The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Mental health is a hot topic these days. And for good reason! What could be more important than feeling like we’re in a good place mentally?
While there are options such as therapy and medication, many of us could benefit from simple ways to improve our mental health that don’t necessarily require doctor’s visits or prescription drugs. That said, diagnosed mental health conditions should of course be taken seriously and so should the recommendations of licensed medical professionals.
So, let’s take a look at some ways that you can start improving your mental health today!
How to Improve Your Mental Health
We’re all unique individuals. What may improve my mental health may not work for you. So, take these tips with a grain of salt. That said, they are all tried and tested methods of boosting mental health.
And if you think you could benefit from more useful resources on mental health, or how to do other important things, check out those available through BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/how-to/
Great mental health comes down in many ways to being in control of our thoughts and emotions. While this may be quite difficult, particularly for those with diagnosed mental health issues, we can all work on becoming more mindful.
Mindfulness allows us to process our thoughts and emotions in a healthier, more objective way, and meditation is one of the best ways to improve mindfulness. There are guided meditation apps and videos available on YouTube, so this is accessible for just about everyone.
Did you know that exercise can give you a natural high? That’s because it helps release endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in our brain.
And if you pair your exercise with the outdoors, then you’re likely to feel even better (this is known as “eco-therapy”).
Even just light exercise a few times a week may greatly benefit your overall mental health. Try going for a long walk in a peaceful place and/or with some of your favorite music—you’re almost guaranteed to feel better!
Eating well can also boost our mental health. When we eat a lot of junk food, our bodies will tend to feel not so great. And not feeling great physically can lead to reduced mental health.
In fact, many researchers are now exploring the fascinating links between gut health and our brains. So, having a healthier gut may help boost mental health. For a happier gut, consider eating fermented foods and lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains.
Try a Hobby
We all have our passions and hobbies, whether that’s gardening, baking, running, sports, etc.
Taking up an old hobby or a new one will not only help keep boredom away but can also improve your mental health through its social aspect.
For example, if you’re a fan of a given sports team, you can go to in-person events and engage with online communities that support your team. This is a great way to socialize and can help boost your mental health (so long as you don’t let yourself get too high and low with each win and loss).
Ditch the Phone
So many of us now are absolutely addicted to our phones (and, more broadly, the internet). Social media and the infinite scroll were engineered to keep us hooked.
Unfortunately, social media and constant news does a great job at diminishing mental health. Studies show that younger people who spend more time on social media are more likely to be depressed, for example.
So, consider how much time you’re spending on your phone and try a detox from it for a day or two (or ideally longer) to boost your mental health.
It’s vital to reflect on what we have and practice gratitude. Our little problems pale in comparison to those of so many people on this planet we share. When we recognize this, we help put things in perspective and are more likely to feel grateful.
Gratitude is a simple way to boost mental health because actively focusing on positive thoughts helps rewire the chemistry in our brains.
Improving mental health is within reach for all of us. We can all try meditating and practicing gratitude, for example. It just takes willpower. For serious mental health concerns, however, be sure to reach out to a licensed mental health professional.
Establishing healthy habits and beneficial routines can improve your mental health and overall well-being, especially if you stick with them. Give yourself the chance, as life is too short to be miserable all the time. And if you need more support in feeling happy, don’t hesitate to consider the help of a licensed counselor.