Mental health should not be taboo. Everyone has thoughts and feelings and sometimes they don’t feel good. That’s normal and HUMAN. Although some mental health conditions can be severe and need long-term medical treatment – many common struggles can be aided in non-medical ways. With anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide rates at all-time highs – everyone should be caring for their mental health with the same level of care that we give to other things. Our minds are important, and these concepts are important for ALL ages. Parents, what a great time to talk about these things with your kids. Both you and your children can benefit and grow mentally healthier together.
There is no shame in seeking professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist. They are professionals who can provide life-changing help; don’t hesitate to seek them out if you or someone who cares about you thinks you should. Below are some simple and effective tips to help you feel better.
According to BrainMD drinking water improves concentration and cognition, helps balance moods and emotions, helps memory, and reduces stress. A study in 2018 of over 3000 adults found that the more water a person drinks, the less likely they are to have depression or anxiety. Well, that’s an easy fix, drink up!
What’s Your Thought Life Like?
Our thought life is the collection of all the thoughts we have day in and day out. Some people might have a lot of good, positive, beautiful thoughts in their head. Others struggle with thoughts of fear, anxiety, unworthiness, and dissatisfaction, just to name a few. So much of what we feel comes from what we’re thinking. And what we’re thinking, isn’t necessarily accurate or real. Be mindful of your thoughts. They’re shaping you.
Know Your Cognitive Distortions
“When your brain lies to you.” Cognitive distortions, sometimes called “stinking thinking” often goes hand in hand with depression, anxiety and relationship problems. Examples of these are: black and white thinking (all or nothing), discounting the positive (only the negative counts), should statements (I should do this and she shouldn’t do that) and mind-reading (thinking you know what the other person is thinking) are just a few. I urge you to learn the cognitive distortions and call them out when you experience them. Learn more about cognitive distortions and how to fight them.
There is significant scientific evidence that physical exercise alleviates anxiety, depression, and improves low self-esteem and cognitive function. HelpGuide, an online resource for mental health and wellness, says exercise “can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication”. It goes on to say “Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.” What more reasons do we need to get moving?
Spend Time in Nature
I once heard that the sound of leaves in the breeze acts like medicine. I can’t recall the source of that info, but I’m standing by it due to my own experiences. There is scientific evidence that being in forests, green spaces, or around trees is beneficial to mental health, but it seems there’s not a consensus on why. Personally, I love spending time around trees, and listening to the wind blow the leaves is one of my favorite parts. I love meditating or relaxing under a tree and listening to that beautiful sound. I even have a favorite YouTube video of that sound that I listen to when I’m not able to get to the woods.
Stop and just BE. Our lives are so busy, non-stop. Often when the action stops, our mind starts up – and runs. Meditation might sound scary, but it’s really simple. Just sit and be. In it’s simplest form, meditation is quieting the mind – giving it a rest. It’s also a connecting of the mind and body. It isn’t easy – it’s something that is practiced. As you do it more, it becomes more comfortable and the benefits increase. The Calm App got me into meditation but there are many great apps and online videos of guided meditations that can help get you started.
Sometimes when we’re sad or stressed we treat ourselves by eating something that isn’t the healthiest. Unfortunately, it’s not just unhealthy for our bodies, it’s also unhealthy for our minds. Sugar can increase depression, anxiety and even impair learning and memory! A healthy diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains helps keep your blood sugar level and your moods stable.
What healthy things make you feel good?