22 Sep 6 Lifestyle Changes for Better Mental Health
According to the CDC, “More than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness.” Whether you have a diagnosed psychiatric condition or not, mental health is extremely important. Every single person on the planet has bad days and knowing how to cope healthily can prevent you from experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety.
Mental health is extremely important, impacting how you think, feel, and act. If you have a mental health condition or simply want to feel better, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall well-being.
To improve your mental health, consider making the following 6 lifestyle changes.
1. Be Active and Eat Healthier
Changing your exercise and eating routines can improve your mental health substantially. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that can improve your overall mood. Additionally, exercising is proven to improve sleep, increase mental alertness, and relieve stress.
Even further, research has proven that healthier diets can lower your risk of depression by 25% to 35%. Eating healthy improves the “good bacteria” in your gastrointestinal tract, which is where most of your serotonin is produced. In other words, eating nutritious food can send signals to your brain that make you feel happy and content while relieving stress.
2. Start Journaling
Another great way to improve your mental health is to begin journaling. While it might seem silly, writing out your thoughts and activities for the day can help you organize the feelings you experience. Over time, you might even begin to notice patterns or triggering situations that leave your mental health depleted, allowing you to make healthy behavioral changes.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you control symptoms of mental health conditions and improve your mood by:
- Helping you prioritize your fears and concerns
- Track symptoms day-to-day to recognize triggers
- Allow you to engage in positive self-talk
- Identify patterns of negative thoughts or behaviors
3. Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness techniques are often used to treat many different types of mental health symptoms, as they can help you stay present in the moment, identify your feelings, and learn to tackle them healthily. To explain, mindfulness is a type of meditation that requires you to focus on your senses and feelings at the moment. As a result, you can stop focusing on the problems of your past and future.
According to research by the American Psychological Association (APA), mindfulness can improve your mental health in the following ways:
- Reduced rumination
- Decreased stress
- Improved memory
- Heightened ability to focus
- Less emotional reactivity
- Greater cognitive flexibility
- Increased satisfaction in relationships
- Fear modulation
4. Consider Therapy
If you are dealing with the symptoms of a mental health condition, coping with everyday life can be difficult. Thankfully, therapy can provide you with support and new techniques to use to manage your symptoms. Even if you do not have a diagnosed condition, therapy can be helpful to promote increased mental health.
There are tons of different types of therapy that you can take advantage of, which means there is something out there for everyone. Whether you just want to talk about your daily problems or receive tangible techniques to use for symptom relief, therapy can help.
5. Find Hobbies You Enjoy
Another great way to improve your mental health is to begin participating in hobbies that you find fun, soothing, or fulfilling. Oftentimes, the stress of life and meeting responsibilities can get in the way of self-care. Committing some time out of your busy schedule to engage in an activity that offers you enjoyment can make all the difference in your overall mood.
Examples of hobbies to try out include:
- Art like painting or drawing
- Hiking or kayaking
6. Cut Back on Alcohol or Other Substances
Lastly, using alcohol and other substances like marijuana can have significant impacts on your mental health. While using substances might temporarily provide you with relief from stress, long-term or frequent use can actually increase your mental health symptoms over time.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), “The greater the amounts of alcohol consumed and the more regular the intake, the more likely a person will be to develop temporary anxiety and depressive symptoms.”
Additionally, using alcohol or drugs to cope with your mental health could cause you to develop a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, this will only add to your mental health issues as time goes on. Instead, try out being sober to see how it improves your overall mental well-being.
Get Connected to Highly-Rated Mental Health Treatment
If you or a loved one struggles with poor mental health, it might be time to seek professional treatment. At Florida Recovery Group, we can provide you with an individualized treatment plan that is suited to your specific needs.
To learn more about our mental health treatment program, please contact us today.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): About Mental Health, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Exercise for Mental Health, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
- Harvard Health Publishing: Nutritional Psychiatry, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
- The University of Rochester Medical Center: Journaling for Emotional Wellness, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
- The American Psychological Association (APA): What are the benefits of mindfulness, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Alcohol, Anxiety, and Depressive Disorders, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876499/