Mental health is a broad term that encompasses such things as emotional regulation and psychological well-being. It is often contrasted with physical health, but mental and physical health are very much intertwined. Western medicine, in particular, tends to put more focus on physical health, while psychological wellness sometimes gets overlooked by medical professionals as well as members of the general public. For some people, it is necessary to see a professional therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist for mental health concerns. Others have ways to enhance their psychological wellness on their own. Here are some ways to improve your mental health.
When many people think of mindfulness, they think of a particular type of meditation practice. However, mindfulness also refers to simply being more present in and aware of the things that you do every day. Some aspects of mindfulness include:
- Being patient
- Avoiding judgment of yourself and others
- Trusting your feelings
- Accepting and letting go of what you are unable to change
- Remaining curious about the world around you
For example, being a mindful eater means paying attention to the overall texture, smell, and taste of the food you consume. Mindful eaters often find it helpful to avoid watching television while having a meal so they can be fully present while eating. This practice can help you avoid overeating since you are eating more slowly and paying closer attention to when you are full.
It is also important to be mindful of the media you consume. For example, spending too much time on social media can leave people feeling inadequate. Watching too much news can cause pessimistic and anxious feelings about the state of the world. Climate change is one such news subject that can cause these feelings. Climate change hands-on activities may be helpful for kids, in particular, to educate them on the subject and reduce feelings of doom. These are mindful activities you can do with children to bring climate change science to life.
Making sure to get enough sleep, despite your many obligations during the day, is one method of self-care that significantly impacts mental health in a positive way. Adults generally need around eight hours of sleep per night, and not getting enough sleep over a long period of time is detrimental to wellness in several ways. For example, chronic sleep deprivation can cause high blood pressure, stroke, memory problems, issues with concentration, and depletion of the immune system, among other things.
Being physically active each day is another way to practice self-care. Working out is very beneficial to all aspects of well-being. Some fun and easy ways to complete a workout include playing a team sport, going for a walk, following along with an exercise video, or attending a fitness class.
People sometimes see self-care as something that is selfish or indulgent. However, by taking time for yourself, you are better able to help others. Self-care also helps you avoid exhaustion and the mental health problems that come with that.
Seek Help if You Need
There is no shame in seeking professional help for your mental health. Suppose you are feeling overwhelmed, having relationship difficulties, or experiencing psychological issues that you do not know how to handle on your own. In these cases, a licensed therapist or a psychiatrist might be able to help. If you come down with the flu, suffer from a broken bone, or battle a persistent cough, you would visit a general physician, and getting help for mental health is no different.
Therapists can provide treatments such as talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. They are trained to listen to their patients without judgment and teach them how to navigate problems in their lives better. Psychiatrists can provide prescription medication such as anti-depressants if they think it would be helpful.
There are many ways you can improve your mental health, either on your own or with someone else’s help.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Carol Evenson is a loving mother of three, an aspiring writer, and a social activist. She enjoys educating and learning and loves sharing her knowledge with her family and friends.
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On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village, sparking a riot and six days of protests. This incident, known as the Stonewall Uprising, marks a turning point in the gay rights movement, now celebrated as Pride Month in June.
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