At multiple points in their lives, about 1 in 5 Americans face the challenges of poor mental health. These statistics provided by the CDC cannot overstate the importance of mental health and well-being. Yet, it’s a significant aspect of life that frequently gets neglected. Multiple life stressors like finances and work further intensify the pressure to prioritize productivity over mental self-care. However, scientific research has proven that overlooking mental-wellbeing can decrease productivity and quality of life because mental health strongly interlinks with physical health. For example, chronic stress, which can arise from work or personal life challenges, can lead to physical issues such as higher susceptibility to heart attacks, panic attacks, and respiratory diseases.
Problems will always exist, and you may need to overcome numerous difficulties throughout your life. However, you can take many practical steps to strengthen your mental fortitude and build resilience in the face of life’s challenges through the following methods.
Try Family Therapy Services
When a person has a mental illness, loneliness and isolation can harm their recovery process. In more severe cases, such as addiction problems, at least 40% of addicts relapse due to lack of support. Substance abuse bleeds into the relationships of an addict, and despite wanting to help, their loved ones may accidentally escalate the issue. However, family therapy involves your loved ones in the therapy plan and teaches them how to aid recovery effectively.
Developing dependency on a substance can cause drifts in your relationships. However, addiction family therapy services strengthen familial bonds, identify behavior cycles, assign clear roles, and develop effective communication, which studies acknowledge as an immensely successful treatment. Clinics in the US that provide these therapy services, such as Restorations Health Care, break the stigma around substance dependence because they provide addiction education, facilitate open communication, and are a long-term solution.
Being kind is the simplest way to uplift the spirit of others and improve your mood in the process. Practicing kindness can be as simple as holding the door open for someone, giving a compliment, or donating to someone in need. Being kind is not strictly reserved for others, but you can also extend your kindness to yourself by practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and using positive self-talk.
Acts of kindness can create a sense of purpose and meaning, improving your overall well-being by establishing a sense of belonging in your community. You should take every opportunity to practice kindness and incorporate it into your routine. Even smiling at a stranger is a beautiful act of kindness you should indulge in.
Build proper sleep hygiene.
The National Sleep Foundation advises that adults between 18-64 years should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, 35.2% of adults in the United States do not sleep the recommended hours per night. To avoid these complications, you can build proper sleep hygiene by:
- Limiting screen time before bed
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- Stretching before bed
- Making your bedroom comfortable
- Reading a book before bed
- Having a fixed bedtime
Proper sleep hygiene is crucial to our overall mental health and well-being. It includes developing habits and practices that promote better sleep quality, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Sleep hygiene is essential to maintain energy levels, mood, and well-being.
If you tend to overthink, meditation can help bring your attention back to the present moment. It involves focusing on your breath and body and can be a simple mindfulness practice. Regularly meditating can decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase feelings of well-being and relaxation. Meditation has physical health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, improving immune system function, managing chronic pain, and enhancing sleep quality.
Suppose you don’t know where to start with meditation practice. In that case, plenty of beginner-friendly meditation apps like Medito teach you the basics. It has numerous meditative sounds you can choose according to your preferences and practice sessions that help get you into the habit of meditating. Meditation doesn’t have to consume much of your time. You can start with short 3 to 5 minutes sessions, then gradually increase the duration. What matters most is consistency. A daily 10-minute session can make a tremendous positive impact.
Try something new
Trying new things may seem like a stressful step out of your comfort zone, but the benefits are worth it. By engaging in new experiences, you can increase your confidence, self-esteem, and feelings of accomplishment. There are various fun and exciting activities to try that can boost your mental health and well-being, such as:
- Learning a new skill
- Experimenting with new recipes
- Painting a self-portrait
- Trying exotic fruit
- Exploring unfamiliar cities
By trying new things, you can challenge yourself and broaden your horizons. Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to increased personal growth and a greater appreciation for life. So, it’s time to try everything on your bucket list!
Indulge your senses
Your five senses allow you to tune into your surroundings, which is an effective form of mindfulness. Sensory activities, such as aromatherapy, music therapy, and art therapy, stimulate different parts of your brain and promote relaxation and emotional regulation. A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy identified a positive impact of auditory stimulation by reporting that music therapy can improve mood, boost self-esteem, and lower depression levels in individuals.
There are other ways to indulge your senses, such as taking a relaxing bath with scented candles, listening to your favorite music, or going for a stroll in nature. These activities can be done alone or with others and easily incorporated into your daily routine. Anytime you indulge your senses, remember to actively think about what you can see, taste, hear, touch, and smell. Focusing on the sensations you experience helps you focus and keeps you engaged in the present.
Taking care of your mental health and well-being shouldn’t be a reward or a luxury; rather, a necessity. There is no shame in wanting to take a break or needing help. It’s important to take time out to breathe and let your mind and body rest. Continuing to overburden yourself and biting off more than you can chew will eventually only lead to burnout, stress, and other mental illnesses.
If your engine has no fuel, how will it run? Similarly, prioritizing your mental health and well-being drives you to move forward.