Given the increasingly fast-paced, stressful nature of the world we live in, it’s more important than ever to tend to our psychological well-being proactively. Good mental health is essential for anyone who’d like to not only survive but thrive in their day-to-day life. It affects our ability to build and maintain relationships, deal with stress, overcome challenges, and recover from difficult experiences.
Are you looking to address a particular psychological issue, manage your stress more healthily, or simply bring more energy and positivity into your life? Then rest assured that there are many simple but effective ways to take control of your mental health that you can practice regularly. Try building up the following daily habits to give yourself a welcome boost:
Practise relaxation techniques
Stress can wreak havoc on your overall sense of well-being, so finding ways to keep it under control is one of the most important steps to improve your mental health. Breathing exercises, yoga, and mindfulness practices like meditation are effective relaxation techniques that you can teach yourself and subsequently incorporate into your daily routine.
If you’re religious, you may also find regular prayer a soothing and centering activity. Dedicated prayer apps like the Muslim Pro app can remind you of appropriate times to pray, as well as provide you with scripture readings and audio prompts to make your experience more meaningful. Exploring the Muslim Pro app Facebook page and other social media pages should give you an idea of what features these apps contain and how you can use them effectively.
While you can’t eliminate all stressors, adopting relaxation techniques that work for you can help restore both your mind and body to a balanced, healthy state. These will be especially effective if you use them alongside other stress management strategies like prioritizing your leisure time and practicing positive self-talk.
Physical health and mental health are innately connected, so taking steps to care for your body will automatically lead to greater psychological wellness as well. Exercising encourages the brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that boost your mood and energy levels. There’s also abundant research to support the positive impact of regular physical activity on memory, concentration, stress levels, and sleep quality.
You don’t have to be a fitness buff to experience the benefits of consistent exercise, either. If hitting the gym isn’t your cup of tea, you can always look for ways to be more active during your daily life. Try cycling or walking to an appointment rather than taking a car, spend time playing with your dog, or walk laps around the mall while you’re out shopping. Including even just a half-hour of exercise in your daily routine will make a big difference to both your mental and physical well-being.
No matter how much you enjoy or even prefer your own company, humans are fundamentally social creatures. Everyone needs healthy relationships and positive interconnections to function and feel at their best. Hence, those looking for ways to improve their mental health will always do well to prioritize seeking companionship and social interaction, particularly in face-to-face settings.
Face-to-face interaction is so crucial because much of human communication is actually nonverbal, centered around facial expressions, posture, body language, and the like. This means that being physically present with a person allows you to feel connected with them in ways that other means of interacting, like phone calls and social media, just can’t fully provide.
Try interacting face-to-face with acquaintances or with people you encounter throughout the day, such as your neighbors, the people you meet on your morning commute, or servers in cafes or restaurants. Doing something as simple as making eye contact and exchanging a casual greeting may just lift your mood all by itself. Don’t be afraid, likewise, to call friends or loved ones and arrange to meet up whenever you find yourself craving company.
Get enough sleep every night
Sleep is usually the first thing to go out the window when you lead a busy life. Getting enough sleep every night, however, is vital for your mental health. Hence, it’s important that you treat it as a necessity rather than as a luxury to indulge in only when you have the time. Losing even just a few hours of sleep at night can compromise your energy, mood, focus, and capacity to manage your stress. In the long run, consistent sleep deprivation can take a major toll on both your body and mind.
Adults should try to get between seven to nine hours of quality sleep nightly. This also means winding down before bed to prepare your brain for rest. Make it a point to reduce stimulation about two hours before bed. Stop using your computer, phone, tablet, and other devices, set aside your work, and postpone any energy-intensive mental activities like worrying or brainstorming for the next day.
There are many benefits to paying greater attention to your psychological wellness. Mentally healthy people are more self-confident and more emotionally resilient in times of adversity. They also tend to have fulfilling interpersonal connections and a strong sense of purpose both in their activities and their relationships. The good news is that good mental health isn’t just something a fortunate few are born with. Anyone can cultivate it with a grounded mindset, healthy habits, and a strong support system.
Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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