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Mental Health Recovery: Twenty Practical Tips To Take You From Broken To Better

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Have you ever felt lost, hopeless, and overwhelmed? When you are in a dark and lonely headspace, you can feel desperate, and the scariest part is not knowing if it will get better. Hope, coupled with dedication, can light the path to a healthier mental state.

Recovery involves a process of healing, adaptation, and growth. It’s about regaining a sense of well-being, function, and purpose. The specific steps and strategies involved in recovery will vary, so everyone’s path will differ. These twenty practical suggestions can help take you from broken to better.

  1. Self-efficacy: Have you ever heard the phrase, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right?” This is an example of psychologist Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. It’s believing in your ability to succeed. You must believe you can get better to start to improve. Our feelings come from what we are thinking. Hope begins with the thought and belief that a situation can improve.
  2. Seek professional help: If you were to break your leg, you would see a medical professional. If you are struggling mentally, the first step is to talk to a professional to discuss your difficulties and access help.
  3. Challenge unhelpful thoughts with  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is an evidence-based talking therapy that helps individuals identify and change unhelpful thought patterns. We all have negative thoughts and beliefs, but by challenging them and replacing them with more realistic thoughts, our emotions and actions become less reactive and more balanced, and we start to feel better.
  4. Self-compassion: We’re often our own worst critic. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend in times of difficulty or self-doubt. It’s a valuable skill that can significantly contribute to well-being and leading a more positive, resilient, and fulfilling life. When you are kinder to yourself, you give yourself time to breathe, learn, and improve while reducing insecurities and the self-imposed pressure to be perfect.
  5. Physical Health: Regular exercise contributes to overall well-being, including mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins (feel-good hormones), which help improve mood and reduce stress. It doesn’t have to be going for a run or to a gym. Just moving your body more and making small changes makes a difference.
  6. Healthy Eating: Good nutrition plays a huge role in supporting and improving mental health. Eating a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods supports brain health and improves cognitive function, memory, and concentration. Limiting your consumption of processed food can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost self-esteem, reduce inflammation, and increase energy and motivation.
  7. Sleep well: Prioritising at least seven hours of high-quality sleep every night is crucial for a healthy, balanced life. Sleep enhances physical and mental functions while protecting our body against disease and inflammation.
  8. Build healthy habits: Consistency is vital. Whatever you want to improve in life takes time and practice. By deciding what you want to improve and then building small sustainable habits in your daily life, you can build resilience, mastery, and a strong sense of purpose without draining mental energy.
  9. Purpose: Best-selling author Simon Sinek suggests starting with “The Why.”If we begin by figuring out our “why” – our fundamental purpose, the spark that makes us who we are – before explaining “how” and “what” we do, we get to our core sense of direction that will provide motivation in our daily lives.
  10. Mindfulness: It can be easy to rush through life on autopilot.Mindfulnessis about paying more attention to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the world around you without reacting or passing judgment but rather focusing on acceptance. Mindfulness exercises and breathwork can help you identify thought patterns and emotions and give you space to view them as mental events that do not control you.
  11. Growth mindset: Psychologist Carol Dweck developed the concept of a growth mindset – the belief that individuals can develop and improve their abilities, intelligence, and talents through dedication, effort, and perseverance, rather than believing that people are either born with these characteristics or not. Understanding that progress isn’t linear and using self-compassion to accept relapses as part of the process allows further growth.  
  12. Healthy boundaries: Healthy boundaries are essential for maintaining emotional and psychological well-being while nurturing positive and respectful relationships. These boundaries act as protective barriers that define our limits, preferences, and values, enabling us to interact with others in a comfortable and safe way. They encompass the ability to say “no” when necessary and to assert our needs and desires without guilt or fear.
  13. Honest communication: Honest communication fosters trust, reduces stress, and promotes emotional well-being by allowing individuals to express their thoughts and feelings openly, promoting a stronger sense of self and healthier relationships.
  14. Social connection: Social connection provides emotional support, reduces feelings of loneliness, and enhances overall mental well-being by promoting a sense of belonging, resilience, and positive emotional experiences. Mixing with others provides different perspectives and an external focus on others rather than an introspective focus on our own mental struggles.
  15. Lean into emotions: Brené Brown, a renowned shame researcher, talks about the importance of “leaning into discomfort” as a pathway to personal growth and vulnerability. She encourages people to embrace vulnerability, acknowledge their fears, and confront difficult emotions rather than avoiding or numbing them. By doing so, individuals can develop greater resilience and foster deeper connections with others.
  16. Remove temptation and triggers: Although some people are better at fighting impulses, everyone struggles with temptation.Optimizing your environment to remove triggers is essential for creating a healthier environment and promoting emotional well-being by minimizing sources of stress and anxiety.
  17. Positive Thinking: Cultivating a positive mindset and practicing gratitude can improve mental health. Positive thinking involves focusing on strengths, successes, and opportunities, even in challenging situations.
  18. Human Being, not Human Doing – The phrase emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and valuing one’s existence and well-being over constant business and productivity, highlighting the significance of self-care, self-awareness, and mindful living.
  19. Creativity – Engaging in creative activities, such as art, music, or writing, can improve mental health by providing an outlet for self-expression, reducing stress, and fostering a sense of accomplishment and well-being.
  20. Laugh, smile, have fun, and celebrate achievements: Carpe diem or YOLO (“you only live once”), depending on your preference. Make the most of every day. Enjoy the little things in life and practice gratitude.

Mental wellness is a continuum, and individuals will move back and forth along this continuum throughout their lives. Taking proactive steps to maintain and improve mental health can significantly enhance your overall quality of life. You can get better with hope, dedication, healthy habits, self-compassion, and support.

 

About the Author: Julia Campbell is a well-being advocate and founder of enhancingminds.co.uk, a well-being training company that promotes engaged and productive employees and thriving workplaces.

Photo by Bruno Bueno: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-writing-on-pink-sticky-notes-3854816/

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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