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Eight easy ways to promote good mental health
Maintaining good mental health is essential for a fulfilling and satisfying life.
Unfortunately, many of us fail to implement some of the most important requirements for good mental health, and with the Western world currently experiencing high levels of depression; there is still a lot of work to be done.
A recent University of Michigan article outlines some proven ways to promote good mental health, and they are not difficult to implement.
Also, while these steps may involve making some changes in your life, the results are well worth it:
1. Value yourself
When we treat ourselves with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism, we are well on the way to improving our mental health. Indeed, simple things like doing a daily crossword puzzle, planting a garden, taking dance lessons, learning another language, or learning to play an instrument, are all good therapy
2. Eat well
Your physical health is a great influencer of your mental health. Therefore, drinking plenty of water, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, other drugs or cigarettes – and taking plenty of exercise – all helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve mood. Getting enough sleep is another essential, as research shows lack of sleep can also be a driver of depression and unhappiness
3. Make some changes
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Simple ideas include: altering your jogging route, planning a road-trip, taking a walk in a different park, hanging some new pictures, or trying a new restaurant
4. Surround yourself with good people
Those of us with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Therefore, try to make plans with supportive family members and friends – or seek out activities where you can meet new people: such as a club, class or support group
5. Learn how to deal with stress
Whether we like it or not, stress is a part of life. Therefore, practising good coping skills is essential. Examples include: doing Tai Chi, exercising, taking a nature walk, playing with your pet, deep breathing or journal writing. Laughter and seeing the funny side of life is also proven to boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress
When we volunteer our time and energy to help others, it makes us feel good about doing something tangible to help those in need. It is also a great way to meet new people.
7. Practise mindfulness
Practising relaxation exercises and mindfulness (being fully present) can really improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation can help you feel calm and enhance the effects of counselling or therapy
8. Set realistic goals
Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realise your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goals.
*Should you have any concerns about your mental health, please get in touch with Lifeline or Beyond Blue to discuss*