How well do you take care of your emotional well-being? Most people don’t even pay attention to their mental health until they’re suffering from chronic stress, anxiety, depression, or worse. It is important to try and keep your psychological health from getting to that point. When you’re unable to think positively of yourself and others, or have lost the ability to control your emotions despite the circumstances, it can have a number of negative effects on your life. In fact, it decreases your quality of life.
Taking care of your emotional well-being requires daily actions that help to combat the sometimes sad, stressful, and frustrating times you live in. Below are a few steps you can start taking today to improve your mental health:
- Positive Self-Talk – That little voice in the back of your mind that’s telling you that you’re a failure, you can’t achieve your goals, you’re not attractive, etc. can start to give you a pessimistic view not only on yourself but at life in general. You begin to believe the little voice that you can’t make it or you can’t be good at something, and somehow it comes to fruition. To counteract this, you must try positive self-talk. Speak highly of yourself, your strengths, and all that you’ve accomplished thus far. Eventually, this positive speaking will drown out that nagging voice in the back of your head and help reinforce a “can do” attitude.
- Gratitude Journals – Journals aren’t just good for venting when you’re going through a difficult time. They can also be instrumental in helping you to be more thankful for all that life has given you. Every day, write down a list of things you’re appreciative of. When you realize how much good has happened in your life it can improve your mood.
- Talk to Someone – Keeping your emotions all bottled up is a surefire way to end up dealing with a major mental health issue. It is best that you talk to someone you can trust about the things that may be going on in your life. Just knowing you have a listening ear can help to relieve stress and calm your nerves. If you’re experiencing serious emotional problems you might speak with your primary care physician about mental health treatment which may also include speaking with a therapist and cognitive therapy techniques.
- Practice Mindfulness – Many mental health problems come from trying to focus on too much at once. Mindfulness can help clear your mind. It teaches you to be mindful of what’s going on in the present. As you’re taking a shower, for example, don’t think about how busy you’re going to be. Instead, think about the shower. Feel the water on your skin, experience the soothing temperature, be grateful for having clean water and a means to get showered. This takes your mind off whatever may have been stressing you and places it in the present in a positive way.
- Boost Physical Activity – Did you know that moving around helps the body to produce natural stress-relieving and mood improving hormones known as endorphins? You don’t have to go to the gym to experience these benefits either. You can increase activity throughout your day in small doses. Walk around the entire office building during lunch, park your car further from the store and walk the parking lot, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Getting in a good 30 minutes per day should do the trick. Try to get in as much activity outdoors as you can. Vitamin D, which is best derived from the sun can also be instrumental in improving emotional health.
- Eat a Good Meal – What you eat can impact how you feel. If you’re looking to improve your mental health, you should eat at least three meals a day with snacks in between. Each meal should be a combination of lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit. You should also make sure that you’re getting at least 8 glasses of water in each day.
- Do Something Nice for Someone Else – Whether you help a coworker struggling to meet a deadline with their project or you volunteer your time reading to children in an afterschool program; when you do things for others you feel better about yourself. Helping others in their time of need is known to boost self-esteem and help you to realize your strengths. The expressions of gratitude help you to feel value that you may not have felt on your own.
Your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical health. You shouldn’t wait until you’re maxed out, depressed, or overwhelmed with anxiety to act. By making your mental health a priority you can save yourself and those who care about you a lot of heartache and pain. Take daily actions towards your happiness and managing your emotions. When you feel that things are closing in on you, remember it is better to get help right away than to try and hold it all in.