Mental health is not a destination, it is a process. It is about how you drive, not where you are going.Healthyplace.com
Ten simple and proven ways to enhance mental health, emotional wellbeing and holistic health.
Start each day with gratitude. It is as simple as that. Be grateful to God/universe/source/higher power etc for life. Research tells us that expressing gratitude changes your brain chemistry and your mindset so that you focus more on positive things, and you become more mindful and generous. This ultimately improves your overall mental health.
No matter how you woke up or what you will face during the day, start the day with gratitude.
Develop a (positive) morning routine. This will program your subconscious to ease into the day with the right momentum and energy. For example, you can take up yoga, meditation, prayer or light exercise.
DRINK ENOUGH WATER
Water is essential for life. We lose water through physiological processes – breathing, perspiration and water. Replenish to maintain optimal physical health.
The brain is made up of 80% water and this is where your thoughts and emotions are regulated, therefore make a point of drinking enough water. It is essential for mental wellbeing.
Experts recommend at least 10K steps per day. Make a habit of walking up or down the stairs instead of the lift. Take a morning walk. Walk to the shops instead of driving. Make productive movements, like dancing, while you wait for your kettle to boil, or when warming your food. Walk up and down your workspace as you brainstorm.
These kinds of exercises release endorphins which are good-feel chemicals in the brain that reduces the perception of pain. This essentially elevates your mood and positivity.
From my experience and research out there, meditation is probably the most beneficial practice for happiness and optimal mental health. Research has shown that regular meditation reduces stress, anxiety, and a host of other mental health issues.
This is because meditation can reduce overthinking and create a more mindful mindset. You can practice meditation in the simplest ways that resonate with you e.g., yoga, prayer, and purposeful breathing.
Visualisation is a technique that requires you to want something, perceive it in your mind’s eye and believe it. This is a great way to overcome limiting beliefs you harbour about yourself and set you up for success.
This requires time and commitment and over time the energy you put in your visualisation will shift your mindset in a positive way. Research shows visualisation has the ability to improve performance, reduce stress and increase positive thoughts.
However, you shouldn’t just sit there and visualise amazing things, you have to put positive and worthwhile actions. Remember, thoughts become things.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you focus fully on the present moment. Becoming aware of your sensations and feelings in the moment without judgement. This involves breathing exercises, guided visualisation and relaxation techniques that help reduce anxiety and stress.
It is a proven way to examine yourself throughout the day. What emotions do you feel in each moment e.g. when taking a walk, do you feel happy?
Bringing yourself to the present moment can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and sadness.
Your thoughts influence your feelings;
Your feelings influence your actions;
Your actions create your life.
Spending time with loved ones is a stress-busting and mood-boosting powerful activity, and research out there shows that staying in touch lowers anxieties and depression, helps regulate emotions, raise self-esteem and empathy and improves the immune system. All these are fundamental for optimal mental health.
Staying connecting does not always relate to people, you can connect with nature e.g. by walking barefoot on soil.
When you connect with the right people, you feel seen, heard, valued and appreciated which ultimately raises your positiveness.
Spirituality is not necessarily tied to religious beliefs or traditions; it’s about seeking a deeper relationship with something/one bigger than yourself.
Research shows that belief in something higher than yourself is associated with reduced anxieties, stress, and depression. Belonging to a faith improves your sense of self and aids in recovery from a host of mental health-related issues and addictions.
Being spiritual strengthens relationships with others and the universe. Spiritual practices e.g., prayers and affirmations help us develop the better parts of our being – creativity, patience, honesty, tolerance, forgiveness etc.
Forgiveness is the deliberate decision to let go of feelings of anger, resentment and retribution toward someone or yourself.
Forgive others and self. This is essential for mental health because harbouring bad feelings towards people who wronged you brings out negative emotions which lead to illness (mental and even physical). Studies have shown that forgiveness is associated with better emotional wellbeing.
Forgiveness is really for your own peace of mind. It does not, however, mean that you condone the behaviour or you devalue your values and beliefs, it merely means you are willing to move past it and move on with your life without ruminating on events that cannot be changed.
Disclaimer: You are your best judge. You know your unique triumphs and challenges, but if you are expressing excessive depressive moments or anxiety, it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible. However, you don’t need to have mental health issues to benefit from the above.
Image: Pexels.com – S Migaj