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Five Steps To Improve Mental Health

July 6, 2015

There are many things we can do to improve our mental well-being, including reading a good book, spending time with family and friends, and taking a nice walk. As the old cliché goes, your mind is like a muscle, and you must exercise it in order to keep it healthy. Serious mental health issues such as depression and PTSD may require therapy or medication. However, the steps below demonstrate five great ways to improve and sustain your mental wellness. This, in turn, will help to improve your physical health and achieve your personal goals.

Grow your relationships with others:

The old adage goes, “no man is an island.” Everyone needs family or friends who care for them and look out for their best interests. Spend time growing relationships with your family, friends, neighbors, and/or colleagues. Foster and develop meaningful relationships where you feel you can talk to that person openly and ask for help if needed. It is important to have people to spend time with to reduce the chance of isolation and to talk to when you are feeling down. Plus, being with friends can be fun! Family and friends can help to brighten your spirits and decrease loneliness.

Exercise:

Any type of physical activity will help to improve your feelings of happiness. You can engage in light or heavy activity, but what’s most important, is that you try to do something every day. Exercise helps to improve your physical health, which increases feelings of wellness in general. Exercise also releases serotonin in the brain, which is your feel good hormone. Try taking a short walk, doing an exercise DVD, going to the gym, or taking a swim. No matter what you do, it can only serve to make your life better.

Learn something new:

Learning new skills helps to build your confidence and keep your mind busy. It will also give you a sense of achievement! Options include signing up for a cooking course, playing a musical instrument, or taking an interesting class at your local community college. Even reading an interesting new book is a great way to grow your mind.

Consider volunteering:

Giving to others naturally improves your mental well-being. You can do something small such as giving someone a nice compliment, holding the door open, or smiling at someone who is looking forlorn. Or you can do something large, such as volunteering at your local soup kitchen or nonprofit. Volunteering has been proven to increase happiness and also helps to build social networks.

Be present:

It can be hard not to think about all the things you need to do, what’s happening an hour from now, tomorrow, or several days from now. Our lives can become overwhelmed with to-do lists that are focused on the future. Try being more aware of the present moment and enjoying the here and now. Be aware of your thoughts, your mind and body, and the world around you and focus on becoming aware of your present. This will help you to positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

PsychCentral has some additional great tips to improve your mental health. Prevail Health also has a great online mental health program that can help you deal with any anger, sadness, or anxiety you may be experiencing. Visit iPrevail.com for more information.

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