Six ways to manage your mental health
When we don’t feel like our normal selves it’s a good reminder to consider a list of things that help us to manage our mental wellbeing. Below are six ways we can get our mood back on track:
Exercise is a powerful mood booster because it releases endorphins into the bloodstream. These are the bodies natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals that lift your spirits and make you feel happy. Being in good physical shape allows equates with a better self-image, which makes us feel more positive about ourselves. Regular exercise is also associated with a reduction in the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) from your adrenal cortex meaning we become better at managing stressful situations.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to have a number of benefits for mental health. Firstly, it helps you to regulate your emotions and choose more measured responses to life events. Secondly, it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety which left unaddressed can lead to depression. Lastly, it helps us to be more aware of the world around us including the little things that bring joy to our lives that we often fail to notice when we’re feeling low.
We evolved to be social animals and we are at our happiest when we feel like a valued member of a group. Loneliness has been shown to be bad for not just our mental wellbeing but also our physical health. A recent study reported that it can increase our likelihood of premature death by around 30%. When we are not feeling our best it can be tempting to withdraw from social events. Ironically, this is the time when they can be of most help to our mental wellbeing. Do your best to maintain relationships with people that you enjoy spending time with and who make you feel good and turn to them when you need a boost.
Good sleep is the foundation for good mental health. A prolonged period of poor quality sleep can make us irritable, prone to emotional outbursts and feel like we’re not at our best. Try to make sleep a priority in your life by creating the right circumstances for a good night’s rest. These include eating healthily, exercising, reducing your alcohol consumption, avoiding caffeine after 2pm and keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom. For more on this topic, try our free introductory course on sleep which is packed full of helpful insights and tips.
5) Reducing your time on social media
Social media can make real life seem mundane and depressing. It forces you to compare everyone else’s highlight reel with your own behind-the-scenes documentary. A study by the Happiness Research Institute found marked improvements in people's outlook on life after just one week without facebook. Why not try it for yourself and experience the benefits?
6) Spending time in nature
Spending too much time indoors is not good for our mental state. Office buildings are often sterile environments without little natural light or fresh air. A guaranteed mood booster is to get outside and spend some time in nature. The Japanese even have a name for this activity ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ which literally translates as ‘tree bathing' .
If you found the above info helpful then you will almost certainly enjoy our course on mental fitness and wellbeing. It’s an in-depth guide to getting the most from your brain as well as taking the best care of it.