How to look after our mental health

Mental health is a state of complete emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of an individual, and is thus directly related to one’s physical wellness. Virtually anyone gets to experience a mental health issue at some point in life—and being diagnosed medically might not have anything to do with it. Chronic drowsiness, low energy levels, drastic changes in eating and sleeping habits, recurring negative thoughts, abrupt mood shifts, and despair etc. may all be qualified as a mental health issue.

In order to tackle a mental health disorder, it is advisable to consult a certified specialist and use medications only under their supervision. However, there is a number of constructive steps you may take independently. This article is an introduction to some of the simple habits that you can cultivate to keep an eye on your mental health.

Learn to observe your emotions: With everyday worries and workload, we often fail to find time to observe our emotions, which is precisely why we rarely notice a mental health issue long before it manifests itself in the form of physical symptoms. A great way to keep an eye on your emotions and detect potential changes is to maintain a diary—a record of key events, your emotions, and moods. Even a few words should suffice.

In addition to observing emotions, it is equally important to be able to share them with others, which is an excellent way to discard negative thoughts while also enhancing your social well-being.

Master the art of self-acceptance: Latest studies demonstrate high correlation between poor self-acceptance and mental health infirmities. Hence, healthy self-acceptance is one of the fundamental aspects of solid mental health. Healthy self-esteem and self-acceptance influence a number of essential skills, such as one’s ability to respond to emotional cues or tackle challenges, overcome stress or anger, and so much more. All of these serve as a foundation for our mental balance. 

One of the most powerful ways to practice self-acceptance is to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Think of an experience that you criticize yourself for and try to comfort yourself the same way you would have comforted your best friend. This is certainly bound to remind you that you, too, are human and should be able to move on with your life with total peace of mind.

Feel and express gratitude: According to modern psychology, anxiety and gratitude simply cannot coexist in our brain. That is precisely why you should think of all the moments that you are thankful for each time you feel anxious. Cultivating gratitude allows your brain to focus on the positive while also enhancing your overall mental health. Every morning and every night (before sleep), consider listing three things you are grateful for and three things you managed to accomplish during the day. This is bound to remind you that there is always something to be hopeful about, leaving you upbeat and optimistic for the remainder of the day/night.

Stay physically active: Exercise is an excellent source of happy hormones and is therefore considered as one of the most powerful natural tools to ward off mental ailments, such as anxiety and depression. Being physically active does not have to mean long hours at a gym per se. All you have to do is find an activity that you enjoy the most and try to engage in it several times per week. Swimming, aerobics, fun sports games, or even pleasant walks outdoors should suffice.

Maintain a regular eating and sleeping schedule: As stated earlier, mental health has significant impact on physical wellness. But the good news is, it goes both ways: Each healthy habit we cultivate has the ability to profoundly transform our mental state. A healthy diet is an excellent source of all the essential nutrients for the body, guaranteeing stable energy levels and great mood throughout the day. Both the amount and patterns of sleep are imperative: One must sleep during the night and remain alert during daytime.

Get quality rest: Chronic fatigue, low energy levels, and workplace frustrations often lead to a total burnout—one of the most common causes of mental health issues. Headache, stomachache, back ache, tender joints, and arrythmia etc. may all be the warning signs of a burnout. The single most effective way to cope with this state is quality rest, which you can get only by removing yourself from your daily routine.

Keep in mind that mental wellness is not some destination you are going to reach once in order to feel good, but rather a continuous dynamic process that requires diligent effort and full commitment to healthy habits every step of the way.