Waking up early, meditating, exercising and replenishing one’s platter with an assortment of healthy tidbits can do wonders for a person’s physical health. However, in this fast-paced, technology-driven age, it is not enough to just take care of one’s physical health to achieve overall well-being.
Because mental health and physical health are dependent on one another, it is essential to take care of mental health to boost resilience and fortify the conviction to overcoming all kinds of hurdles during various stages of life. At the same time, a healthy state of mind acts as a bulwark against substance abuse, psychological stressors and other adverse conditions. It is an indispensable element for leading a happy life.
Although the prevalent culture at large is quick to dismiss mental disorders and conditions as behavioral problems, they are as fatal as physical diseases. Most of the stigmas and misconceptions attached to mental disorders are partly due to the inaccurate beliefs and information.
Such is the importance of a good mental health that a person should not experience the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder to take the decision to tend to his or her mental health. Everybody benefits from a healthy and positive frame of mind, regardless of his or her gender, age, social status or ethnicity. An individual’s mental health determines the way he or she will feel, respond and act on a daily basis. It also directs his or her stress-coping approach, decision-making skills, social interactions, etc.
Here are a few ways to improve one’s mental health:
- Begin the day with a cup o’ joe: Kicking off the day with a cup of coffee has been associated with lower rates of depression. Another hot beverage that boosts mental health is green tea.
- Maintain a gratitude diary: When a person pens down his or her thoughts or counts blessings, it helps in acknowledging and appreciating who they are and what they have. Research suggests that expressing gratitude in a diary (digital or paper) improves one’s mental health and provides clarity.
- Undergo digital detox: It’s a good idea to get off the grid every now and then. Although smartphones offer real-time communications and a wide range of utilities, many often find themselves addicted to the internet and social media. As a result, they keep constantly checking the notifications and email alerts. Leave the phone behind for the day, get involved in something fun or indulge in a hearty conversation with someone.
- Take a leap of faith: The fear of failure, commitment and receiving the short end of the stick often prevents people from trying their hand at that one thing they always wanted to do or improve. As the saying goes, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step,” focusing on moving in the right direction is better for an individual’s mental health than being in a stalemate-like situation. Rather than constantly worrying and looking over one’s shoulder, one should face the situations as and when they come.
- Go for a leisurely stroll: A walk, preferably somewhere quiet and serene like a park or in the woods, instills new energy and perceptions. Research shows that taking a stroll is associated with an increase in energy levels, burning of cortisol, protection from depression and augmentation in overall well-being.
- Smile like you mean it: Putting on a happy expression in the times of stress and difficult periods may be too much to ask for. However, smiling is surprisingly an effective coping mechanism as it lowers one’s heart rate and has a soothing effect. In fact, another reason to inculcate this healthy practice is that smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning, thereby protecting the face from developing frown lines and wrinkles.
A mind is too precious to be wasted
To bring about a healthy balance in life, it is important to tend to both mental and physical health. At times, the negligence of mental health is a significant risk factor for the onset of psychiatric disorders. Therefore, it is essential to remember that seeking help in such cases is not a sign of weakness but of strength.