World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. Each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide. The day celebrates awareness for the global community in an empathetic way, with a unifying voice, helping people feel hopeful by empowering them to take action and create lasting change.
As I reflect on this, I immediately go to my thinking, my mental health. I realize that it all starts within me. I make it a practice to self talk in a way that is encouraging, uplifting and motivating. I am usually optimistic, positive and happy because I do things that build me up – right thinking, proper exercise, healthy nutrition. I read and listen to articles, books, music and talks that increase my confidence, nourish me, inspire me, strengthen and improve my overall well being (body/mind/spirit). Yes it takes commitment of time, energy, consistence, and persistence. If it is important to you, you find a way to make it happen. However, I know that not everyone thinks they can do this alone. Know that there is help available when you need it.
The below information is from an article in Psychology Today that I believe you will find helpful. Mental health is not just a diagnosis. It’s your overall psychological well-being – the way you feel about yourself and others and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties. And while taking care of your mental health can mean seeking professional support and treatment, it also means taking steps to improve your emotional health on your own. Making these changes will pay off in all aspects of your life. It can boost your mood, build resilience, and add to your overall enjoyment of life:
9 Ways You Can Improve your Mental Health Today
Tell yourself something positive. Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
Write down something you are grateful for. Gratitude has been clearly linked with improved well-being and mental health, as well as happiness. The best-researched method to increase feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list. Find something to be grateful for, let it fill your heart, and bask in that feeling.
Focus on one thing (in the moment). Being mindful of the present moment allows us to let go of negative or difficult emotions from past experiences that weigh us down. When your mind wanders, just bring it back to what you are doing.
Exercise. Your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins before and after you work out, which is why exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and try to do it outdoors. Time in nature is a proven stress reducer.
Eat a good meal. What you eat nourishes your whole body, including your brain. Carbohydrates (in moderation) increase serotonin, which has a calming effect on your mood. Protein-rich foods increase norepinephrine, dopamine, and tyrosine, which help keep you alert. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients that feed every cell. Include foods with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed.) Research shows that these nutrients can improve mood and restore structural integrity to the brain cells.
Open up to someone. Knowing you are valued by others is important for helping you think more positively. Plus, being more trusting increases your emotional well-being. As you learn about the positive aspects in other people, you become better at recognizing your own.
Do something for someone else. Research shows that being helpful to others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. Being helpful and kind—and valued for what you do—is a great way to build self-esteem.
Take a break. In those moments when it all seems like too much, step away. Sometimes the best thing to do is a simple breathing exercise: Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. For each one, count to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then exhale for another four. This works wonders almost immediately.
Go to bed on time. Research has shown that sleep deprivation has a significant negative effect on your mood. Try to go to bed at a regular time each day, and practice good habits to get better sleep. These include shutting down screens for at least an hour before bed, using your bed only for sleep or relaxing activities, and restricting caffeinated drinks for the morning.
Start today. You have the power to take positive steps right now to improve your resilience and emotional health. Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis to make your mental health a priority. It is easier to form new habits when you are feeling strong. You can then implement those habits when you need them most. Pick something from this article that resonates with you and try it. Then, try something else. Slowly putting in place routines, habits, and regular patterns will help you feel better through gradual change.