental health (and overall well-being) include vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains and seafood, with modest amounts of dairy and healthy fats. When you’re working on ways to improve mental health, avoid processed foods, high-sugar foods and toxins like too much alcohol and caffeine.
6. Practice proper breathing
When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, taking a deep breath is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. When you take a deep breath, it sends a message to your brain to relax. Your brain then forwards this message to the rest of your body, facilitating deep relaxation. From here, you’re able to evaluate your life and circumstances objectively. To get a better handle on your breathing, consider building mindfulness meditation into your daily routine.
7. Build a nurturing social network
The people you surround yourself with have a profound impact on your mental well-being. One of the most effective ways to improve mental health is hand-picking your social network. When you’re surrounded by negative, critical people, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to embrace a positive outlook. But when you surround yourself with people who support you, their positivity can be infectious. You begin to see yourself as a competent, most valuable player, since the people around you are consistently echoing that message to you.