Knowing what to do to improve your mental health is vital to your overall wellness and quality of life.
We know we have to engage in physical fitness to have good physical health. Similarly, we also have to engage in mental fitness to sustain good mental health.
Our mental health is our psychological and emotional well-being. It’s our ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, while being the best we can be.
Having good mental health does not mean we won’t experience emotional lows such as sadness, frustration, grief or anger. It means, even though we may experience low points, we can deal with those experiences and move past them.
Why Improve Your Mental Health?
There are important reasons to improve our mental health. Benefits of good mental health include:
- More optimism and a healthier outlook on life.
- Improved physical health.
- Higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Stronger personal and professional relationships.
- Willingness to support others in need.
- More drive or ambition.
- Greater desire to learn and grow.
- Better emotional control.
Chances are, you’re doing things to improve your mental health, but may not know how to sustain it. When you improve your mental health, other areas of your life will also improve.
5 Things to Focus on if You Want to Improve Your Mental Health
Just like improving our physical health comes down to a few fundamental things, improving our mental health is similar. As we’re living busy lives, we want things to be simple, without taking up a lot of time.
Here are five things that will improve your mental health and support you in living a better-quality life.
- Choose who you spend time with wisely. We’re social beings and other people affect us. We should surround ourselves with people who will encourage and lift us up when we’re feeling down. We should also avoid people who are pessimistic, complain or blame others for their experiences in life. We want to spend time with those who will support us no matter what.
- Release negative or unhealthy thoughts. What and how we think affects our mental health. While we can never eliminate negative thoughts completely, we can learn to become more aware of them. Unhealthy thoughts can also include comparing ourselves to others. Knowing how to release negative thoughts is a valuable practice to learn.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Our tendency may be to do many things in a short period. That can generate unhealthy stress, which can lead to feelings of overwhelm and confusion. Learning to stay present and focus on what we can do now will help us deal with multiple demands.
- Stop trying to change or control things you cannot. This includes trying to change people. Most things happening around us are beyond our control. We control the thoughts we think, the images we hold in our minds, the emotions we generate and the actions we take. Having clear intentions will make it easier to give attention to what we can control.
- Make reflection a regular practice. We have to learn to pause and be still. Self-reflection allows us to acknowledge ourselves for things we’re doing well and identify how we can improve. Being grateful and keeping a record of our wins or successes are things we can do during self-reflection.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. If we have good mental health, we’ll have good physical health, and vice versa.
If we want to have the experiences we want and live a better life, our mental health has to be a priority.
Action Step: Assess who you spend most of your time with. Decide if they’re a healthy or unhealthy influence on you. Continue to spend time with those who are a positive influence. Reduce or eliminate the time you spend with people who are a negative influence.
Question: What are other things that will improve your mental health?