5 more Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Today
You don’t need to have a problem to improve your mental health. For many of us, what is now considered a normal lifestyle makes safeguarding mental health difficult. If your day-to-day activity means you’re running on empty and giving yourself little self-care, it is time to action a few of these simple techniques to improve or nurture your mental health. This blog post follows from the same last week. If you want a wider selection of options, please look back here for five more, simple ways to improve your mental health.
If going to bed and sleeping is the thing you do when you’ve scrolled for another hour and seen nothing new, or you wake up having fallen asleep on the sofa again, it’s time to start making sleep a priority. This means you commit to giving yourself a sleep opportunity of the recommended seven to nine hours per night. People who prioritise their sleep make this non-negotiable. It’s frighteningly incredible what happens in your brain and body when you sleep. Research shows there is no psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Although the long-term belief is that mental health conditions cause sleep disturbances, research now shows that otherwise healthy people may experience brain activity like that observed in psychiatric conditions with disrupted or blocked sleep.
Sleep is a massive topic and requires multiple blog posts of its own. To read more about sleep and how therapy or hypnotherapy helps, please click here.
You might hear all the time how yoga is great for you – but why? Generally, yoga is a mind and body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Research shows yoga is a form of brain training, strengthening your cerebral cortex, the part of your brain that processes information, and the hippocampus, which takes care of learning and memory. Like all exercise, yoga improves your mood by reducing the levels of stress hormones in your body and increasing the production of feel-good endorphins. Meditation is an important part of yoga, and you can read more about the benefits of meditation here.
20 Minute Decompress
How regularly do you give yourself time to process your own thoughts? Without this, you can end up an anxious mess. Just twenty minutes each day, without distraction, for introspection will help you clear and organise your mind.
Imagine your brain like a filing cabinet. Without time to organise it, you’ll end up with papers everywhere, in the wrong order, scattered around. You’d spend all your time on your hands and knees brushing up bits of paper. Not knowing what goes with what, looking for the matching bits and so on. When you take a small amount of time each day to process your own thoughts, with a journal, if it’s easier, you’ll have a mind so organised there’s even a plan for your most anxious thoughts.
Switch off to switch on! Every now and then take a digital detox. To sleep efficiently, it’s recommended not to look at screens at least two hours before going to bed. Although most of us have always watched TV before bed, the improvement in technology means the blue light emitted from screens, including the TV, is much stronger than ever before. The screen itself will negatively affect your sleep and therefore your mental health. However, what you look at on the screen may also challenge your mental health. Whether it’s doom scrolling, comparing yourself to others, or simply chasing a dopamine hit, having access to the internet 24/7 is a dangerous game most of us play. In addition to turning screens off early in the evening, an option is to take a screen free mini break or have a screen free day each week.
Forest bathing seems a gimmicky way to describe a walk through the forest. However, it is a thing! The Japanese practice, Shinrin Yoku is a method of taking time amongst the trees, remaining calm and quiet whilst observing the surrounding nature and breathing deeply. This is a beautiful way to reduce stress and boost your mental wellbeing. When you combine this with the above suggestion to take time each day to process your thoughts, it’s easier to make this a meditative experience, as you can walk with a freshly cleared mind. Free to relax mindfully.