The world can sometimes be a difficult place, and challenging circumstances can take a toll on your mental health. For that reason, it's essential to be aware of your emotional health, equip yourself with a set of tools, and be familiar with ways to improve mental health.
Of course, that's often easier said than done—but with the right help and guidance, it's certainly not impossible. Here, we've prepared a list of techniques and tips for mental health that you can practice on your own, as well as concrete ideas for implementing them.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply the habit of staying present and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. An increasing number of mental health providers are recommending mindfulness as an effective method to address stress and negative emotions. Scientists also believe that it can even help improve physical health because the mind and body are interconnected.
How To Get Started
The next time you notice yourself becoming overwhelmed by stressful thoughts or negative emotions, take a deep breath. Start by noticing any sensations you're feeling in your body. Next, turn your attention to your mind and notice any thoughts or emotions you're having. See if you can cultivate an attitude of detached curiosity about these thoughts or feelings, rather than allowing yourself to get caught up in them.
This can be difficult at first, but here are a couple of tricks that may help: Journal about your thoughts or feelings or say aloud (or silently) to yourself, "I notice that I am feeling very angry/sad/tired right now."
- Start a Meditation Habit
Meditation is an extension of your mindfulness practice. Studies have shown that in addition to helping manage stress, it can also reduce anxiety and depression and improve sleep quality.
How To Get Started
You don't need fancy tools or even a lot of time to start meditating. Even as little as five minutes a day can make a difference. Start by sitting down in a quiet, comfortable place and closing your eyes. One of the easiest ways to meditate is simply by focusing on your breath and trying to still your mind. If that feels awkward or you'd like something a little more structured, consider trying out one of the many free guided meditations available on the internet. As with mindfulness, consistency is key when it comes to meditation. Be patient with yourself, and don't judge yourself if it seems difficult at first.
- Take Care of Your Body
Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a nutritious diet are essential for physical health, and research has shown that they also have a significant impact on mental health as well. Exercise, in particular, has been shown repeatedly to be able to boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
How To Get Started
Start small. Rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet and jump straight into a rigorous exercise program, practice making one or two small shifts each day. For example, you might try making one healthy diet substitution each day, such as swapping your lunchtime soda for water, or replacing one meal with a salad. Similarly, introduce exercise in small doses: start with a 10-minute walk after work, and build up from there.
Improving your mental health can be an uphill battle, but you don't have to do it alone. Since 1948, Envision Unlimited has been dedicated to helping people live happy, fulfilled lives in their community of choice. Our offerings, which include a wide range of mental health services, day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, employment services, specialized foster care, and accredited applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for children, are designed to address the unique needs of each individual we serve–regardless of age, background, or ability.
Our services are grounded in a spirit of advocacy and empowerment. We believe that all individuals are capable of living successful lives if given the right opportunities. Call us today at 773-506-3161 for a complimentary phone screening.