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5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health This Year
Anxiety, stress, burnout: these seem to be common conditions of modern life these days. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some simple things you can do to improve your mental health and embrace this year happier, healthier and with better emotional wellbeing.
- Get Active
We all know that exercising is important for our physical health, but did you know it has a great influence on our mental health as well? Physical activity causes changes in your brain, including increasing blood flow and building neural pathways, all of which improves mental health. Exercising also releases certain hormones into the blood such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel happy.
Experts recommend that we undertake 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise at least three times a week. Moderate exercise could be brisk walking, jogging, swimming or taking a dance class. Getting into a regular exercise routine – and most importantly, sticking to it – can be a challenge. Starting off slowly and working up to a regular routine is one way to make sure you are able to make a long-term commitment to your physical and mental health.
- Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating well is another important part of looking after both our physical and mental health. Scientific studies have linked emotional wellbeing to eating high levels of fruits and vegetables, and eating a Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce levels of depression. A Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional eating habits of Mediterranean countries: high levels of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, fish and unsaturated fats.
There may also be an indirect relationship between poor diet and poor mental health: eating an unhealthy diet leads to being overweight and poorer overall physical health. This in turn means people are less likely to be physically active as well as participating in other activities which assist with mental health.
- Establish a Regular Sleep Routine
Not getting enough sleep, having low-quality sleep or an irregular sleep routine, can all be damaging to your mental health. Low quality sleep impacts adversely on mood, energy levels and concentration. For those that already suffer from mental health problems such as bipolar disorder or depression, maintaining a regular, quality sleep routine helps to manage these conditions.
Medical professionals recommend that we get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Furthermore, they tell us it is critical that we get this sleep at about the same time every night as part of a regular routine. To do this, establish a regular routine which includes “wind-down” time of around 30 to 60 minutes before you want to go to sleep each night.
- Give Up Smoking
Smoking cigarettes has been widely linked to anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. What’s more, the chemicals in cigarettes interfere with medications given to treat anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, meaning that treatments may not be as effective or higher doses may be required. Quitting smoking has been shown to reduce symptoms of these conditions and improve mental health in general.
Quitting smoking certainly isn’t easy, because of the strong pull of a nicotine addiction. One way to ease down your addiction in order to kick the habit for good is to use e-cigarettes. E-liquids come in a variety of nicotine concentrations, meaning you can step down your intake over time, while immediately stopping your intake of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke: check this eliquid calculator for more. You’ll even find that this is much easier with on your wallet – when it comes to vaping vs cigarette cost, vaping is much more economical.
- Focus on Personal Relationships
Having good mental health goes beyond what you do within yourself. The other people in your life can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that people with strong family and social connections are generally happier than those who do not have that type of support. Regularly spending time with family members and close friends who are supportive and bring positive energy into your life is essential for good mental health.
Finding ways to meet new people, such as joining a club or taking a class, is a great way to increase your social network. It also doesn’t need to be all about you: giving back, such as through volunteering your time to a local charity, can be one of the best ways to improve your own wellbeing while helping others at the same time.
Improving your mental health isn’t necessarily difficult or complicated: by applying these simple strategies you may find a huge boost to your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Tom Buckland is the head of of content at Vape Mate a company that help smokers to quit smoking. Follow him at https://www.twitter.com/VapemateUK