The world’s a little bit of a terrifying place these days. Anxiety-related mental health conditions affect over 40 million Americans every year – and those are just the ones with a diagnosis.
Many people are reluctant to speak to a professional about their mental health. This means the true number of those suffering from anxiety, depression, and related disorders is really far higher.
If you’re feeling swamped by negative feelings or simply overwhelmed by daily tasks, the first thing to do is take a deep breath. Next, you can follow the mental health tips in this guide to make sure you stay healthy in your mind as well as your body.
Signs Your Mind Needs Some TLC
Everyone feels down from time-to-time but mental health problems have a more serious impact. They last longer, are often felt more acutely and can have a physical effect on your health, too.
You’re in the right place for some mental health improvement tips if you’ve been feeling any of the following symptoms:
- A lack of interest in previous hobbies
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Sudden feelings of panic
- Shaking or feeling nervous
- Difficulty sleeping
- Negative self-talk
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Emotional trauma such as a bereavement, redundancy, or relationship breakdown.
You know your own mind best. If you’re feeling off-kilter, even if you’re not experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s a sign you need to take steps to look after your mental health.
Remember: if you’re experiencing negative feelings of self-harm or harm to others, seek medical assistance immediately.
Simple Mental Health Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Talking therapy is one of the best ways you can look after your mental health. However, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your mood and help you feel good about your world again.
1. Take Time to Do Nothing
In the 1950s, people thought that – thanks to robots and technology – we’d be living lives of pure leisure by now. Instead, we have less leisure time than ever.
Book time out for yourself when you can. That could be an hour to soak in the tub or a day spent hiking in the woods: whatever time you can take for yourself, take it.
2. Remove Toxic Friendships
Part of reducing our busy schedules is the art of saying no. That includes refusing the friend who always asks for help – and yet never has time for you.
Toxic friendships come in many forms but each type has the same theme: an emotional drain and time-eater for you. Let your toxic friends go and spend your freedom on healing yourself.
3. Talk About How You Feel
You can talk to friends and family about your feelings and life stressors. However, talking to people who know you means the other person might interrupt or even react negatively to your problems.
Instead, try booking a weekly session with a professional therapist. This therapist time lets you focus entirely on yourself. They’ll also help you with coping techniques to improve your outlook on life.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
When we feel stressed or depressed, it’s in our nature to reach for sugary and carb-laden food. Junk food seems attractive because it tastes amazing and you don’t have to prepare it yourself. It’s instant gratification when you’re feeling bad.
However, a diet of junk without plenty of fruit and vegetables in-between is going to make you feel worse. Sugar causes mood swings to feed your already-negative feelings.
You don’t have to cut the junk altogether. Just try to get some fresh food every day, too.
5. Create a Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
Insomnia is a common side effect of anxiety-related disorders. You either can’t sleep, have trouble falling asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night unable to get back to slumbertown.
A good nighttime routine can help stop anxiety-related insomnia. Shut off your phone, laptop, and TV an hour before bed. Try reading a book or taking a relaxing shower with a lavender-based wash.
Go to bed at the same time each night, too. This helps your body recognize it’s time for sleep and will help you get a better night’s rest.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances
Alcohol, caffeine, and illegal drugs all affect your ability to reach the most restorative type of sleep. Even weed, if it’s legal in your state, won’t help you get a decent rest.
Substances can impact your mood in the daytime, too. Caffeine makes you jittery, alcohol can induce depressive feelings, and other drugs have similar effects. Smoking cigarettes, too, can increase your anxious feelings.
Try to phase out bad habits and replace drinks with caffeine-free alternatives to stay calm.
7. Have a Dance
Physical exercise will make you feel better as it releases a range of fun-boosting chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins into your bloodstream.
Dancing to your favorite tune is a great way to get in a few minutes of cardio exercise and boost your mood, too. Stick on your headphones, find three minutes in a quiet place, and just let go. You’ll feel great, promise.
8. Write a ‘Ta-Da List’ Every Day
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the number of things we have to do every day. So instead of trudging through a ‘To Do’ list try a ‘Ta-Da’ list instead. Gretchen Rubin, an author studying happiness for over a decade, coined this phrase on her podcast.
Instead of worrying about the things you’ve got to do, list the things you’ve achieved today. The aim is to find the small goals that you’ve managed – and to make you focus on just today. Tomorrow comes anyway, so today is where you need to be right now.
Learn More About Your Mental and Physical Health
These mental health tips are just the first steps you can take to taking back control over your stress and anxiety.
From improving your physical health to learning about the benefits of exercises like yoga, or even discovering more psychology tips, there’s so much more to learn about boosting your health.
You can always reach out to a mental health professional or your doctor if you need extra support. In the meantime, check out our other health blogs to learn more in your own time about improving your physical and mental condition.