The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Mental health is finally being treated with the respect it deserves. While past generations dismissed emotional health and mental well-being, more people now see how important it is to care about these aspects to live a happy and full life.
However, many people believe they can’t enjoy good mental health because it requires expensive counseling and other treatments. The good news is that simple changes to your lifestyles and behaviors can have tremendous effects on your emotions and mental health. Read on to learn about some great behaviors and habits that help improve your mental health.
Exercise releases endorphins which help your body feel good and make your brain happy. People who exercise often report temporary improvements in their mood and mental health, which can positively affect the rest of their day. Furthermore, making a long-term commitment to exercise is one of many factors that can help alleviate certain mental illnesses or emotional pain. Therefore, if you struggle with anxiety or a low mood, try exercising a few times a week to get that endorphin boost.
Eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help you maintain a healthy mind. That’s because junk food and various substances can amplify feelings of depression and anxiety.
Furthermore, you should cut out addictive substances such as nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol as they create dependencies that will only increase your irritation, anxiety, depression, or other painful emotions.
We’re all happier when we’re spending time with friends. Those who are more isolated experience greater feelings of depression and loneliness. Being with supportive people not only ensures us that we are not alone but also gives us time to laugh, have fun, and take a break from our troubles and thoughts.
Get Enough Sleep
Ever notice how cranky you are when you don’t sleep well? Well, a lack of sleep can also contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Therefore, if you aren’t sleeping well, you’re amplifying these emotions.
Furthermore, people with various mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder often experience worsened symptoms when they don’t sleep well or experience insomnia. So, if you want to feel good and rested, make sure you are getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Process Your Emotions
One of the best ways to develop a healthy mind is to make a habit of processing your emotions. Unfortunately, too many people bottle up their feelings with dire consequences. Not expressing emotions only worsens various mental health conditions and may even lead to thoughts of suicide.** Therefore, you should get in the habit of expressing and releasing your emotions in some way. Some options include meditation, talking to someone (like a counselor), or journaling.
**If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.**
Being a pessimist can make things seem worse than they actually are. People with pessimistic outlooks often experience more emotional distress than those who are optimistic. They have fewer strategies for coping with stress or emotional pain and are more likely to give up on their dreams or self-care than to put in an effort to improve their lives.
Therefore, positive thinking can literally be life-changing. Not only will it give you a reprieve from some of your emotional distress, but it can also encourage self-care and life-changing decisions that further improve your health and life.
Through a healthy lifestyle and good habits, you can take charge of your mental health and improve your overall well-being. In some cases, making these changes is enough to heal your distress and ease your symptoms significantly. Not everyone needs counseling or expensive treatments; sometimes, just taking care of yourself is enough to put you back on a positive track.
For more behaviors that can improve your mental health, click on the link below: