The World Health Organization defines mental health as “A state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.
Mental health is essential to your overall wellness and it’s an important part of living a life that feels satisfying. However, sometimes it can feel elusive even for those of us who have easy access to healthcare. Here are a few simple things you can incorporate into your week to enjoy days that are fruitful and productive.
7 secrets for better Mental Health
- 1Try Meditating. This may be out of your comfort zone, but truly it’s very easy and refreshing. Download the Calm app or pull up a quick YouTube video of an easy breathing meditation. I like to take 5 or 10 minutes in the late afternoon to refresh my mind and refocus my goals for the day. You may prefer to meditate first thing in the morning or before you go to sleep at night.
- 2Exercise. I’m sure you saw this coming, but truly exercise is one of the best ways to ward off depression and anxiety. Additionally, the natural endorphin rush provides energy and focus to help you create your best work all day long.
- 3Eat Well. The foods we eat are what our body uses to fuel our mind. For optimum mental health choose healthy, fresh foods that have plenty of protein and a variety of nutrients. The better fueled you are, the more equipped you will be to handle the normal stressors of your day. Protein in particular is necessary for clear thinking. If you struggle to get enough protein then consider investing in a breakfast smoothie that you enjoy.
- 4Prioritize sleep. We all know that we need sleep, but when it comes right down to it we tend to stay up later than we should and clutter our sleep environment. Establish healthy sleep hygiene by sticking to a firm schedule and clearing your bedroom of technology and clutter. Sleep gives our brains time to regulate its hormones. This processing reduces stress and helps you feel controlled and balanced throughout your day.
- 5Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption. I love a glass of wine in the evenings, but unfortunately drinking alcohol on a daily basis isn’t ideal for your mental health. It tends to disrupt your sleep patterns and causes your organs to work overtime processing the toxin. Additionally, alcohol notoriously leaves us dehydrated and groggy the next morning. Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks a few days a week instead of creating a daily habit and be sure to drink extra water on those days.
- 6Call a Friend. Relationships are vital for our mental health. Staying connected with your personal community brings meaning to life and dramatically reduces your risk of depression. Make a list of two or three friends who you plan to connect with, either in person or on the phone, on a weekly basis.
- 7See a Counselor. No matter how healthy our daily life is, most of us have something from our journey that we need to process and digest. Seeing a counselor offers a helpful outside perspective from a trained professional. A mental health professional is often as effective at improving our moods as taking an anti-depressant. Don’t hesitate to connect with a professional who can help you work through some frustrations.