5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Today
Are you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious? Do you want to improve your mental health, but don’t know where to start? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore five simple ways to improve your mental health today. These tips are easy to implement and can significantly improve your well-being. Whether you’re struggling with a specific issue or looking for ways to boost your mood, these tips will help you take control of your mental health and feel your best.
Scientists call your gut a second brain. In your brain, you have 100 billion neurons, cells designed to transmit information. Neurons make up your central nervous system, the part of your functioning that controls movement, thought and emotion. Your heart rate, hormones, temperature and breathing. Your neurons send information between the areas of your brain, to the spinal cord and the rest of your body. In addition to neurons in your brain and spinal cord, there are small amounts of neurons around the rest of your body. Your gut contains over 100 million neurons. Not as many, for sure, but who even knew you have brain cells there at all! It’s important to keep this part of your body well. When you eat foods that irritate your gut, you may experience inflammation. Some nutritional therapists and functional doctors recommend steering clear of gluten, dairy, sugar, seed oils and alcohol. Inflammation can cause depression and anxiety. When you eat well, you give yourself a better opportunity to feel well.
I’m probably stating the obvious when I say that technology moves faster than evolution. While technology has improved exponentially over the past ten years, human beans (as the BFG would say) haven’t really changed much. Naturally, your body expects to spend a large part of it’s day moving around. Hunting and gathering, building fires and shelter. Although your body doesn’t expect high exertion regularly or for that long, it expects to move gently for most of the day. This is rare in our world. Even more so since 2020, with more people working from home. No one would think you strange to hear that you walk downstairs to your computer each morning, and don’t leave your office chair until you transfer yourself to your sofa in the evening. Long working hours prevent a day of moderate movement, and this can cause a dip in mental health. Formal exercise will take the edge off the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, giving you a burst of feel-good endorphins each day.
Humans are social animals. Your brain expects you to live tribally, collaborating as a community to survive. Anyone rejected from the tribe becomes vulnerable to predators. Your body expects touch and face to face connection most of the time. Living in an isolated way, as we all do, can affect your mental health. Socialising sometimes feels difficult (and introverts certainly need time alone to reenergise), however, it’s important to go out into your community or meet with friends regularly. It might feel more comfortable to stay at home, retreat into yourself and scroll social media, but the research shows this doesn’t benefit mental health and human, face to face connection is favourable.
Meditation is a way to clear your mind, refocus your thoughts, and learn how to take control of your thoughts and reactions. Some people like to consider meditation brain training. Sometimes, especially with anxiety, you might find your thoughts running away with you. In the middle of a film, you’re suddenly jerked back to reality with no idea where the last twenty minutes went. Or you struggle to fall asleep because you’re ruminating on the day gone by or worrying about tomorrow. The aim of meditation is to clear your mind of thought. You do this by focusing on one thing, such as your breath or a mantra that you repeat. Whenever you notice your mind wander, actively bring it back. This calms your body and mind in the present, and with regular practise teaches your brain how to remain in the moment. As you go about your day, you’ll have the power to consider your responses to everyday life and prevent unnecessary anxious thinking.
There are no hard or fast rules for journaling. The most difficult part is prioritising the time to do it. A journal is like a diary of your thoughts. When you journal, write whatever comes to you. If you’re a creative thinker, your feelings may come out as a song or poem. The analytics amongst up might end up with a bullet pointed list. Whatever works for you is what’s right for you. Journalling will help you process your thoughts and find solutions to your problems. Imagine it working like talking therapy. A therapist has the experience to ask you questions that will help you find the answers you seek. However, journaling does a good job of getting you there too. The more you write, the more you’ll learn and understand about yourself. When you write down your anxieties, they can feel less overwhelming, like you’ve taken a weight off your shoulders.
In a blog post next week, I’ll bring you five more ways to improve your mental health today.