Lifestyle Magazine

5 Steps to Improve Your Mental Health

April 14, 2022
Image by chezbeate from Pixabay

We live in an age of information overload, where content and data fight for space in our brains. Now more than ever, we must guard our minds and take charge of our mental health because we are under constant bombardment.

According to research, there are simple techniques we can use to improve our mental well-being. 

So, here are five ways to take charge of the most important asset you have, your mind, and reinforce your mental health to keep yourself from being washed away in the raging floodwaters of useless information. 

1. Connect With People 

You’re not on a quest to find your next best friend (or maybe you are…); simply enjoy connecting with people. Social connection enhances mental health. 

Social connection tends to raise one’s value and self-worth. It could be as simple as having a conversation with your neighbor or a friend in your faith community. Listen. Share. Empathize.  

When’s the last time you connected with someone? Maybe it’s time to call that friend you’ve not seen in a while and meet for coffee shop or lunch to catch up. Take the initiative; don’t wait for life to come to you.

Use technology to your advantage, too. It’s so easy to stay in touch these days through texting, video calling, or leaving an encouraging voicemail. Distance isn’t a real issue anymore. Still, do what you can to enjoy regular face-to-face interaction when possible. But make technology serve you and your needs. 

2. Learn Something New 

When you learn something new, you exercise your brain, which boosts mental health by strengthening your mind. And if you can learn something new with a friend, or in an environment where you make new friends, all the better because you add social interaction to the mix. 

Many people feel they don’t have the time or energy to learn something new. No problem. Let technology come to the rescue. Here are some ideas. 

  • Enroll in an online course. Self-education is a booming industry right now. You can find a course on just about anything.
  • Find free video tutorials online to help with that project you’ve been putting off.  
  • Enjoy cooking? What if you learned one new dish a week? There are hundreds of recipes and video tutorials at your fingertips!
  • Or try something new that takes you out of your comfort zone, like photography, watercolor painting, novel writing, or gardening.
  • Learn a new sport or physical activity like tai chi or a new exercise to try at the gym on leg day. You get the idea.

3. Be Aware

Information overload brings an avalanche of distractions. If we’re not careful, life will pass us by because we’re so busy focusing on someone else’s life that we fail to live our own. 

Practicing awareness sharpens mental well-being and boosts mood, and lowers stress levels. It’s referred to as mindfulness. Whatever you call it, slow your mind down to enjoy your life more. Let your mind breathe. 

Enjoy life’s beauty – the little things in the background you’ve been overlooking or racing past, like sunsets, birds soaring overhead, or the gentle breeze on your face. Enjoy life, for it’s happening around you every day.

Stopping the flood of information that’s assaulting your senses and slowing down your mind down to savor life relaxes you…it calms your soul and creates peace. You’ll feel happier, less anxious, and more grounded, better preparing you to face life’s challenges. 

4. Enjoy Physical Activity 

Physical activity boosts mental wellness by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Training the body, whether it’s a short 15-minute walk or riding your bike for an hour, or clangin’ and bangin’ at the gym, relieves stress and brightens mood. Choose activities you enjoy. Physical activity is something you can do to feel good immediately. Your confidence will start rising; your whole disposition will change.

When you engage in physical activity, the brain signals the central nervous system to release “feel-good hormones” called endorphins. These amazing chemicals create a positive response within your mind, brightening your mood and strengthening mental well-being while reducing feelings of pain and anxiety.

Physical activity is a powerful technique for reclaiming ownership of your mind because it strengthens your brain and sharpens cognitive performance, leading to better choices and reducing symptoms of depression. What could be better? Get out and move! You’ll be so glad you did. 

Here are some ideas to boost your mental health through physical activity: 

  • Research free activities online that match your fitness level.
  • Find places in your area where you can dance, swim, or cycle.
  • You might even find gardening clubs or dog walking groups to join.
  • If you’re dealing with a chronic health issue or disability, don’t despair because so many exercises and physical activities can be customized to meet your needs

5. Give Back

Acts of kindness, according to research, improve mental well-being. Why? Because when we help others, our brains release another “feel-good” hormone called oxytocin.

What oxytocin does is beautiful. It promotes feelings of empathy, connection, and trust. And get this: it also makes us feel calmer, happier, and more inspired to do more.

Offer your time and energy to do something for someone else; make a difference. Look for volunteering opportunities in your area, or find someone among your network of friends and contacts to help personally. Life will reward you with feeling good about yourself, valued, and appreciated.

Everyone and everything these days wants your attention, which takes a toll on mental health. Did you know that as of February 2020, 500 hours of content were uploaded to YouTube every minute? And that’s just one source of information. It’s time to take charge of what we pay attention to unlock our best life. Consider using one of the five tips we’ve offered in this article to enjoy a stronger mind today.

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