Mental health conditions are treatable illnesses that are part of everyday life. These include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addiction.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 450 million people suffer from mental health conditions worldwide. Unfortunately, most countries provide limited to no access to care.
In addition, mental illnesses impact how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Each year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction. That’s about 5% of the population. Imagine if 5% of Canadians suddenly lost their sight or hearing.
This shows how important it is to understand mental health and treat it with the same care we treat physical health.
In this article, I will describe 9 effective ways to improve mental health. So, let’s dive in.
Why is Mental Health Important?
Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability globally, affecting more than 450 million people. In the U.S., 19.5% of American adults experience mental illness in a given year, and 38% have had a mental health condition at some point.
Being able to talk about mental health shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a given. There shouldn’t be a stigma around something as essential as mental health; it impacts how we can live more than we realize. It’s scary to think of all the people suffering in silence, and it’s truly devastating to think that perhaps no one is even asking them, “how are you?”.
I want to say that talking about mental health will not bring about the end of days (or maybe it will… but only if you believe it will). Mental health has nothing to do with being weak and everything to do with being human. Having a “bad day” is okay because having bad days does not mean you are mentally ill.
1. Staying Positive.
Positive thinking goes a long way in enhancing our mental health. When you’re happy about your goals, you’re more inclined to work towards them. Maybe it’s something as simple as having a good day at work or making a friend you’ve wanted to meet. Focusing on the positives will help you get there.
When life seems so challenging, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and think you have nothing to be happy about. But in reality, there are many reasons to stay positive and improve your life and mental health.
There are two main reasons why positive thinking helps to fight mental health issues:
- It lowers stress and anxiety levels.
- It keeps your mind clear and focused.
It is hard to stay positive when you are anxious or feel overwhelmed. This can cause you to feel distracted and less productive, which makes it even more challenging to stay positive. It’s a cycle in which negative thinking puts you in a bad mood, prompting you to be anxious or depressed.
Positive thinking gives you a sense of control over your thoughts and emotions, which helps to keep you grounded and focused on the positive aspects of your life.
2. Practising Gratitude
Gratitude has a positive impact on our mental health. And yet, gratitude sometimes gets a bad rap. People are often quick to say that gratitude is not helpful or that it’s just another feel-good word.
Why should you practice gratitude to improve mental health? Research shows practising gratitude has a lot of health benefits, including improving your mental health.
In a recent study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a group of researchers led by Dr Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, found that people who keep a gratitude journal regularly are more optimistic and feel better about their lives.
The researchers conducted a series of studies to determine how people who kept a gratitude journal felt compared to how they were before they started the practice.
In one study, the participants completed three different surveys. The first survey assessed their level of gratitude, the second showed how much they enjoyed their life and overall happiness, and the third considered problem-solving abilities.
This can be tangible things you’re grateful for, or it could just be a realization you made. Focusing on being positive and grateful is essential if you want to change your mental outlook.
3. Taking Care of Your Physical Health
People living in the circumstances like this are more likely to suffer from mood disorders. People in these circumstances are less likely to be around positive role models.
We know that people living in these circumstances are less likely to have the tools they need to navigate the world around them.
If you’re willing to take care of your physical health, why wouldn’t you want to improve your mental health? And, to improve your mental health, one of those fundamental things is exercise.
While today’s kids might not be running up and down their neighbourhood streets, many attend school and participate in more organized team sports.
So, instead of buying dad a subscription to his favourite online streaming service for Father’s Day, consider an annual membership at a local gym or a yearly season pass at a local track or field facility.
4. Connecting With Others
Jane Roe, an American psychiatric researcher, asked, “When is nothing wrong with you?” Jane was right. Social isolation contributes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, depression, anxiety and suicide risk. Now, more than ever, we must strengthen our relationships.
For many people, reaching out is hard, but it can be even more complicated for those with mental health problems. But connecting with others is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. It can be life-changing.
The human need to connect with others has been well documented — some say it has been ingrained in our DNA and dates back thousands of years.
Connecting is about helping other people and making them feel happier. I believe it is crucial because it leads to greater productivity and creativity, better relationships, reduced depression and anxiety symptoms, less loneliness, and healthier habits.
When we look at our happiness, 85% is based on joy derived from social relationships. We must invest time in our friends, family, colleagues and communities.
5. Developing Coping Skills
For many, mental health means more than merely “feeling good.” It also involves understanding why we feel good. The need for coping skills is personal and universal, as it can make all the difference between living life fully and living in bondage to one’s mental health. These coping skills include self-awareness, environmental awareness, positive action plans, self-talk, and relaxation.
Everyone experiences ups and downs, good days and bad days. If you’re feeling down or depressed, talking to someone can help. You can contact Online-Therapy by speaking to a health professional or calling a mental health helpline.
We all have moments of extreme stress, emotional instability, and pain, but fortunately, we all have ways to deal with them. While some people turn to medication and therapy, others find calming help in meditation, a practice that can be incredibly helpful in dealing with mental health care.
In our society, the sacredness of the mind is normally taken for granted by most of us. Meditation is a viral activity, but for many people, the party does not understand the purpose of meditation, many people do not understand the meaning of meditation.
The broader public on the propaganda concept of quieting, purification and equilibrium of mind by negative ideas and feelings, but in reality, why should you have meditation? It strengthens our capacity to be aware of our situation and what’s happening around us.
Meditation is not just for monks and yogis. It helps us deal with the stress and anxiety of the modern world—and it’s something we should all take time out to do.
Meditation, a practice that dates back thousands of years, has gone through a resurgence in recent years, thanks to the likes of Oprah Winfrey, who declared it her favourite thing, and celebrities from Gwyneth Paltrow to Russell Brand, who extoll its benefits.
7. Relaxation Techniques
Mental health is an essential factor in overall well-being and health. Mental health is an aspect of complete physical and psychological well-being.
If you suffer from mental health issues, you may have found very few conventional courses of treatment available. However, you can use several relaxation techniques to help treat anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
Relaxation techniques are some of the best ways to practice better mental health because they fast track to mental peace. With so many products promising to help our mental health, finding an effective and easy technique can be challenging.
8. Don’t Skimp on Sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a widespread problem nowadays. A lot of people have sleep problems. According to the statistics, it is said that 70 % of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation.
The statistics also show that over 4 in 10 adults do not get enough sleep. While some people suffer from insomnia, others are sleeping too much. However, it is all connected as well.
A lack of sleep seems to lead to anxiety and depression while sleeping too much leads to a lack of energy.
That is why taking care of your mental health during the day is important if you have a sleep disorder.
You need to watch what you eat and drink to improve your mental health. Some research suggests that the food we eat and drinks affect our health in many ways. The same goes for insomnia and sleeping disorders.
9. Make Leisure and Contemplation a Priority.
Make leisure and contemplation a priority to improve mental health. Many people are working a lot and feeling stress and pressure.
An example is a Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, which is caused by great mental stress and pressure.
On the other hand, if you are motivated, or if you can burn off all of your stress, it will improve your overall well-being.
Like most people, you likely spend most of your day doing things for others. For example, at work, you’re there to meet the needs of your manager, colleagues, clients and customers.
At home, you’re focused on your family. Even free time often involves paying for some sort of service to others. It can be hard to remember that taking care of yourself is essential too.
The problem is that many people who don’t make leisure and contemplation a priority suffer from poor mental health. They’ll frequently feel stressed and depressed or may be more prone to substance abuse and addiction. So what’s the solution? First, it’s important to recognize that it’s not easy to carve out your time.
There are so many competing priorities in life (work, family, friends, etc.) that cutting out time for leisure and contemplation takes real effort and commitment. But it’s well worth it.
It seems that in our world, although we try to make leisure time for ourselves, we still feel tired. This value of time is not the same as the value of money.
How Do You Get Affordable Mental Health Care?
We are speaking more often about mental illnesses such as stress, anxiety and depression, but that doesn’t mean therapy is more accessible. Many people aren’t able to go to treatment because they aren’t able to pay.
The current cost of mental health care in the U.S. is $148 billion annually. Of that, insurance companies pay $70 billion. So why do we have such high costs for a problem that affects one in four people in the U.S.?
In short, the problem comes down to how the current system has been set up by decades of healthcare policies. Even though public opinion has shifted towards mental health care, we still lack an adequate plan to provide it on a large scale.
Mental health care can cost around $200 per session, the average therapy session. But the good news is that there’s a way to get affordable mental health care. Book an appointment at Online Therapy and get reasonable mental health care at home.