Mental health has been the talk of the town lately. Even when people know the importance and necessity of having good mental health, it is still ignored by most.
Being a life coach, I’m visited by numerous clients, some young, some old, but all come with bad mental health. They often complain about how they remain stressed and anxious most of the day.
I won’t deny but today’s lifestyle has a big role to play in this decline in mental health. We are living in a very fast-paced world. We’re all in a hurry to overtake and reach someplace unknown.
Do you know where we’re heading to? Do you know what you’re rushing for? Because if you know, that’s great. But, while most of you don’t even know what you’re stressing for, you’re doing nothing but torturing yourself.
Take a moment of solace in life. Find yourself and acknowledge what’s there around you.
Almost every one of us has created chaos in our mental health due to stress. I’m visited by young children who are just in their 20’s and are tired of life. I even meet people in their 30’s who don’t want to work and feel like going away also ever.
It amazes me to see how people are still young but too busy to embrace the amazing gift of life.
Mental health is as important as our physical health. We can work out each day, socialize, eat healthily, but if we’re not content mentally, nothing’s going to work. People often think they have a perfect lifestyle, yet they get sick often or do not find happiness.
It is because everything starts in your mind. If you do everything well, but think negatively most of the day, then that negativity will show up in your lifestyle and health.
How stress impacts your mental health?
One of the most crucial factors that I believe disrupt anyone’s good mental health is the habit of continuously stressing about things. Many people do not even for a second stop their minds from stressing.
I remember one of my clients said, “ I am so habitual of stressing over things that when I have nothing to stress about, I think about one specific thing that I should stress about.”
People today think that stressing is a part of life but feel anxious when they have nothing to stress about.
Once there was a psychology teacher. She was walking around the stage before starting the lecture. She stood in the middle of the auditorium to start a lecture on stress management.
She took a glass of water which was half-filled. As she raised the glass of water, students started discussing how she would ask the typical ‘glass empty or glass full’ question.
However, with a smile on her face, she asked, ‘How heavy is the glass of water that I’m holding?’
Everyone started wild guesses. Students shouted answers from some ounces to few pounds.
The teacher, however, replied, ‘ From the perspective that I see, the absolute weight of the glass doesn’t matter.’ Everyone was baffled and wondered what she was trying to explain.
She further said, “ The weight of the glass depends on how long I hold the glass. If I hold it for a minute or a few seconds, it’ll weigh nothing. But, if I hold it for an hour straight, its weight will make my arm ache. Moreover, if I hold the glass a day straight, my arm might cramp up, or it might start feeling numb or paralyzed, and I’ll have to drop the glass to the floor.
You see, in each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
Everyone instantly agreed to her point. She continued saying, “ Our stresses and worries in life are exactly like this glass of water. It does not affect us the second it develops in our minds. We can think about our worries for a while, and nothing will happen. If we think about them a bit longer, our heads might start aching a bit. But, if you stress the entire day or keep those worries all day long, you’ll start feeling numb and zoned out.
The only way you can get over this numbness is by dropping your stresses. The professor taught a life-changing lesson with a simple life example.
Now that you know what stress does to you and your mental health, it’s time we learn to create good mental health.
How to improve mental health?
There are many ways of improving mental health. However, the primary thing is to maintain a mindset to change. I have seen in so many people that they lack the motivation to improve themselves.
One of the main reasons for this is that most people do not even accept that there’s anything wrong with them. People either do not acknowledge their stressed condition or believe it is a part of life.
As I already said, many people have made stress and anxiety a lifestyle. They feel uncertain when they aren’t anxious. It is very adversely affecting their mental health.
Let us first learn some easy ways in which you can improve your mental health with no extra effort.
5 ways for a good mental mental
- Physical Exercise
You might not even realize how beneficial physical exercise is for your mental health. We all know the many benefits of exercising and how it improves our physical condition and helps fight diseases. But, many people do not know how exercise also improves your mental health.
If you already do some physical exercise, that’s great. But, if you don’t, then even a regular walk can help. In fact, many doctors ask depression patients to include physical activity in their routine. It might not be the cure but can help to a great extent.
Moreover, physical activity reduces the urge to drink alcohol or other substance abuse. Just five minutes of aerobic activity can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
I personally feel regular exercise also helps in improving self-esteem. When you work out or play a sport, you feel more confident and less bad about yourself.
Now, the first thing you need to do is include any physical activity in your routine. A few minutes of your busy day are enough to keep you going.
- Healthy Eating Habits
There is an old saying, ‘What you eat is what you become.’ I have always followed this psychology. A person’s eating habits and diet play a crucial role in their development.
The type of food we eat, we inculcate its quality. For instance, eating very heavy and spicy junk food makes you more anguish and arrogant. On the contrary, eating simple and light food like basic ‘Daal and Rice’ makes our mind simple and clear.
Your nutritional choices should be right as they have an impact on your mental health. Poor health and unhealthy eating play a significant role in the increasing mental health problems.
Today, children live away from their parents and mostly rely on outside food, packaged food, or frozen foods. It has been proven in research that such foods do not provide adequate nutrition. They even contain more saturated fats and sugars that can affect the proper functioning of the brain.
Always remember, what you put on your plate becomes the raw material for our brains. A simple connection can be seen in our sleeping habits. Some food items prevent us from getting adequate sleep that further affects our mental health.
Similarly, our moods and behaviors throughout the day depending on the food we eat. Vitamin deficiencies are also a common cause of depression. They can also cause mood swings, anxiety, and agitation.
Switching to healthy eating is the easiest and the most difficult thing to improve mental health. You should include healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Include more proteins and fatty acids like nuts, seeds, and eggs.
You should prefer eating simple homecooked food and preferably fresh food instead of packaged foods.
- Learn to value yourself
One thing that I’ve seen mostly in younger people is that they do not value themselves. People will treat you badly always. But, what’s the point if even you are harsh on yourself?
If you want to improve your mental health, you need to be kind to yourself. People today burn out their bodies while hustling. Bullying is yet another reason why people do not value themselves.
Most people disrupt their mental health by trying to please society. Social media and movies have set a different standard of beauty and fitness. When normal people are unable to attain or reach those standards, they start hating their bodies and looks.
Many young girls come and complain about how they do not feel confident in their skin because society has a different beauty standard. Such thoughts might seem small initially, but soon they eat up minds and affect our mental health badly.
If you want to improve your mental health, then treat yourself with kindness, love, and respect. You should avoid self-criticism and criticism from society. You can do this by taking out time for the things you love. Make time for your hobbies and favorite crafts. You may even learn new skills like dance, playing an instrument, baking, or anything that makes you more confident in your skill.
- Give up alcohol and other abuses
If we see today’s scenario, people work for five days, get super-tired and go to parties and clubs on weekends. Isn’t it?
It has become the latest culture of partying late at night and drinking heavily on weekends to release the stress and tensions of the past week. But is it the right way?
Let us consider that alcohol or any other substance abuse might make you feel better and stress-free for some time, but what after that?
People today rely on such temporary stress relievers only to worsen their conditions. It is not the solution to your problems. Your mental health needs attention and care and definitely not this type of care.
It has been proved again and again that alcohol and other abuses enhance the effects and cause mental health issues like depression and anxiety. I know cutting it from life all of a sudden is not possible. But, you can start reducing from today till the day you completely remove such pleasures from your lives.
- Stress Management
The most common cause of mental health problems is stress. The simple six-letter word can twirl around your mind and make it paralyzed. Now, as I always say, stress is a part of life, and you cannot remove the stress around you.
You might feel stressed at the office, at home, or among friends. You might not be able to control the conditions that create stress, but you can always learn to manage stress in the right ways. Stress management is the most important key to improving mental health. Learning how to effectively cope with stress can ease our minds and soul.
I always divide stress into two categories.
(i) Healthy stress: Healthy stress is like stressing about meeting a deadline or giving an exam. These stresses help you perform and give your best.
(ii) Unhealthy stress: Unhealthy stresses include stressing about the future or the stress of someone doing better than you. Such stresses do nothing but decline your mental health.
So, if you take healthy and short-term stress, it’s not something to worry about. However, chronic stress can start affecting your overall health. You might get headaches, migraines, loss of appetite, or sleep.
Some other problems caused by stress are lack of concentration, confusion, anxiety, mood swings, and many more. To manage stress, you first need to recognize the source of your stress.
Most of the time, stress comes from within us. We interpret things like a specific conversation, a review, a reaction and become stressed. We further worsen the situation by negative self-talk, pessimism, and over-analysis of situations. So, you need to stop and analyze where your stress is originating from.
Quick Tips to Manage Stress
- Meditation: The easiest and the quickest way of managing stress is mindfulness. If you include just 10 minutes of meditation in your day, you’ll remain active for the entire day. Meditation helps in awareness and positivity.
- Realistic Goals: One of the common causes of stress is unachieved goals. Most people remain stressed to attain their goals. It is better to set easy and realistic goals that can be achieved without burning out your mind.
- Talk It Out: Most of the time, we keep stressing about things inside our heads without discussing our fears with someone else. We feel we shouldn’t be disturbing others with our problems. But, the more we internally stress about certain things, the more we get trapped. It is always better to talk to someone and discuss your fears with them. If you’re too scared to discuss with a loved one, you can always take the help of a counselor.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: I cannot emphasize more how important your daily habits are. Our routine makes us or breaks us. You should always maintain a healthy living to remove stress. Take enough sleep and let your body relax when it wants.
- Check Your Company
Let us be honest, we all know how deep the impact the people we surround ourselves with have on us. People around you, your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, or others, all play some role in your mental health.
It is mostly due to external factors that our health or peace is affected. For instance, you might say, “My co-worker did this thing wrong, and I had to suffer.”
Now, your co-worker did something wrong, but how does it make you suffer? You are the one making yourself suffer. It is your reaction to the situation that will decide your fate.
However, a person’s mental health is affected by the people around them. If you’re surrounded by people who bully you, constantly mock you, or try to bring you down, your mental health will deteriorate.
Indulging with people who back-bitch, gossip, and create any sort of negative vibes will eventually fill negativity in your head as well. It is always better to leave a room where healthy discussions are not carried.
You should keep supportive people close to you. Be it, friends or family, surround yourself with people who bring positivity and happiness to your life.
- Get Help from a Coach
You cannot form good mental health in a few days. It takes time and mindful practices to do so. However, it isn’t something unachievable. If you find it hard to find peace in your mind, then you can always take help.
Most people avoid help unless the situation gets worse. It is always better to seek help at the initial stages to prevent further problems. You can consult a life coach, counselors, or a psychologist.