Mental health issues can always be a struggle, especially when maintaining recovery from addiction, and it’s important to note that you aren’t helpless against the chemical problems in your brain. Building strong coping mechanisms and skills to improve your mindset are important stepping stones to a happy and fulfilling life. We know how important self-care is. Having mental health challenges is as the same as well as our overall medical health and well being.
Here are some things that you can do every day to improve your mental health…
Pay Attention to Your Diet
A healthy diet doesn’t just offer benefits for your physical health—it can help you psychologically, as well. No diet can cure your mental problems, but according to ongoing research, certain foods can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many scientists believe, for example, that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and tuna can improve brain health.
The complex carbohydrates found in whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat pasta, meanwhile, help the body release serotonin. And dark chocolate has been lauded for years for its ability to help the body release serotonin and relax the blood vessels. Eating regularly and never skipping meals will also help you to keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing mood swings. If you find yourself eating too much sugar, here are some sugar free snack ideas for you and your family to help you.
Get Regular Exercise
While on the subject of creating a routine, it’s a good idea to build some exercise into that routine, even if it’s just a little exercise to get that heart rate up a few times a week. Exercise temporarily raises endorphin levels in the body, making it an instant mood booster.
And because of the way that your body and its hormones respond to stress during exercise, regular exercise over time can actually increase your body’s overall resistance to stress. And as if that weren’t enough, exercise, of course, has the added benefit of improving and strengthening your overall physique, which is a sure way to build self-confidence.
Spend Time with Animals
Even if you don’t feel ready to have a pet of your own, you can spend time with a friend or family member’s pet, or visit your local animal shelter, for a natural boost in mood. Animals have a way of showing pure, unconditional love, which could be exactly what a person with mental health problems needs. In addition, a pet can give a person something to wake up for, something to build a routine around, and a companion to depend on. Pets are actually proven scientifically to relieve tension and improve mood.
Make a Routine
Mental health problems have a way of taking structure out of our lives, causing one day to blend into the next. Creating a routine that includes ample amounts of sleep, and making it a habit to stick to it. can keep you on track and give meaning to each and every day.
Plan a Time to Get Away
Even if you don’t have the resources to take time off of work and go out of town for a vacation (which, by the way, could offer just the break you need to relieve stress), simply planning a vacation will raise your spirits significantly. According to a study published the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life back in 2010, the largest boost in happiness surrounding vacations actually comes from the simple act of planning the vacation.
So grab a friend and plan an imaginary trip together. And if it seems doable in the near future, go ahead and make it a financial goal to save up for that vacation. Setting goals, after all, is in itself another way to give yourself something to look forward to and naturally heal your mental health.
This is much easier said than done, but there is something about getting in touch with your authentic self that builds your self-confidence and boosts mood levels. Try to confide in friends and family members on a regular basis, or try writing in a journal regularly to get your thoughts out on paper.
You might also try meditating, which can help you to track your thought patterns and spend much-needed time clearing your mind of all the everyday stress it is exposed to.
Enjoy the Sunlight
It’s true—spending time in the sun actually aids in serotonin production and leads to a better mood. Make it a point to spend some time each day in the sun, especially during the winter months when serotonin levels are especially low.
In addition, you might consider letting more sunshine stream in through your windows so that you can enjoy the benefits of sunlight even while indoors.