During this tough time, it can be very depressing and difficult to take care of our mental health. Thus, general awareness is very important in today’s world so that you exactly understand what mental health is and how to take care of the same.
Before we begin, let me help you understand what mental health exactly means.
The mental health of an individual can be either good or poor. We refer to it as mental illness. Now, what is mental illness? It can be considered as a physical illness of the brain that can cause disturbances in behavior, thinking, reasoning, energy and emotions that make it difficult to cope with the simple functions of life. Many researches have started to prove the many complex causes of these diseases which includes genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure and any other mental condition such as a heart disease.
There are 7 types of mental health disorders:
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma-related disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
Out of these 7 mentioned mental health disorders, the first two are the most commonly found in the majority of people.
- Mood disorders also known as depression. This happens when you feel low on energy and motivation for days and days out, you no longer enjoy things which you loved doing earlier, you might be experiencing depression. But hey! Hang on. This is the post that will give you certain ways in which you can reduce such mental health conditions and start feeling better and even more confident.
- Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear. The excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.
Before we proceed any further, I would like to shed some light on some myths and facts on mental illness.
Myth 1: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.
Myth 2: Children don’t experience mental health problems.
Fact: Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
Myth 3: Mental health problems don’t affect me.
Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common. In 2014, about:
- 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue.
- 1 in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression.
- One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Now here comes the most important part of how and what needs to be done in order to fight mental illness and how to stay mentally healthy.
Here are the top 10 most important methods that will help you fight this out.
- Keep physically active
Physical activity could be anything, be it exercises, walking, running, aerobics, they all have a very positive impact on your mental health. Regular physical activity relieves stress and improves memory. It also helps you have better sleep and boosts your overall mood. The other fantastic thing, in this case, is you do not even need to be a fitness fanatic to reap those amazing benefits. Even a small amount of exercise can make a huge difference to someone who is struggling with their mental health. No matter your age or your level of fitness, you can use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.
2. Stay socially active
We are social animals as they say; right? We also know that since ages, our ability to stay social has helped us stay alive, survive and strive for millions of years. Even the most introverted among us crave social contact from time to time. But why is that, and does being social bring us any actual health benefits?
Researchers have suggested that humans are innately compassionate beings, and that our compassion and empathy have served us well — since the capacity to care and share is highly valued by individuals looking for a mate.
Hence, in order to maintain our mental health, it is very important for us to stay connected with our friends and family. They say face-to-face contact is like a vaccine. They have a strong impact on one’s mental health, keep it engaged and think that there is always someone to look out for us.
“Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply […] shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress.”Susan Pinker
3. Eat healthy
Research shows that a nutritious diet is not just good for the body but for the brain too. Recent studies have shown “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. Eating a proper diet not just keeps our body healthy and fit, but also keeps our brain charged up and functioning well.
There is also a very strong link between what we eat and how we feel, for example caffeine can have an immediate effect on our brain to keep us active for a period of time.
A healthy balanced diet for your mental health compromises of the following items:
- Oily fish
- Whole grains
- Leafy greens
4. Stay hydrated
Each and every organ in our body requires water to thrive and our brain is no exception. Infact, about 75% of our brain tissues are made with water. However, research says that dehydration can cause depression and anxiety because mental health is driven primarily by your brain’s activity. In short, dehydration causes the brain function to slow down and not function properly.
Now you must be wondering how can I tell if you are dehydrated? Well there are certain signs that show that you are lacking water in your body. Those signs are:
- Increased hunger
- Fatigue in muscles and cramps
- Bad breath
- Rapid heartbeats
Well, this criteria depends on your overall health, age, physical fitness and many other factors. There is not an exact figure that you need to follow. But roughly you need 3.7 litres of fluids for men and 2.7 litres of fluids for women.
5. Speak your heart out
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Try speaking your heart to your close ones so that you feel light in your heart. This is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you care about your mental state and are doing everything you can to keep it healthy.
Speaking about your problems can be a very important way to cope with your heaviness that you are carrying in your mind for a long time and once you start a conversation with someone, you immediately start to feel better and light in your mind and heart.
6. Ask for help
Well, everyone has their limitations and no one has the capacity to do everything on their own. There is always a chance that you might need the help of someone in order to get the work done. There is no shame in asking for help.
Superhumans are only in fiction movies and not in real life. Sometimes things can get overwhelming and you can’t cope with it, ask for help. What this will do is it will release the stress from your mind and heart about doing everything on your own with a chance of failing.
When you seek someone’s help, you indirectly mean that you trust the other person and a sense of confidence and support will be generated between the two of you.
7. Follow your passion
Doing something you really love to do as a hobby can be a real stress buster. It can certainly help you lift your moods up. Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.
Concentrating on a hobby like gardening or the crossword can help you forget your worries for a while and change your mood.
When you follow your passion, you dive deep into it and then you do not have any more room for negative thoughts to penetrate your minds and hamper your inner peace.
8. Take a break
When you get lost in your work or feel frustrated that something isn’t going well, you can neglect breaks.
Here are some tips to prompt you to regularly step away and rebuild your energy.
- Agree break times with your peers and help each other to stick to the break time you’ve agreed.
- Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you.
- Plan to do something in your break that you enjoy – the anticipation of pleasure will motivate you to keep to the break.
- Pay attention to any benefits you experience when you take a break – this will lodge in your mind and motivate you to take breaks in future.
- Use post-it notes or drawings in your workspace to remind you that a PGR project is a long-term piece of work – you won’t complete it well if you burn yourself out: so, take a break.
9. Care for others
When you care for your friends and family you develop a sense of bond between you and the other person. This in turn helps reduce the stress on your mental state and keeps your mind happy.
10. Accept who you are
Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, 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.
Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
So to wrap it up, we are human beings after all and we have our own share of health and mental issues which need to be addressed. Now we tend to address them with various tips and tricks. Hence, these were some of the ways you can take care of your mental health and stay happy.
I shall come up with another blog soon which I hope will be as useful as this one and you keep loving my content. Thank you!