If you want to improve your mental health there are some tactics that you can practice every day. Here are the best mental health tips that therapists give to their patients.
First, let’s see what is good mental health and how our mental health affects our daily lives.
What is good mental health?
Your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships.
Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues.
Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.
Mentally healthy people have
- A sense of contentment
- A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
- The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
- A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
” Keep searching for the colors when everything turns grey.” – Christy Ann Martine
The relationship between resilience and mental health
Having solid mental health doesn’t mean that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems.
We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.
But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience.
People who are emotionally and mentally resilient have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and productive, in bad times as well as good.
Their resilience also makes them less afraid of new experiences or an uncertain future. Even when they don’t immediately know how a problem will get resolved, they are hopeful that a solution will eventually be found.
Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, handle your emotions better, or simply to feel more positive and energetic, there are plenty of ways to take control of your mental health—starting today.
If you’re looking for mental health advice that you can start acting on immediately, try some of these tactics:
1. Try writing your thoughts down.
Venting is awesome for a reason-it helps you get out of your frustrations. That’s one of the reasons why it can be helpful to keep a mental health journal, David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist, founder of Chicago’s Skylight Counseling Center and author of the upcoming book You Are Not Crazy: Love Letters from Your Therapist, tells:
You don’t need to do anything in-depth or lengthy-just take five minutes or so a day to write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas.
This can be especially helpful if you want to keep track of changes in your moods or behavior over time (maybe to discuss with a therapist later).
But it can also just be a place to work through something in a private, non-judgey space-something that you may not feel comfortable talking about just yet.
Also Read: 10 Amazing Benefits of Writing A Journal
2. When you’re super stressed and overwhelmed, see if there’s any way to put a positive spin on it.
Stress happens, and it always sucks on some level—whether you’re overworked or overbooked or both.
You can take those moments when you’re overwhelmed and try to look for the good in them.
For example, if you’re stressed because you’re up against an intense work deadline, think about how that stress is helping to push you to get it done.
The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative-it can be a positive challenge and motivating. Or, if you don’t have a free weekend to yourself in the next two months, consider how it’s pretty great that you’ve got such a rich social life these days. In many cases, it’s all about how you view it.
And, of course, if you’re chronically stressed and there isn’t an upside, consider viewing that as a welcome warning sign that you need to find ways to scale back before you burn out.
3. Plan to take daily, low-key walks (and do them).
Sometimes you just need to step away from what you’re doing or dealing with and get some air. Sure, getting regular exercise is important for mental health, but even just taking regular, relaxing walks can be soothing for your mind. Plus, it may force you to take a breather when you need one.
“Getting out into the world and connecting with life is usually healing, as is the rhythmic nature of walking,” Klow says.
“It can help get you out of your head and into the world.” Try taking a walk when you first get up or after dinner, or try scheduling 20 minutes into your work calendar to remind you to just step out for a bit.
4. Counter negative thoughts with positive ones.
Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.
If you’re feeling anxious and regretful about staying in bed till noon one day, follow that with a reminder that you needed some extra rest and alone time this week. You can get back out there tomorrow.
5. Make a list of “your people.”
You know the ones-these are the people you know you can always call, text, or email when you need to feel a connection, Klow says.
“By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone,” he says.
The next time you’re struggling, check out your list and reach out to someone on it. Then, work your way down if someone you love isn’t free to talk.
” Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
6. When you’re stuck in a negative thought spiral, write down two good things.
It’s hard to think of anything else when you’re upset or frazzled, so this exercise is mostly about hitting pause and broadening your focus.
Just think of two or three positive things in your life at this moment-something that brings you joy, something you’re proud of, someone who loves you.
This can help ease your feelings of angst and frustration. Even being thankful for a hot shower can help you reset.
7. Have a self-care arsenal.
Everyone has certain things or coping mechanisms that give them a boost when they’re feeling crappy, and you might not even realize what yours are, Klow says.
Maybe it’s taking a bath, watching that one YouTube clip, putting on the sweatpants with three different holes in them, whatever. Just make sure whatever it is, it’s accessible when you need it.
8. Talkback to your inner voice.
Everyone has an inner voice, i.e. the way you talk to yourself in your head or out loud. But sometimes that voice can be cruel-even though it’s ultimately dictated by you.
It can tell you that you’re a failure or convince you to stress about something that you have no control over.
“Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful,” Klow says. “Learning to have a reassuring and soothing inner voice can make a big difference in improving your mental health.”
That’s easier said than done, but here’s a good place to start: When your inner voice is giving you really crappy feedback and advice, stop and consider how you would talk to your best friend in this situation.
Then try to adjust your inner voice to talk like that. Chances are you wouldn’t tell your friend she’s doing everything wrong and everyone hates her.
You’d probably tell her she’s overreacting, that she has no reason to think these things and that she should focus on what she can actually control in the situation.
9. Ask yourself “and then what?” when you’re stuck on an anxious thought.
Ruminating over something that’s making you anxious isn’t going to achieve anything. But you can help push your thought process forward by forcing yourself to think ahead.
This helps elucidate thoughts that are reasonable, probable, or sometimes even rational.
For example, if you keep worrying that you’re going to lose your job, ask yourself what would happen if that were the case. That might seem terrifying at first (you’d be strapped for money, you could lose your apartment, it could impact your relationship, etc.) but then follow those thoughts—what would happen next?
Maybe you would look for a new job, find a cheaper apartment, take out a loan. Eventually, your thoughts should come around to reasonable solutions to your biggest worries.
You might even realize that these scenarios-while certainly anxiety-inducing-are highly unlikely to come to pass.
10. Think about your alcohol habits and whether you could stand to cut back a little.
Your alcohol intake doesn’t just impact your physical health—it affects your mind, too. So it’s important to consider your drinking habits when you’re aiming to improve your mental health.
If you find that you’re typically drinking more when you’re feeling depressed or anxious, or that you end up feeling worse whenever you drink, try cutting back on how much you have and how often you have it. Keeping a log of your drinking and your emotions before and after might also be helpful.
Read More: Effects of Alcohol on The Body and The Brain
11. Have a bedtime ritual.
Quality sleep is a crucial part of your mental health, but it can be especially hard to come by when you’re struggling with anxious or depressed thoughts. So do everything you can to try to quiet your thoughts before you get into bed.
Since it’s unlikely you’re going to solve anything overnight, pressing pause on your thoughts and trying to get a solid night of sleep before diving back into things. That might include writing down anything you’re worried about so that you can get back to it tomorrow-and stop thinking about it now.
You can also look for winding-down activities that won’t work against you (the way staring at your phone or Netflix might), like coloring, journaling, or reading (as long as you set a stopping point in advance).
12. Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- raising your self-esteem
- helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
- causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
- find free activities to help you get fit
- if you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability
- find out how to start swimming, cycling or dancing
- find out about getting started with exercise
do not feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It’s best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life
13. Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- helping you to build a sense of purpose
- helping you to connect with others
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Some of the things you could try include:
- try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips
- try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
- work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online
- consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing
- try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint
do not feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It’s best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life
14.. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you.
Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Conclusion: By practicing these mental health tips not only you will improve your mental health but you will start living happier. By changing the way you look at things you change the way you live.
Just try them and you will see changes in your behavior and increased self-confidence. You must start from somewhere by doing nothing, nothing will change.