The definition of happiness might differ from one person to another, but at the end of the day, it’s an integral part of one’s wellness and important for a peaceful existence.
Your habits contribute significantly to your emotional health. So if you want to know how to improve mental health, you should learn to break bad habits and work towards developing better ones.
Although the ups and downs of life are inevitable, there are a few things you can do to train your mind into being happy.
Even little habits make a lot of difference. For example, a recent study shows that eating avocados is healthy for your gut microbiota. Since the gut microbes influence your immune system and mood, an avocado toast in the morning might be good for your emotional health.
In this guide, we’ll discuss different aspects of mental health and how you can incorporate emotional health activities into your daily life.
How to Improve Mental Health in 7 Effective Ways
Improving your mental health starts with yourself. Once you learn the methods to make yourself happy, you’ll feel much better emotionally.
1. Know Your Worth
The first step in training your mind to be happy is valuing yourself. Once you start doing that, you can’t let people treat you badly and make you unhappy.
So, give yourself the amount of kindness and respect you deserve and never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Next, you should try to avoid self-criticizing your work. Although criticism is constructive and often helps a person do better, doing it on an extreme level always gets toxic at some point.
Moreover, do whatever makes you happy and make time for your favorite things. You can also resume an activity you loved when you were young but then gave up on due to the busy routine.
Whether it was dancing to your favorite melodies or shooting hoops in the front yard, starting the day with an enjoyable activity will boost your mood.
So learn to play a musical instrument, get ready, take pictures, plant a tree, meet new people, and help a person in need – the world is your horizon!
2. Change Your Daily Habits
There are many changes you can bring into your daily life to improve your mental wellness.
As simple of an act as it may sound, smiling your way through life can help your emotional wellness. When you smile, you send a signal to your brain to release dopamine. It’s a hormone that makes you happy.
However, you don’t have to walk around with a fake smile on your face.
Instead, when you feel low, maybe grin wide and see if it helps; or, you can smile at yourself in the morning, looking in the mirror while brushing your teeth.
Social media might tell you that you should work out to stay buff or look like a Vogue cover model.
However, exercise isn’t just important for your physical wellness – it’s also just as crucial for your mental health.
Even if you can’t hit the gym daily, incorporate some physical activity in your daily routine, and you’ll notice a prominent difference. But don’t overexert yourself. Running a marathon on the treadmill won’t make you very happy, would it?
Other than conventional exercises, you can also do different kinds of mental wellness activities. These include:
- A morning walk
- Bike ride along the beach (if possible)
- Meditation or yoga
- Stretching exercises
Deal With Stress
No matter how hard we try to avoid it, stress is a part of our lives. Most of the time, it is the main reason why we get anxious and disturb our mental health and peace.
Since you can’t completely get rid of the stress in your life, you can practice skills to cope with it. For example, try ten-minute mind relaxing exercises like meditating and yoga, or go for a short one-minute session.
Not surprisingly, research has also shown that meditation and relaxation exercises shut down all the running thoughts in a stressed person’s mind and make him feel calm.
Besides, you can also go for a walk, spend time with your best friend, or play with your pet whenever you feel anxious.
Quality time spent with a loved one might not eliminate the stress, but it surely helps you forget it for some time and be happy from the inside.
3. Break the Routine
Often, it’s our routine that makes us bored and unsatisfied. Although most people feel safe and more efficient when things go in a loop, a slight change in this monotonous schedule can uplift your mood instantly.
For instance, you can have your favorite ice cream after your mid-day meal, try a new dish in your favorite cafe, or go to a different restaurant.
Plus, you can also change your running route and try going to a green-lush park this time. Additionally, you can also try leaving your comfy couch this weekend and plan a road trip with your friends.
All these things may sound small, but they play a significant role in keeping you happy.
4. Sleep Well
Sleeping well is an instant mood-enhancer. But, unfortunately, modern society tries to push the notion that less sleep and more hustle is the only way forward. In doing so, many people often fall prey to social or generalized anxiety.
To steer clear of this, get at least seven hours of sleep daily.
While you’re sleeping, the activities in your brain fluctuate. This increase and decrease in the brain functions consist of different sleep stages to constitute the whole cycle.
During the REM sleep stage, your brain activity is rapid. Due to that, you may have intense dreams.
On the other hand, the NREM sleep stage is characterized by slow brain activity with short bursts of energy.
Research reports the profound effect of sleep on brain activity. Therefore, you must get sufficient rest for your brain to process emotional information properly.
Since the brain seems to evaluate thoughts and memories during sleep, it’s expected that a lack of sleep might hinder proper emotional consolidation. Owing to this, your emotional reactivity and mood can be affected.
Another interesting study shows a bidirectional relationship between emotional health and sleep.
In simple words, poor mental wellness can both be a cause and result of insufficient sleep.
5. Eat Healthy and Avoid Alcohol
Excessive use of alcohol and drugs always aggravates health issues in a person. Some people drink alcohol to relieve their stress, but it doesn’t help much.
When a person is under the influence of these, he feels more depressed and lonely. That’s why it’s seen as a negative while training your mind to be happy.
So, avoid the use of anything that is addictive, and include healthy things in your diet. It may not work like magic, but it will surely make a positive impact on your mood.
6. Write It Down
Have you ever wondered why many people swear by notebooks and bullet journals? It’s not just for them to make fancy spreads. Instead, writing things down is a therapist-recommended way to formulate your thoughts and control them.
If something is bothering you for a while or you’re troubled by specific thoughts, write them down.
Moreover, you can note down the affirmations for the day and read them every time you’re about to slip back into the low state of mind.
Some notebooks come with uplifting stickers, while others have separate sections for you to write a quote or affirmation for the day.
Research shows that expressing emotions through writing can help reduce depressive symptoms in patients.
Furthermore, this method of calming the brain is beneficial for people who’re not comfortable expressing themselves verbally.
7. Companionship Matters
It’s much easier to believe that only you’re responsible for your happiness, but at some point, people around you affect your aura too.
From friends falling apart to breakups and family problems, there’s a lot that can influence your mental health.
Remember to take a step back and analyze the situation. Sometimes, it’s better to take a break from things that might be overwhelming you.
If being around friends calms you, do more of that. Similarly, bid farewell to companionships that only bring you more anxiety or decline in your mental health.
While doing so, also take a moment to ask yourself if you have a positive outlook. Once you do that, you’ll start thinking more positively. It might sound surprising, but this phenomenon is called metacognition.
Simply put, it means reconsidering your thinking. Whenever you question yourself, you’re rewiring your brain to have positive thoughts if you’re thinking positively.
One of the reasons why mental health issues are so challenging to treat is that they differ across individuals. For instance, while journaling may work for you, someone else might find solace in a playlist.
Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to integrate mental wellness activities into your daily life.
So try implementing any of the above-mentioned mental health tips to feel better, lighter, and happier.