There are various routes to improve mental health and wellbeing. In our previous blog post “Alternative Treatments for Depression” we have mentioned some examples of alternative treatments for depression. Some of the treatments include things like herbal supplements, acupuncture, reflexology, exercise, meditation/breathwork, reiki, massage, guided imagery, and yoga. No alternative treatment claims to fully cure depression. However, neither do Western medicines. Sometimes it’s about finding that perfect combination for your specific brain structure and physiology. Below we will explore some of the various steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
How Can I Improve My Mental Health?
10 tips for improving mental health.
1. Talk about your feelings
Talking about feelings can feel uncomfortable. However, it is important to remember that talking about feelings is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is an act of helping improve your wellbeing. Expressing feelings helps us cope with stressors which can greatly benefit mental health. Getting engaged with a therapist is also a great tool to become more adept at how best to discuss feelings with others.
2. Stay active
Exercise helps release the “happy” chemical in the brain, dopamine. Engaging in regular exercise has been shown to increase levels of dopamine and its receptors within the brain. Being physically active can also help boost self-esteem, improve sleep, concentration and is effective at battling depressive symptoms. Along with keeping your body healthy, exercise can also provide a great opportunity to engage in social interactions which is beneficial for mental health.
3. Eat well
Having a balanced diet with a mix of nutrients benefits both physical and mental health. A balanced diet includes eating 3 meals a day with a variety of foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals and bread, nuts and seeds, dairy, and fish oils.
4. Drink sensibly
Limiting alcohol consumption is important for mental health as well. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs might provide a short-term boost. However, the after-effects can leave you feeling worse and can also lead to substance abuse problems. Drugs and alcohol are not beneficial ways to deal with difficult feelings. Are you struggling with substance abuse? If so, speaking with your doctor and discussing the best next steps and or finding a rehabilitation center that best fits your needs is a good step towards improving overall mental health.
5. Keep in touch
Keeping in touch with friends and family members helps you feel connected with others. Friends and family can provide relaxation and are important social supports. Feeling a sense of community is also beneficial towards mental health. However, if you feel someone is damaging your mental health it is OK to take a break or end unhealthy relationships. Instead, focus on the more positive relationships in your life.
6. Ask for help
We all can get tired and overwhelmed with feelings. This is especially true when things seem to be going wrong in our lives. Reaching out to your medical provider, therapist, or family and friends is an important step in bettering your mental health. Your therapist might be able to direct you to community support groups so you can engage and relate with others who are dealing with similar things.
7. Take a break
Taking a break from cleaning, working, playing a sport, or doing homework, etc. is helpful for mental health. Having a balance of relaxation is important. If you refuse to listen to your body and rest when you feel tired, it is easy to overwork yourself and become burnt out. Some great relaxation activities to try include yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi.
8. Do something you’re good at
Carving out time for hobbies and activities we enjoy helps clear the mind from worry and stress. Think about hobbies you enjoyed in the past or activities you wished you tried. Some examples could include picking up your old instrument, learning a new instrument, making art, gardening, playing sports, or reading a book.
9. Accept who you are
Be proud of who you are and focus on recognizing your strengths instead of focusing on the negatives. Engaging in positive self-talk helps boost self-esteem and mental health.
“Some of us make people laugh, some are good at math, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends.” -Mental Health Foundation
10. Care for others
Volunteer and help others facilitate building a sense of community and belonging. Feeling like you belong to a group and can help achieve a common goal gives you reasons to engage with others and complete tasks. This community engagement and involvement can be a tremendous benefit to our overall mental health.
Additional Reading: Alternative Treatments for Depression
TMS Institute of Great Plains Mental Health
Paula Whittle, PMHNP, and Dr. James Sorrell believe that mental health should be considered as a primary driver for one’s overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally. At TMS Institute of GPMH, we want to make sure your connection to the world you live in is addressed – to change the order to … SPIRIT, MIND, and BODY. As a result, we believe when people are treated in this order they feel better, more at peace, and much stronger to face life’s challenges. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy), the most advanced form of depression treatment, offers us the ability to enhance our patient outcomes following our philosophy of a holistic approach to treating mental health conditions.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.