Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, and influences how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, experts at Sharp HealthCare share 10 ways to help you improve your overall mental health:
- Clean up
The garage you never organized. The dishes you’ll wash “tomorrow.” The stacks of unread mail that might contain your latest car payment. It’s a mess that can be causing you real, tangible stress. To keep “mess stress” at bay, experts recommend taking six active steps to help organize the environment around you.
- Get out of your rut
When motivation runs thin and you feel yourself settling into a rut, you might think there is nowhere to turn and no way to achieve a fresh start. If you find yourself stalling out, practicing self-care strategies, such as exercising, getting more sleep and taking time for yourself, is the best way to recharge your batteries.
- Be mindful
In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives, and we may find ourselves feeling anxious, stressed and burned out. Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can be key to helping you develop the ability to be calm, focused and present throughout your day.
- Practice positive self-talk
The next time you make a mistake, stop and take a moment to listen to your inner voice. Your inner voice, or self-talk, is a running narration of your daily experiences. It is a combination of conscious thoughts and unconscious beliefs, developed throughout your life. Positively influencing your self-talk throughout your day can help you increase your self-love.
If you’ve ever hit the gym or gone on a brisk walk after a stressful day, chances are good that you felt better afterward, both physically and mentally. Most of the time, people feel accomplished and more relaxed after even a little bit of exercise. And while good exercise habits help with improved physical outcomes, evidence shows there’s a strong link between exercise and mental health, too.
- Nurture your relationship
There is no relationship like the one you have with your significant other. You rely on each other every day, you see the good and the bad, and you build a friendship along with a loving bond. Using “love languages” as a road map, experts suggest discussing these strategies with your partner to nurture your relationship.
- Be more positive
Positive thinking is a powerful thing. It helps you cope with stress and depression — and does wonders for your physical well-being. But staying positive isn’t always easy. The daily practice of affirmations, mindfulness and staying active are some of the ways to keep your thoughts positive.
- Set boundaries
We all have that one person in our life: the over-sharer, the over-asker, the over-stepper. They are boundary-crossers. Learning how to set boundaries is a matter of self-respect that helps set guidelines for what you will and won’t accept from people in your life.
- Stay connected
Research shows that female friendship is good for our health. When women spend time with women they enjoy, their bodies release the hormone oxytocin, which combats stress and creates calm. The more friends we have, the less likely we are to develop certain health issues, such as dementia.
- Show gratitude
Research shows that exercising gratitude can improve emotional and physical health and can help to strengthen relationships. Gratitude can be practiced in a variety of ways, both small and large. You can reap the benefits with acts as simple as posting something you are grateful for on social media or sending a thank-you note to a loved one.
- Go to sdpeba.yourbesthealth.com to check out the following Best Health offerings to help you manage your stress and to learn how to earn points towards a Best Health Visa gift card:
- Stress Management Health Coaching – Work one-on-one with a Best Health Coach.
- Online Introduction to Stress Workshop – Learn ways to reduce, channel or cope with stress in your life.
- Online Resource Guide – Access wellness tools, join a workshop or find a support group