5 Ways to Support Your Mental Health

mental health awareness

An important part of keeping healthy is taking care of your mental health. 

There is no magic answer for how to stop feeling depressed or anxious. But there are rituals that you can work into your everyday life to help improve your mental health and self-esteem.  

Making simple changes can make a big difference. Here are 5 practical ways to support your mental health. 

 

Ask for Help 

An important way to keep yourself mentally healthy is by acknowledging when you are not feeling ok. With many external and internal pressures affecting mental health, it is important to identify what triggers affect you.  

Identifying triggers can take some time and self-reflection. It can often be beneficial to get your thoughts off your chest by speaking to someone about it. There is no shame in asking for help. Build up a support network by speaking to your family, friends, a GP or a counsellor. They can help you take the necessary steps in managing your wellbeing. 

Mental Health disorders are common, affecting millions of people worldwide. For some, they can be debilitating, making it difficult to go about day to day life. It is important to take time to focus on your mental health with sometimes this involving taking time off from work.  

In certain situations, mental health disorders such as Anxiety may qualify you for disability. If you are struggling, it is important to know that people are willing to listen and help you get the support you need, to focus your mental health. 

 

Eat Well 

You are what you eat. Food nourishes your whole body, including your brain. By eating a nutrient-rich diet, full of fruit, whole grains, legumes, leafy greens and vegetables. We are providing the body with the fuel to produce protein-building blocks, enzymes and neurotransmitters, improving the connections between the brain and the body. 

The gut is responsible for producing the majority of the serotonin for the body and is often thought of as the second brain. Serotonin is essential as it helps to regulate sleep and stabilise mood. Keep your gut healthy by adding fermented foods to your diet. 

Processed foods, those high in saturated fats and refined sugars have proven to have a negative effect on brain proteins and decrease the healthy bacteria in the gut. With food having such an impact on your body and brain, changing your diet can be an important step in managing your mental health. 

 

Exercise 

Before and after exercise your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins. Making exercise a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety and depression.  

Not only does exercise boost your mood, but it can also help increase your self-esteem. Self-esteem is a key indicator of our mental wellbeing, as it is your self-worth and how you perceive yourself. Increasing this can improve our ability to cope with life stressors.  

While it is recommended to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day, that may not be manageable for everyone. Making minor changes, such as taking the stairs, walking to work or getting off the bus a stop early, can help to relax and clear the mind.  

Exercising outdoors in a green environment is a natural way of reducing stress and improving your mood. Also exposing us to sunlight, boosting Vitamin D levels and increasing the level of serotonin in the brain.  

 

Sleep Well 

The relationship between sleep and mood is complex. Both lack of and excessive sleep can have a big impact on your mental health, affecting energy levels, emotions as well as motivation. 

Sleep plays such a vital role in our mental wellbeing, it allows our bodies to repair themselves, and our brains to process information and consolidate our memories. Sleep deprivation has been shown to affect the psychological state, with insomnia and other sleep problems often setting the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability. 

While the amount of sleep varies between person to person, with a quality night’s sleep can help you build up your mental and emotional resilience. 

Practice Mindfulness 

Meditation has been practised by individuals from all over the world for thousands of years.  

Learning how to be mindful of the present moment teaches us to let go of negative thoughts. There are many forms of mindfulness, some include yoga, meditation, breathwork and journal writing. 

Another form of mindfulness is writing in a journal, practising gratitude. Gratitude is putting aside the negative thoughts and focusing your attention on what you are grateful for each day.  

Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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