How are you about your mental health? Do you overlook it or attend to it? It is easy to forget about one’s mental health as the symptoms of poor mental health are not always as obvious as physical ailments. It tends to build over time without conspicuous signs and is usually pushed aside.
It’s time to stop putting your mental health on the back burner and give it the attention it deserves. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Here are some practices for all-around great mental health that you can start implementing in your life today.
Meditation is known to have a positive impact on mental health. It is a mindful practice that encourages mental well-being. This is done by focusing on a central point such as a mantra, thought of gratitude, or words of encouragement and affirmation and letting the mind wander. In letting the mind wander, it is important to recognize thoughts and let them pass.
Frequently, paired with meditation is controlled breathing. It can be challenging to get the mind to focus or be silent. In this instance, controlled breathing can be practiced to calm the mind. Controlled breathing has been clinically shown to reduce stress and stress-induced conditions, such as panic attacks.
Previously, it was mentioned how meditation is a mindful practice. Practicing mindfulness involves staying cognizant of one’s thoughts, emotions, body, and surroundings without attaching judgment. Let them be as though you were watching a cloud pass by or enjoying a whiff of something delicious.
The key part or takeaway with mindful practices is to acknowledge what comes in the mind and is experienced by the senses. When you are mindful you appreciate the things around you and on the inside without attaching any meaning to them. They simply are. The senses are relied on to maintain a moment’s awareness.
By living in the moment, you are rooted in the present without rerunning the past or anxiously crafting the future. You can start by simply stepping outside and getting fresh air, having a quiet moment to yourself.
Take the Mental Health Day
Many in the United States struggle with taking time off. There is a sense of guilt or letting the team and coworkers down when requesting a day, but taking that day off could be the healthiest thing you do for yourself.
It is okay to take a break from work. Work Life balance is key and one starts to weigh heavier than the other, it is time for a reset. You have paid time off, vacation days, and sick days for a reason. Take them!
If you don’t have the available time, consider making arrangements with your team and management so you can take a mental health day, or perhaps, consider moving to a working environment more conducive for your mental health.
Practicing gratitude is a wonderful mindful activity to stay grounded in the present. It reminds you of all the good and helps you appreciate your current position. It also works as an encouragement to get excited about the good things to come.
In practicing gratitude for the things you have, you can reap positive benefits for your mental health. Exercises of gratitude, such as writing down five things one is thankful for once a week have been critically linked to increased well-being.
Start a journal of gratitude that you can come back to daily. It may be difficult at first to write down things you are grateful for. Start with the little things as these have a big impact over time and can help you celebrate the big things you are grateful for later on.
It cannot be stressed enough how instrumental rest is to your overall well-being, especially mentally. Think of your mind like a computer. If you leave your computer on for extended periods of time, it is constantly running without any time to update which will cause it to start running slow, glitching, or crash. The same can happen to one’s mind.
Make sure you are getting a full night’s rest. Those seven to eight hours. If your sleep is cut short, it is perfectly fine to take a nap or go to bed a little bit earlier to catch up. Find moments to rest through the day by creating downtime or quiet time where your mind is not focused on tasks and can essentially sleep.
Go On a Solo Trip
Yes. Take yourself on a trip. For anyone not single, it is a rarity to get time alone; and, even if you are single you may be spreading yourself thin, trying to be everything for everyone, drowning in tasks, and being overwhelmed to fulfill every request.
Say, “no” to everything else and “yes,” to you. Your solo trip can be as far or close to home as you would like. Traveling has been shown to have positive impacts on mental health, renewing the mind as it is placed in a new environment, encouraging it to be more mindful.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
You can be your biggest nay-sayer. It is easy to be over-critical of self and say no before even trying; it is much harder to believe than take the leap. It is here, one must let the negative thoughts pass and not possess your mind. This anger and disappointment with yourself can lead to depression.
Things get complicated. They get hard. Failure and disappointment may be experienced, but it is all a part of life. Remember it’s not perfect and no one gets it right. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break. Create a safe space to recognize and acknowledge those negative feelings and leave them there to carry on.
Seek Professional Therapy
It is okay to ask for help, professional help. Sometimes after everything is tried, it is still not quite enough and that’s okay. It is a strength, not a weakness to recognize that you can’t do it alone because now you know where the work needs to be done to live your life to the fullest.
Professionals are there to help and guide you on a road to better mental health. The process is no different than if you were to repair a broken bone. Treatments for mental health can be effective. Utilize your local and national resources for your benefit.
Get inspired to try something new or different to improve your mental health. There are numerous practices and personal exercises you can perform to support great mental health.
In facing poor mental health, many have been taught to press through, suck it up, or wait for it to pass; but, your mental health needs and requires your full attention. Take these practices to heart and keep them in mind for your mental health wellness.