Mental health has always been one of the aspects of wellness that is often overlooked or not emphasized. When people think of a healthy person, their minds often jump to physical, social, and emotional health. If you ask someone to describe a healthy person, they will likely say that a healthy person is someone who eats well, exercises regularly, spends an appropriate amount of time with friends, and deals with their emotions in appropriate ways. What they probably won’t do is include aspects of mental health in their description. Their neglect of mental health is in large part due to the world’s general attitude toward mental health: If it’s not being ignored, it is being talked about as if it were taboo. People have never really discussed mental health in an open and honest way—until recently, that is. Today, more than ever before, mental health is being discussed and emphasized as an important aspect of overall wellness. Mental illnesses are being brought to people’s attention, and efforts are being made to improve people’s mental health. Such great news! Today, more than ever before, people are beginning to realize that mental health is extremely important and that we should care for our minds as much as we do for our bodies. If, for example, we were feeling sick to our stomach, we would likely visit a doctor to get a diagnosis and perhaps some medication to help us feel better. We all agree that visiting a doctor would be an appropriate thing to do in that case. And now, we are beginning to realize that the same logic applies to mental illness: If we find that our mental state is not doing well, we should visit a therapist or get the help we need to get our minds feeling better. Because mental health is only recently being emphasized, many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to practicing good mental hygiene. It can be difficult to make practicing good mental hygiene a part of our daily routine, but it is important that we all make an effort to do so. So, in an effort to help that cause and promote good mental health, here are 4 easy ways to improve your mental health today.
- Eat more healthy foods. It’s been said that you are what you eat, and that is definitely true. What we eat nourishes our bodies and our minds. When we eat poorly, we will start to notice that we don’t feel well, both physically and mentally. If, on the other hand, we make some small changes to our diet, such as eating a fruit and vegetable with every meal, we will begin to realize that our bodies feel better and our minds think more clearly.
- Take some time to breathe. Of course, we all breathe, but we seldom do it consciously. Taking a moment to focus on our breathing, to control our breathing, to breathe consciously has always been a fundamental part of mindfulness and meditation. Both mindfulness and meditation are great for our mental health. From inspiring creativity to reducing addiction cravings, taking a moment to breathe offers some incredible benefits that you won’t get anywhere else.
- Focus on the positive for a few minutes each day. Oftentimes, our mental health suffers because we allow negativity to dominate our thoughts. If you start each day by complimenting yourself and end each day by listing off three or four things you were thankful for that day, you’ll soon notice a positive change in your overall mindset. Over time, your brain will naturally think more positively and will slowly replace all of those negative thoughts with positive and uplifting ones.
- Get enough sleep. This is a basic tip that has been said more times than any of us would care to count, and yet studies still show that around 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep. That’s a lot of people! Getting enough sleep each night will do wonders for your mental health. If you’re not currently sticking to a strict sleeping schedule, you should try to create one and follow it. In only a few days, you’ll notice that you are able to think more clearly, remember things more easily, and your mind will focus more on the positive and less on the negative.