5 Tips to Improve your Mental Health
Simple things that can change your life
1. Take a walk in nature
There is something that happens to our body and mind when we take a walk in nature. The fresh air that we breathe, the beauty that we see, the rustling that we hear, the wind, sunshine or cold that we feel — they all wake our senses up.
This creates a welcome break or distraction from our worrying and gives us an opportunity to pause and reset our thought process, if we want to. A walk in the sun or nature releases serotonin in your body, which helps elevate your mood immediately. A mindful walk a day, keeps worries at bay.
2. Practice gratitude
When we are in the middle of a storm, it seems like we are never going to get out of it. Our brains, which are hardwired with negativity bias, prevent us from looking at the good around us. We are therefore entrenched in a vicious circle of worries, depression and negativity.
The solution is not necessarily to be positive at all times. It is to practice gratitude. It is to take a step back from our miseries and objectively look at what we have in our lives that we should be grateful for.
This balance will help improve your mental health, give you hope even when it looks like there is nothing to be hopeful about. In the least, it will put you in a good mood for a few minutes a day and that is worth something, isn’t it? It doesn’t hurt that practising gratitude regularly releases dopamine in your body, which is very important for good mental health.
3. Eat at least one healthy meal a day
In the South Indian culture, we have a saying that goes like this — you are what you put in your body. There is a reason that our gut is called our second brain and is the headquarters of our immune system. If we want our mind to be healthy, fresh and energetic, our body has to feel these things first.
So eating healthy food — especially fruits, vegetables and protein (plant-based is good too) — and keeping our gut functioning well is one of the key elements to improving our mental health. So it can never hurt to start by eating at least one healthy meal a day and build up from there.
4. Call a friend or family member every week
Speaking your mind, especially to someone you know who loves you (especially if that someone is also non judgmental — that is a tall ask, I know) can really help you clear your thoughts. Healthy relationships and the good feelings that come with them help release oxytocin in your body, thereby improving your mental health.
It can be a good stress releaser. It can even help you realise that you are not alone — both in the sense of having support as well as in the sense of not being the only person with the troubles you have.
5. Take up a hobby
Pursuing any hobby, especially one that involves creative energy is a great form of therapy. Art, in particular, is a great tool to handle anxiety and improve your mental health. I’m sure you have been told this a lot. What you may not have been told is that you don’t have to go be good at a hobby to begin with for it to work. You can be absolute crap and it can still help you immensely to handle your anxiety.