Mental health is just as important as diet and exercise when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday stresses and difficulties can be challenging. Seeking professional support and treatment is one way to improve your mental health. There are additional ways you can improve your mental health naturally.
What’s good for your mental health? Dr. Gregory Dikos, a trauma surgeon at OrthoIndy, shares three habits to improve mental health.
“Focusing on how to be mentally healthy and happy is important in any aspect of life,” said Dr. Dikos. “Many of my patients recovering from traumatic injuries experience significant pain and have to endure a lot of rehabilitation before they get better. My patients who practice positive thinking usually feel better sooner.”
How do you maintain good mental health?
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
Many people feel overwhelmed and begin to ignore their mental health because they are too busy focusing on everything else they need to do. This is a big problem, as it makes tasks harder to get done and ultimately leads to more work and an increase in stress and anxiety.
Focus on one thing at a time and set aside time for yourself. If you have a lot on your plate, set realistic goals and work on meeting them one at a time. You can’t help anyone else if you don’t help yourself first. Be present and mindful during everything you do instead of focusing on what you need to do next.
2. Maintain a positive self-image
How you think about yourself can have a huge impact on how you feel mentally and physically. Negative thoughts can do a lot of harm to your self-confidence and impact those around you as well. Try to practice positive thinking instead of negative reinforcement.
For example, if you don’t feel proud of yourself, instead of thinking of all the things you did wrong, think of all the things you did right and how you can improve what you might not feel as proud about.
3. Find activities to improve mental health
Everyone is different in what works best for improving mental health. Beyond exercise and eating nutritional meals, it’s also important to find other activities to improve your mental health. These can be simple activities that you only spend five to ten minutes on a day or even a week.
- Write down something you are grateful for each day
- Go on a walk by yourself or with someone you care about
- Do something small for someone else who might not expect it
- Allow yourself to sleep in
- Take a break and go outside
- Try a new healthy recipe and share it with someone
- Color, paint or write even if you don’t share it with anyone
- Put down your cell phone or any piece of technology
- Be a tourist in your own town
- Break up a normal routine and do something spontaneous
- Try a new exercise such as kayaking or cross-country skiing
- Try meditating, being mindful or praying
- Volunteer at a local charity
The list goes on and on but find something that works for you and allow yourself to enjoy it. Make maintaining your mental health part of your normal routine.
But how can I always be positive?
Not every day will be a walk in the park. That’s life. Some days will be better than others.
However, how you deal with your mental health will impact your future.
“Take care of your mind and body, surround yourself with good people and value yourself,” said Dr. Dikos. “Also, don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. Seeking professional treatment or even confiding in a friend is a sign of strength…not weakness.”
Learn more about living a healthy lifestyle and changing your bad habits.
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