Mental health determines how we function emotionally, psychologically, and socially among others, affects our thinking process, mood, and behavior, and is essentially all about brain functionality and everything that impacts it. In this article, you’ll learn 6 habits to improve mental health.
Mental health is crucial at every stage of life but numerous daily factors can affect it. These include genetics, life experiences such as trauma and abuse, and a family history of mental disorders.
A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. Here are some daily habits that can help you improve your mental health and be emotionally strong, resilient, and content.
6 Habits to Improve Mental Health
1. Quality Sleep
Besides being beneficial for physical health, sleep plays an important role in mental health. It allows the body and mind to reset and affects your mood, physical health, and mental well-being.
A study conducted in Pakistan in 2022 revealed that tension, depression, headaches, and migraines are more associated with sleep disorders than all other health issues. Therefore, addressing sleep issues is one of the ways to alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions.
For quality sleep, make healthy choices such as:
- Making a sleep schedule and sticking to it.
- Limiting your screen time before going to bed.
- Ensuring your bedroom is quiet, comfortable, and free of distractions.
2. Nutrient-rich Foods
Consuming good, nutritious foods helps with being in a good mood. Traditional diets, such as the Mediterranean, DASH, and plant-based diets, etc. that are high in vegetables, whole grains, and brain-healthy fats are linked to reduced prevalence of depression compared to Western diets, high in sugar, salt, and processed foods.
Foods greatly impact mental health, which is why it is important to have a healthy diet that includes nutrient-rich foods from different food groups.
- Protein sources: Meats: beef, chicken, mutton, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and eggs.
- Low-carb vegetables: cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, kale, etc.
- Fruits: low glycemic index fruits, mainly watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupes, apples, peaches, apricots, guavas, bananas, etc.
- Fat sources: olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or ghee.
3. Social Connections
Humans are social animals and require social interactions. Research shows that strong relationships are associated with improved mental health in many ways. Forming healthy connections with others, whether family or friends, can help to combat the stressors in the body and act as a major mood booster.
Nurturing a healthy relationship requires:
- Keeping in touch with others (either online or in-person).
- Planning outings or dinner with friends or family.
- Confiding about your feelings in a trusted person.
Maintaining a negative disposition about yourself can be a risk factor for anxiety and depression. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that positive thinking greatly influences moods. It is important to understand that how we treat ourselves in difficult times has a major impact on our health and mental well-being.
Make a daily habit of giving yourself positive affirmations. Learn to appreciate the good things in life, even if they are small. Individuals who stay positive and focus on the good things in life are known to live healthily and happily. Staying mindful of your thoughts and actions may not be a cure but it certainly contributes to having a healthy mind.
5. Limit Social Media Use
Several studies have linked the increased usage of social media to high levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, and decreased social skills. Instead of combatting loneliness, social media tends to have the opposite effect. It has been known to raise doubts about self-worth and often leads to the development of mental health issues.
Here is how you can cut back on social media:
- Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media, engage in an interesting hobby.
- Turn off notifications or place your phone in a drawer to take your mind off it.
- Use apps to help limit your time on social media.
Exercise plays an important role in improving or boosting mental health. Exercising for 15 minutes a day significantly reduces the risk of depression, according to research. Exercise also offers a plethora of mental health benefits such as relieving stress, boosting mood, and alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mentioned above are some healthy habits that often lead to improved mental health. Neglecting your mental health can have serious consequences but if you adopt these healthy habits, they will definitely pay off in the future.