If you want to learn how to improve mental health, the beginning of the year is one of the best times to get started.
Here’s how to improve mental health in 2019.
How to Improve Mental Health
This is the time of year when you are implementing those New Year’s resolutions. You are determined and motivated more than ever to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. These goals may include improvement, whether in your personal or professional life.
In the United States, the most common resolutions include saving money, losing weight, traveling more, learning a new hobby, buying a house, quitting smoking and even finding love. The one resolution missing from this list is improving mental health.
This is surprising, since the one thing needed to achieve all the other goals is good mental health.
It is not too late to add the goal of improving your mental health to this list. With better mental health, you will attract healthier, more positive people into your life. You will also be able to stay focused on goals like losing weight and saving money; because your increased mental health can better prepare you to deal with barriers getting in the way from reaching your goals.
So, how does one go about improving their mental health? Great question, and below you will find some simple answers to help you on your journey.
Sleep the Right Way
Sleep has long been connected to mental health. You have probably noticed that when you get too little sleep, you are more irritable or find yourself eating foods that are considered unhealthy. Sleep is the time when your brain tells your body to begin restoration.
When you get positive sleep, at least six hours of sleep in which your brain can cycle through the five waves of sleep, you will see positive results. This will give your brain time to heal your body, including working towards improved mental health.
To get this type of sleep, make sure the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Silence any background noise such as a radio or television keeping your mind active. Turn the lights off. Any light, even from the television, computer or phone, can signal to your eyes that it is time to wake up.
You may start to see yourself enjoying your days more, even laughing more, which is another way to improve your mental health.
There are great health benefits to laughter. It relaxes your mind and body, releases endorphins and lowers stress hormones. For your mental health alone, laughter can ease anxiety and tension, strengthen your resilience to life’s obstacles, and help you maintain a good mood.
Many therapists use laughter therapy with clients as a tool connected to cognitive behavioral therapy. They do so because research has shown that laughter decreases stress hormones and the negative effects produced by stress in the mind and body.
Related: What is Individual Therapy?
Laughter may even lead to a feeling of joy and sense of gratitude. Acknowledging things you are grateful for is one more way to improve mental health.
Attract the Positive
Keeping a journal is an excellent exercise for mental health. Translating what is in your mind onto paper, helping you release it from your brain so you are not constantly thinking the same thoughts obsessively.
Journaling what you are grateful for has even more power. It helps you focus on the positive in your life. The more you think of the positive, the happier you may be. Many believe there is a law of attraction. Meaning, our thoughts and what we put out into the universe is what we attract into our lives.
If we only think negative thoughts, we attract negativity. For example, if we only think about paying bills, we notice more and more bills begin to arrive.
Think positive, receive positive.
If you think about the things for which you are grateful and thankful, more of those will show up in your life. One way to help you become more positive in your thinking is to hang around others who are positive.
Don’t Catch Negativity
Feelings can be contagious. Have you ever noticed when you are talking to someone who is always complaining, that you start to feel negative or start complaining too? As humans, we influence one another. Sometimes for the good, sometimes not.
To make sure you do not catch someone else’s bad mood, make a point to associate with positive thinking people. You will begin to adapt their positive attitude. You will look forward to hanging around them because you feel good when you do.
Mental Health America reports that a negative attitude puts you at a higher risk for dying. To avoid a negative attitude, they suggest changing unhealthy self-talk by replacing it with positive affirmations and truthful recognition for the good things you have done in your life.
This can feel like a hard task sometimes. Know that you are not alone. You may want to seek help from a mental health professional to get you started in improving your mental health.
See A Therapist
The National Alliance on Mental Health reports one in five adults experience mental illness in any given year. It is the lack of treatment these people receive that cause the most damage, both personally and as a whole.
Hospitalizations, emergency treatments, and delays in treatment can cost billions of dollars and sometimes, a life.
A licensed therapist may be able to help prevent this. They have many tools and techniques, as well as years of experience. They can help you figure out what is holding you back, and how to overcome that obstacle and improve your mental health, before it is too late.
Related: Should I see a Therapist?
Seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, seeing a therapist is a sign that you are determined to improve.
If you would like to take your first step and explore therapy as an option, contact me for a complimentary consultation.
In conclusion, the tips listed above are just a few of the ways to improve your mental health in 2019. There are many more solutions to help you combat any negative symptoms.
One of the most important things to remember is to never quit trying to improve your mental health. Take care of yourself, focus on the positive, seek help and know that you are worth the effort.
Dedicate the whole year, not just a few months, to giving yourself the best chance for success.