With mental illness rapidly increasing each year, it has becoming increasingly important to educate the masses on mental health. Unlike your physical health which you can see, your mental health has more to do with your emotions which is why it is often not a priority when trying to live a healthier lifestyle. When your emotional wellbeing isn’t taken into consideration, however, the consequences can be severe.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health encompasses a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Your mental health is essentially the state of how you think, which, in turn, governs how you feel and behave. It also impacts how you manage the trials and tribulations of life, associate with others, and your ability to make decisions. There are a number of factors on a regular basis that can have a negative impact on a person’s emotional health from family and careers to past traumas and genetics. That is why it is crucial for people to pour positivity into their lives and take care of their minds.
Consequences of Not Caring for Your Mental Health
So, what happens to a person when they don’t take care of their mental health? The answer isn’t pretty. Not making your mental health a priority can lead to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Those who don’t care for their minds can also struggle with stress, low self-esteem, and lack of self-worth. Ultimately, when you don’t feel good about yourself you’re unable to be happy, enjoy everyday life, and evolve. You can develop feelings of deep sadness, anger, shame, guilt, hopelessness, resentment, and more. It hinders your personal and professional relationships and eventually negatively impacts your physical well-being.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
No one wants to live life unhappy, dissatisfied or feeling bad about themselves. So, your mental health needs to be a priority as you make healthy changes to your lifestyle. Below, are a few suggestions on how to care for your mental health:
While eating a well-balanced diet is often recommended to improve your physical health, it is also essential for your emotional health. What you eat can cause chemical imbalances, loss of energy, weight gain (which then turns to low self-esteem and health problems) and other things that impact your mind.
Take an inventory of your diet. Keep a food journal to discern what you’re eating and also jot down how it makes you feel. Things that drain your energy, increase your weight (and as a result lower your confidence) or lower your mood should be removed from your diet. There are plenty of healthy diets you can follow that will allow you to sustain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of illness and disease, boost your energy, and, in turn, boost your mood. Try following those plans and see what a difference it makes in your life.
Here’s another tip that is often thought of as simply something you do for your physical health. Physical activity, while great for losing weight and building strong bones and muscles, is also ideal for sustaining good mental health. When you are active, your body produces dopamine, which is a hormone associated with feeling good. Regular exercise also helps to lower levels of cortisol (a hormone derived from stress) and improves your mood. It’s also important to note that when you work out regularly to get in shape, your confidence levels rise as you make progress.
There are many ways to work out so don’t assume all you have is the gym. You can turn on the music and dance while doing house chores, go for a walk with the family, take yoga classes, join an exercise class, play sports, or simply incorporate more movement throughout your day like taking the stairs, walking through parking lots, etc.
Do Things that Bring You Happiness
Life today is all about working hard. Though you have to be diligent to get the things you want in life, too much work and no play will weigh on your emotions. Find some way every day to do something that brings you happiness. Whether you take a hot bath after work, treat yourself to lunch, do a jigsaw puzzle, spend time with your kids, or do something nice for someone in need, it all helps to refill your happiness cup.
Get Help if You Need it
Not all mental health problems are easily solved with self-care. Sometimes you need the help of others to get you to where you need to be mentally. If you’ve been keeping up with the tips provided above but still feel bad, don’t be afraid to seek help. You can talk to your doctor, enroll in a Santa Barbara mental health treatment center, join a support group, or talk to a therapist.
There are always going to be things (internally and externally) that weigh on your emotional well-being. In order to sustain a life of happiness, however, it is extremely important to continue to care for your body and your mind. Use the above-mentioned tips to begin turning things around in your life and lifting your spirits.