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The Crucial Steps To Improving Your Mental Health

How you can turn your smile upside down with some simple changes to your daily routine...

Mental health describes an individual's emotional, social, and psychological well-being. The state of someone's mental health is likely to have a significant impact on their day-to-day lives, including their decisions on how to spend a weekend and how they opt to engage with peers. Therefore it is essential to care for your mental state in order to achieve happiness and satisfaction.

Additionally, mental health also affects physical health:

"For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke" - CDC

So, now that we know how important mental health is to regulate, how can that be done is the next question in need of an answer.

Luckily, if you are feeling low and came here in search of a solution, it really is a lot easier than you probably anticipate.

Learn a new skill

Through developing an initial interest in a sport, instrument, or anything further you not only occupy your spare time with something you enjoy, but it also enables you to feel a stronger sense of purpose and can help build relations with new people due to your mutual interest in that hobby.

Whenever a personal goal or achievement is met within a hobby, that person feels a sense of reward for their efforts toward improving their capabilities and consequently provides another reason to be happy that day.

"When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure. These feel-good chemicals can then make us want to do the hobby again, and feel more motivated to do so." - Neuroscience News

If money available to put into hobbies is limited, some hobbies can be completely free!

Examples of this include:

- Running

- Reading

- Writing

- Hiking

- Dancing

- Meditation

- Painting

- Photography

- Cooking

For a longer list of these cheap hobbies, check out Vital Dollar

Surround yourself with people

Engaging with others can really draw your attention away from negative thoughts through the laughter and positivity it can bring and also give you the opportunity to ask for support when needed.

Simply arranging a day out with a friend, a family trip to the beach, or a FaceTime call with your housemate while they are away can be enough to give you a boost.

Although social media such as FaceTime can be used to keep in touch with people, it is best to avoid relying solely on it to communicate as time off of screens is essential in achieving a sense of positivity.

"We’re social beings, and we are not meant to live in isolation. Community is critical for us to thrive, especially for someone with mental illness who is already experiencing the common symptoms of loneliness and isolation." - Nami

If you are in a position where you lack close friends or family, then finding people to build relationships with can be done by joining clubs relating to your interests, making an effort to contact old friends, and websites such as Omegle.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Having a healthy, balanced diet, being active on a regular basis, and spending time outdoors can all lead to having a strong mental health position. This can be quite easily achieved by keeping an eye on what you eat and cutting down on bad habits such as smoking and drinking every weekend night out.

"Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, stress, depression, and negative mood, and by improving cognitive function. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, gardening, swimming, running, and cycling, have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. One to two hours of exercise per week have been shown to reduce the risk of depression." - PennState Health

Eating a strong diet on a consistent basis also gives you a reason to be proud and brag to your friends, which although may annoy them, will definitely help you feel a sense of self-satisfaction.

Focus on the present

"If we take time to be aware of ourselves and be in the present moment, noticing our own thoughts and feelings, and the world around us, we can gain a better perspective. Sometimes this is known as being more mindful." - NHS

Being more mindful helps us understand why we feel what we feel and increases awareness of how we are feeling internally. This awareness will likely lead to us noticing any stress or anxiety we face and can help us deal with them early on before they become ongoing concerns.

Getting support

Here is a range of methods to get support if you are going through a low patch:

Phone Samaritans at 116 123 to talk to a volunteer about any burdens you are facing

Phone 111 for a mental health nurse

Phone SANEline at 0300 304 7000 for mental health support

Phone Shout at 85258 if you prefer not to talk but require help


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