Mental wellness is an acquired state of living that you must actively work for. The brain is a complex organ with strings attached to an individual’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
Whatever happens inside your brain at a conscious or unconscious level impacts how your body responds to it. While life is nothing less than a roller-coaster with its fair share of ups and downs, working to achieve a state of mental wellness requires effort, patience, and time. Stress, anger, grief, disappointment, and negativity in life can seriously harm your mental and physical health, but that’s not the end of the road.
Through the following seven tips, you can work towards preserving your mental well-being even during the worst of times. These tips might not solve your problems, but they should help you respond better to difficult situations.
1. Make Meaningful Connections
Interacting with people you relate with stimulates your brain to develop healthy neural connections. Not only do positive interactions help your brain work faster, but engaging in meaningful activities boosts cognition.
Sometimes saying a simple hello to a friend, family member, or stranger can incite positive emotions and ward off negative feelings like stress. The quality of your connections determines the state of your mental wellness.
Often it is convenient to engage in destructive habits like gambling addiction or drug abuse because your peers do the same. You might not realize the after-effect of indulging in such habits as physical and mental health risks or financial jeopardy.
When forging better connections, it is vital to cut off relationships that infringe upon your peace or meet up with friends you haven’t reached out to in a while. If you’re trying to improve your relationship with your family, take at least one meal with everyone at the table.
2. Exercise Regularly
Physical exercise not only helps tone your muscles and keep your body in shape but induces stimulates the release of chemicals like endorphins. Endorphins help reduce pain and incite positive feelings in your body; that’s why you may feel energized and happy after a good workout session.
Regular physical activity also boosts confidence and self-esteem. Try incorporating at least thirty minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. It can be as simple as a walk or jog in the neighborhood park or a high-intensity workout session at the gym. You can also opt for cardio exercises like swimming that boost heart health and produce happy hormones.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Insufficient sleep or unhealthy sleep patterns can disrupt your physical and mental well-being. People with irregular sleep patterns are likely to suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, chronic stress, suicidal ideation, and depression. Sleep tends to deteriorate symptoms of existing mental health issues by triggering mania or paranoia. Feelings of stress due to a lack of sleep induce tiredness, lack of motivation for participating in daily life activities, and low self-confidence.
Without adequate sleep, it becomes difficult for your brain to develop and maintain neural pathways to improve cognition, create memories and concentrate better. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep, though some prefer sleeping more than that. Remember that oversleeping also slows down your physical activity as it induces lethargy.
4. Learn New Skills
Learning new skills from time to time improves cognition and boosts self-esteem and self-confidence. Learning doesn’t have to stop when you graduate from school or college. In the tech-driven world that we live in, it is easier to learn something new through online courses or free resources.
If learning is something that excites you, start small. Learn something like cooking, an art and craft project like crochet or knitting, or playing games like Sudoku that help keep your brain active. You can also adopt a new hobby or activity with a friend or family to induce social interaction.
Doing small acts of love and kindness incites positive emotions and brings a sense of fulfillment and reward. If you’ve been struggling to upkeep your mental wellness, go out, and see if there’s anything you can help someone with. Volunteering at a local shelter or helping someone you know with a project you’re familiar with can give your life a new sense of worth and purpose, boosting self-confidence.
Western societies are heavily individualistic. With small acts of kindness, you can boost a sense of collectivism that harbors positive feelings and relationships, thereby improving your mood and mental well-being.
6. Live In The Moment
Those who struggle to keep their mental wellness intact struggle with staying in the present. Neither should you be stuck in the past nor too worried about the future. Focusing on the present helps you attain a successful and positive mindset. If you’re not in the present and constantly worrying about how the future might look like or the mistakes you made in the past, you are missing out on bringing positive change in your life.
Cognition derives purpose and how human beings act. To shift your focus, you must align your mindset to stay in the moment. Be aware of the people and things around you. Notice your thoughts in certain situations and how your body responds to those thoughts or external stimuli. Mindfulness is crucial to staying in the present and taking on life’s challenges.
7. Breathwork For Stress Relief
While physical fitness is vital for mental health, starting a strenuous workout may not be ideal when you haven’t moved a muscle in a long time. Especially people with a history of trauma or a mental illness fail to recognize that the human body stores tension and stress, whether it’s anxiety or a situation making you panic. The tension you feel in your jaw or the tightness in your chest results from storing stress inside your body.
Constant stress and anxiety can affect your brain’s ability to sense safe and dangerous cues. Try breathwork to release that tension and attain a new sense of well-being. You can do deep breathing exercises in a sitting, lying, or standing position.
Although there are many ways of doing it, the simplest is to sit in a comfortable place, loosen up your muscles, and close your eyes. Next, try to inhale from the nose, draw air into your belly, and exhale through the mouth. Belly breathing is usually the preferred method for calming anxiety or stress.
Becoming mentally well isn’t a difficult task, but it’s one that we don’t talk much about. Although “self-care” is a buzzword and a booming industry, few talk about attaining mental wellness through consistent acts of love and appreciation for yourself. Just like training your muscles to become fit, you can train your mind to become positive. To manage your health better, seek medical or psychological help if your issues surpass the scope of this article.