10 useful habits to improve your mental health

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Mental health is one of the most dynamic parts of our bodies which often gets ignored while taking care of our physical attributes. Our mental health comprises of our physiological, emotional and social well-being and affects our actions, feelings and thoughts in both positive and negative ways. As the quality of our mental health determines how we behave in stressful situations or make difficult choices, it is essential to keep it fit and healthy.

While most of us believe that a great mental health is reflected through happiness, the fact is a good mental health is a result of feeling positive even in the most tiring situations. Here is a list of 10 useful habits which we can easily incorporate in our day to day lives to improve our mental health and to keep us contented and positive.

1. Exercise

Regular exercise not only leads to a healthy and fit body but also is the secret behind a healthy and positive mind. Over the past years, many studies have proved that there is a strong connection between the mind and the body and consistent exercise can have good effects on the functioning of the human brain. Regular exercise can positively affect mental conditions such as depression and anxiety and is helpful in relieving stress, improving memory, boosting overall mood and getting a sound sleep. No matter which form of exercise you choose, moving your body for 20 minutes a day will work wonders for your mental health.

2. Meditation

While our minds are exceptionally powerful, it can sometimes turn out to be a liability for a few. Most of us have a tendency to develop a habit of overthinking which can threaten our mental condition. As our mind is constantly buzzing with thoughts and ideas, it is important for us to relax our minds for a while with the help of practices such as meditation, prayer, relaxation and deep breathing. Whatever way you choose to practice meditation, make sure to practice it regularly and connect with your inner-self.

3. Socialise

Surrounding ourselves with people can have a great impact on our mental health. Many studies claim that strong family and social connections help in reducing the risk of depression and improving one’s mental health. It is observed that people with good social connections are likely to be healthier and happier than those who either isolate themselves or lack social network. So, plan activities with your family members or friends and allow the right kind of people in your lives to enjoy the perks of a healthy mind.

4. Spend time outdoors

Spending time outside in natural air and sunlight can boost your mood as well as your self-esteem. Sun exposure helps our brains release the hormone serotonin which acts as a natural mood enhancer. Whereas, surrounding ourselves to green grasses and trees is helpful in alleviating the strain which we experience while constantly sitting in front of our digital screens.

5. Take adequate sleep

Although the amount of sleep we need varies from one person to the another, it is important to take adequate sleep for the optimal functioning of our brain and body. Adequate sleep reduces the feeling of exhaustion and anxiety and makes us more productive throughout the day. To improve your mental health, make yourself aware of your body needs and recognise the right amount of sleep you need. Follow the same sleeping pattern and see how your health progresses.

6. Be thankful

Most of the times we take things for granted without taking a moment to be thankful to what we have. While it is easy to focus on the negative side of everything, practicing 5 minutes of expressing gratitude every day can make a huge difference in our mindset. As per WebMD, regularly practicing thankfulness can boost your energy and optimism and help reduce stress levels to a great extent.

7. Do things that make others happy

When we commit kind acts, we not only benefit others but also make ourselves feel better. People who constantly do small nice things such as offering a helping hand to someone in need or holding the door for someone, experience less anxiety and feel themselves more satisfied and socially acceptable. Also giving compliments and making good gestures in workplace or home can make others feel good.

8. Set realistic goals

Achieving our goals makes us happy. So, decide what you want to achieve personally and professionally and work towards it. Set small and realistic daily goals to achieve your final goal and look forward to accomplishing it. Start your day on a positive note by focusing on your task or goals for the day. When you set a realistic goal, you will be driven to accomplish it and will enjoy a sense of achievement and success as you move towards your final goal. You will also realize your self-worth when you will look at the steps you have taken to achieve your final goal.

9. Take time for yourself

Avoid self-criticism and take some time out of your busy routine to appreciate and respect yourself. As we get busy in our professional lives, we succumb to our career demands and forget about our personal interests. To have a positive outlook in life, it is essential to grow and expand our knowledge. Spending time in pursuing our hobbies and interests can help us in coping with stress and depression. Broaden your horizons by learning something new like a musical instrument, a sport or a language or solve crossword puzzles, take dance classes and read a new book.

10. Restrain yourself from consuming excess alcohol

To enjoy a healthy body and mind, keep the use of alcohol to a minimum. Also, completely avoid other drugs in the form of sleeping pills or pills for temporary stress relief. When we use alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate ourselves for stress, anxiety or depression, we only seek a temporary solution. However, excess consumption of alcohol and such drugs can only worsen the problem and once it becomes habitual can manifest into more severe problems.

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