Have you been feeling down, moody, or stressed lately, but aren’t sure what to do about it? Perhaps you’ve been there before, and want to find ways to avoid reaching those lows again.
Managing your mental health can be challenging, but there are simple things you can do to help you cope and feel better.
Here are 6 simple ways to improve your mental health.
According to a study published in BMC Public Health, people who are physically active tend to be mentally healthy, as well (Velten, Bieda, Scholten, Wannemüller & Margraf, 2018). Exercise can reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. It can also help you sleep better and improve your mood (The University of Michigan, n.d.). Try to do 30 minutes of exercise, around five days a week. You could try a sport, or find another form of exercise that you enjoy, like dancing. Simple physical activity like housework or walks in the park can help, too (Mental Health Foundation, 2021).
2. Eat well
Proper nutrition is good for both physical and mental health. The right nutrients are needed for your body and your brain to function well. Eating properly can help boost your mood and reduce stress (Medline Plus, 2021), so remember to eat three nutritious meals a day and drink lots of water (Mental Health Foundation, 2021).
3. Connect with other people
Human beings are social creatures. It’s important to stay connected with supportive people who care about you (Medline Plus, 2021). If you’re feeling down, spending time with loved ones might be just what you need to lift your spirits. Sometimes, the key to a better mood can be as easy as giving someone a call or shooting them a message. Friends or family whom you feel safe with can make you feel loved, accepted, and included. They can even help you sort out your problems by offering a fresh perspective, or by simply being there to help you have fun and unwind (Mental Health Foundation, 2021).
4. Take a break
Taking a break can improve your mental health by helping you to reset and recharge. It may seem like an obvious necessity, but people often forget to do so while they’re up to their ears in work on a hectic day. You can do this by setting a few minutes aside for yourself in between tasks and responsibilities. You could also schedule a weekend off just to relax (Mental Health Foundation, 2021). You could take a break from the monotony around you: change your daily route, visit someplace new, or maybe hang up new pictures in your room (University of Michigan, n.d.). You may want to try taking a break from negative information, as well. Staying informed is important, but me mindful of when to take a break from the news or your social media feed (Medline Plus, 2021).
5. Do something you love
One good way to boost your mood is to do something that you love. What types of activities do you enjoy? Painting, singing, or cooking, maybe? Finding time for hobbies that you like (and are probably good at) can bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. It can help you de-stress, and even boost your self-esteem (Mental Health Foundation, 2021). You can also explore something new that you’ve always been interested in (UNICEF Serbia, n.d.).
6. Do something for others
Another way to improve your mental health is to direct your time and energy toward helping other people. Doing something for others can bring you newfound happiness and fulfillment. It can give you a sense of purpose (University of Michigan, n.d.), and help you see life from a whole new angle (2021).
There are many different causes that you can volunteer for. You can find one you really care about, and devote your time and service to that.
Have you found any of the described methods helpful? Do you use other strategies to lift your mood or work on your mental health? Leave a comment below!
Mental Health Foundation. (2021, June 4). How to look after your mental health. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health.
UNICEF Serbia. (n.d.). How to protect your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/serbia/en/how-protect-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.
University of Michigan. (n.d.). Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health. Retrieved from https://uhs.umich.edu/tenthings.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, August 10). How to improve mental health. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html.
Velten, J., Bieda, A., Scholten, S., Wannemüller, A., & Margraf, J. (2018). Lifestyle choices and mental health: A longitudinal survey with German and Chinese students. BMC Public Health, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5526-2