Our feelings often get pushed to the side, until they build up to a breaking point, and we explode – or implode – seemingly for no reason.
While attention to physical health is absolutely key, do not forget that overall wellness includes mental and emotional health as well. Many physical health problems can actually arise from troubled mental states; stress can lead to depression, anxiety and even cardiovascular disease. Ignoring your feelings is not the healthy way to go.
The following are ten ways to keep your mind in an optimal state of well-being.
1. Take care of your body
Eating a healthy diet filled with raw, organic fruits and veggies, plus healthy proteins and saturated fats, getting enough sleep, and daily exercise – especially in the vitamin D-infusing sunshine – are just as important for your mental health as for your physical health.
2. Accept your feelings
The first step towards change is acceptance. Even if you don’t like a certain way you feel, and wish you could feel another way, accept the way that you currently feel for what it is. Acknowledge that you are feeling this way for a reason, and express your feelings honestly.
3. Forgive yourself
Everyone makes mistakes. Recognizing these mistakes, and being able to forgive yourself for them, and let them go, is crucial to your mental health. It is important to learn from your mistakes, but not to dwell on them. You can’t change the past, but you can work towards a healthy, happy future.
4. Spend quality time with others
Finding a close support system is key to your mental well-being. Make it a point to keep in touch with family, friends and good neighbors, anyone that you trust and can confide in. If you do not have many close friends, consider joining a club or community social group, to get to know others. Humans are social creatures, and isolation can wear you down.
5. Schedule some ‘you’ time
Don’t just wait until you have free time between tasks – actually schedule yourself some free time. That way, nothing can disturb you while you are having some much-needed relaxation. Use this time to do something you love, whether it be reading a book, taking a walk, or just enjoying a cup of tea.
6. Learn a new skill
Challenging yourself to master a new skill is very rewarding for your brain. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment as you get better and better at an activity, sport or hobby that you have never tried before.
7. Be creative
Exercising your creativity can help you break out of stagnant mental patterns. Pick up a paintbrush, knitting needles, or some clay, and see what you can make. Even something as simple as making “Play-Doh” animals with your kids will work your brain in a whole new way.
8. Help others
Volunteering has been shown to release endorphins and boost overall happiness. If you do not have time to regularly volunteer, try doing something nice for someone once a day. Random acts of kindness are powerful. If you bring a delicious smoothie to work, bring one for a co-worker as well, and watch how it brightens their day, and yours. A simple compliment can also go a long way.
Numerous studies have linked meditation to lower stress, lessened depression and better health. Even if you just meditate for five minutes in the morning, and five minutes at night before bed, with time, you will feel a significantly increased sense of clarity and calm.
Try to see – and laugh at – the lighter side of life at least once a day. Even better, try to keep a positive outlook and laugh as much as you can! Whether you are joking with a friend, watching your children play, or laughing at a comedian, laughter is highly therapeutic.