There are moments in life when staying sane becomes tricky. The ever elusive work-life balance, the complexity of our relationships and the health issues that periodically arise put a great strain on our mental capacities.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.”
It sounds intimidating to achieve this impressive list of happiness states. Here is some advice from the experts in a nutshell:
Being in touch with family and friends enhances our mental well-being. People are social creatures and we thrive on human contact. Talking regularly about minor and major issues helps us overcome adversity and stress. It also reduces loneliness and isolation which may otherwise be depression triggers.
It is never too late to start a meditation practice. Its benefits are so huge that experts never hesitate to recommend it as a big mental health improver.
Just for the record, it does all this to your body and mind:
– Helps you develop mindfulness;
– Improves sleep;
– Reduces blood pressure (and stress);
– Improves focus and attention;
– Has a positive impact on your mood;
Take care of your body
The three pillars of physical health are exercise, sleep, and healthy eating habits. It is no surprise that mind and body are closely connected. If you haven’t taken care of your physical needs, you can’t expect to feel good emotionally. Our biochemistry influences our mood. Even simple things like not sleeping well for two nights in a row may bring the blues around. Needless to say, alcohol and cigarettes are not best friends, neither with physical nor with mental health.
Reduce the use of digital devices
Their allure is irresistible – so much as to become a bit dangerous. Digital devices hinder our focusing efforts, soak up our mental energies, increase the risk of weight gain and may have a negative impact on our relationships. We can all benefit from a simple digital detox program (like staying away from our phones for a couple of hours every evening).
Do something you enjoy
And, no, the smartphone doesn’t count. Enjoyment comes in many flavours – it can be a favourite hobby or sport, nature walks, starting a creative project, etc.
Finding your state of flow may not only enrich your life but improve your mental health as well.
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(Note: If you notice that your negative emotions are too hard to handle or are feeling down for too long, it may be a good idea to see a therapist or other health care provider).