Improving Your Mental Health
Mental health is the way in which we think, feel, act, and interact with others and our environment in our everyday lives. Mental health is deeply connected with our physical health. When one declines, we often notice that the other is impacted. The state of our mental health can be measured by how easily we are able to adapt to reasonable challenges and changes that come our way. When our mental health is in a good state, we find that adapting is fairly easy to do and we are able to remain productive in the face of challenges. When our mental health is in a poor state, we struggle to adapt to life’s challenges and often find ourselves unable to function at a desired level. We might notice that we’re unable to complete daily tasks such as chores around the house. Our work and/or school performance may suffer. We may notice that we’re not socializing with others and are more prone to isolating ourselves. While mental health challenges may require professional assistance in order to treat, there are proactive measures we can take to improve our mental health on a daily basis.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Remember that thirty minute run you went on the other day? Imagine spending 30 minutes entirely devoted to improving your mental health. Physical health often gets more attention than our mental health. While physical exercise can greatly impact and improve our mental well-being, devoting specific time to improving our mental health is monumental. Identifying activities that improve your mental health (i.e. meditation, practicing affirmations, journaling) and scheduling intentional time to that activity can make a huge difference.
Check-in With Yourself
We get so caught up with our day to day tasks that we are prone to forgetting to check-in about our emotional health. A check-in could be as simple as asking yourself how you’re feeling or using an emotion chart to determine your emotional state. Mood tracker apps abound online which can be downloaded to track your mood at different intervals of time. Long term mood changes or trends are more easily detected with the use of a mood tracker.
Be Kind to Yourself
After all, at the end of the day, you can be your harshest critic or your biggest cheerleader, it’s up to you to decide. A way to practice kindness towards self is to think about how you would treat a close friend if they were in your same situation. What words would you use to speak to them? What tone would you convey? If this friend were feeling down, how would you encourage and lift them up? Identify these words and start incorporating them into your own inner dialogue.
Notice yourself often worrying about the future or fretting about the past? Being consumed by thoughts that things won’t work out the way you want them to or regretting mistakes you previously made? Shift your focus to the present by engaging in mindfulness. Some mindfulness activities to explore include guided meditation, deep breathing, eating mindfully, and progressive muscle relaxation.
“Health is wealth”, a mantra Jessica’s mother regularly repeated throughout her childhood. Jessica values achieving balance and wholeness in both arenas of mental and physical health. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a practicing mental health therapist, Jessica promotes healthy living, self-care, mindfulness, and above all, kindness towards self.