Keeping mentally healthy is vital to your wellbeing. The stigma around discussing mental health and illness is thankfully decreasing as more and more people are opening up about their difficulties and challenges. There is no shame in feeling mentally unwell, and it is vital that people seek help when they need it, just as they would with a broken arm or sprained ankle. There are many ways that you can help improve your mental health, from exercising regularly to eating a healthy diet. Seek appropriate treatments to give your wellbeing a boost, such as aromatherapy or reflexology, and introduce the regular practice of meditation to help calm your mind and keep you focused on the present moment. Self-care and finding the time on a regular basis to look after yourself and your needs is also important and should not be shied away from. Follow these tips below for a healthier and more balanced you.
Exercise is good not just for the health of your physical body, but it also improves your mental health and overall well-being. Keeping your body fit can boost your self-esteem and also give you a sense of control. Importantly, exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, into your bloodstream, which is why a run or a dance class can leave you feeling uplifted. If you are just getting started with exercise, don’t be put off by seeing lots of people in gyms wearing all-in-one lycra and lifting heavy weights. There is no competition and remember that your wellbeing is only about you, not anybody else. Begin slowly so that you don’t overdo it and start with something gentle like swimming or taking a yoga class. Warm up your muscles for about five minutes before beginning exercise, as that way you are less likely to strain anything. Do a cool down for five minutes after exercising, again stretching out your muscles and letting your body adjust to the change of pace.
A good diet is very important to the health of your body and mind. All too often these get separated, and people discuss good physical health, forgetting that what you put into your body will also have an impact on your mental health. For example, if you gorge yourself on junk food and heavily processed foods, high in salt and sugar, it will have a negative effect on your brain. Scientists are discovering that the food you eat can directly impact on your brain, with consumption of excess calories leading to a reduction in the flexibility of synapses, and eating a lot of junk food can negatively affect your ability to learn and your memory. Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, can improve the function of your brain.
Find some calm
Find out what calm and peace mean to you. Take the time to introduce some calm into your life. Do some breathing exercises each day, and particularly whenever you feel difficult emotions swelling or threatening to overwhelm you. Simply sitting still and breathing in slowly and exhaling slowly through the mouth can help to slow your nervous system and calm your brain down.
Meditation is another wonderful tool for improving your mental health. Mindfulness is a meditative practice that encourages you to be in the present moment and to let go of past regrets and worries based on the future. It is best to practice mindfulness regularly, and you could begin with just ten minutes per day. Concentrate on your breath and keep it slow and regular, and each time your mind wonders notice it and bring it back to your breath. Never feel bad or beat yourself up for having a wandering mind, it is human nature and completely natural, and the practice is in noticing when it happens and bringing it back to the present moment and your breath.
Try different therapies
If you suffer from depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues then it is worth taking the time to look into therapies that might help. For example, Reflexology, a treatment that involves pressure points on the feet that correspond to other parts of the body or mind, may help to relieve stress and anxiety. Aromatherapy and using specific aromas can help to lift your mood and support your emotional and mental health. Using essential oils such as lavender, rose geranium, clary sage and jasmine are said to calm the nerves and promote positive mental health. Put a few drops into an oil burner and feel the sense of peace wash over you. If you are heavily pregnant, it is best to avoid clary sage, as that has been known to bring on labor. Try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a therapy for individuals suffering from depression that uses short-duration pulses of magnetic energy to alter the activity of nerve cells in the brain. Beverly Hills TMS runs courses of this 100% non-invasive treatment, and a full course of therapy, typically 30 sessions, usually takes one month.
Find the time for self-care
Self-care is an important part of keeping mentally healthy. No matter how busy you are, whether your job is demanding or looking after your family and the needs of others means that you have little time for yourself, carving out some space that is sacred and just for you is vital. Make a list of the things that you love to do, from relaxing with a book to taking a long walk in the countryside or listening to music. Then try to incorporate one of these every few weeks. Run a luxurious deep bubble bath and take your book and a glass of wine in with you and just let your tension seep away. Treat yourself to the item of clothing you’ve been longing for or take yourself to a nice café with a book and spend some time reading and relaxing over a calming cup of tea. Focus on the things that make you feel happy and prioritize them regularly for a boost to your mental health.