7 Self-Care Tips for Better Mental Health
Breaking News: You have the power to change the way you think, act, and cope with life’s struggles, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. However, it will require some effort on your part.
We all struggle at times emotionally. Perhaps it stems from knowing at a young age that we all have an expiration date. Or it could be a byproduct of having too much self-awareness. But what you’ll discover in this article is that there is much that contributes to our mental health, and the best way to improve it will be with a comprehensive approach.
You are what you eat. Let’s put it another way – eat good, feel good. Eat bad, feel bad. And this includes our physical, mental, and emotional health.
According to author and nutritionist William Walsh, Ph.D., the best way to improve mental health is through nutrition. Getting the proper nutrients contributes to neurotransmitters that are functioning properly. Walsh says there are six or seven chemical imbalances that tend to dominate mental function.
We humans aren’t much more than a collection of chemicals. And when it comes to mental and emotional health, there are none more important than neurotransmitters – known as our chemical messengers – such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
It’s important that we get all the vitamins and minerals and other nutrients we need to be at our best. Zinc and copper, according to Walsh, are the two most common nutrient deficiencies he sees. He recommends eliminating processed foods and vegetables oils and limiting excessive carbohydrate and protein consumption. Focus on nutrients, not calories, and you’ll be on your way to feeling better mentally.
It’s not a surprise that exercise contributes to greater physical health, but according to natural health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola, there are numerous mental health benefits as well, and it again has to do with the production of neurotransmitters.
Exercise has been shown to elevate the production of the three neurotransmitters that we already mentioned, but also a special neurotransmitter called anandamide, which helps to block feelings of pain and depression. While a deficiency of anandamide contributes to an increase in stress and anxiety.
Dr. Mercola says the sweet spot is three to five days a week for a duration of 45 minutes each day. Too little exercise, or too much exercise, will contribute to poorer mental health. He also says that less is more when it comes to exercise, as long as you’re doing them correctly and at a high intensity.
All exercise is great, but Dr. Mercola says the three best for mental health are team sports, cycling, and aerobic or gym activities.
3. Meditation & Mindfulness
When we are fully living in the moment, there is no time for fretting over the past or worrying about the future. But the benefits go much deeper than that.
Meditation and mindfulness contribute to improved health in numerous ways, including:
- Increased joy and happiness
- Internal calmness
- Feelings of connectedness
- Less stress, depression, and anxiety
- Better cognitive health
For more information on living more mindfully, check out our latest blog article where we give you five valuable tips. (link)
4. Stress Reduction Techniques
Learning to deal with stress is key to being mentally healthy, and there are many ways to do that, including a few on this list.
Both meditation and exercise have been proven to reduce stress. Walking outdoors in nature is another great strategy, as is journaling. Taking adaptogenic herbs is also great for reducing stress, as they are specialists at providing the body with whatever it needs to combat all types of stress – physical, mental, and emotional.
However, there’s another great stress reduction tool you may not be familiar with, but one that may provide the quickest benefits. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a tapping routine that uses the body’s natural energy field to enact all types of relief, from pain to fear, worry, and anxiety.
EFT is free, simple to use, and the benefits can be felt immediately in many instances.
5. Walk Outdoors
Don’t discount the beneficial effects from a simple walk outdoors. Getting outside means getting fresh air and sunshine. Walking is also a great form of low-impact exercise with its own set of health benefits. And when we get out into the world, we feel more connected to it, and these feelings of connectedness can also contribute to better mental health.
Mornings and evenings are great times to schedule a daily walk. However, any time in your day, particularly when you’re feeling stressed, is a great time for a quick walk.
Sometimes we just need to focus on something or someone other than ourselves and our own problems. Plus, when we help others, we receive satisfaction for our good deeds. And sadly, it may also be a way to realize that others have it far worse.
To ramp up the mental health benefits, try volunteering at your local animal shelter. Animals have a way of bringing a lot of joy and peace into our lives. Not to mention the unconditional love that animals can offer.
7. Seek Professional Help
Yes, we mean see a therapist. Most of us are probably ill-equipped to handle our mental health issues, and it often takes more than one blog article to get the job done. If you’re struggles are greater than your abilities to deal with them, it’s likely time to see someone who is equipped to help.
You’ve probably heard some version of this saying – when you have your health, you have everything. This is true for physical health, and likely the source of this saying, but maybe even more true for mental health. However, the best tip we can give you to improve your mental health is one that’s worth repeating.
You have the power to change the way you think, act, and cope with life’s struggles, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.