5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Naturally

5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Naturally

Even if you didn’t catch the Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan, we know you heard about it. Of all the topics that arose from that controversial piece of clickbait was one we all need to spend more time thinking about—the state of our mental health.

After this past uber stressful and incredibly lonely year, the rates of mental health issues have skyrocketed. Conditions such as fear, anxiety, and depression have increased dramatically, leaving many of us reeling from their effects.

When we’re feeling down and anxious, it can seem easier to ignore our emotions, pushing them aside in favor of appearing “fine” to outsiders. Problem is, ignoring our issues will only make them worse. Feeling “sad,” “scared,” or “anxious” is nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact, not prioritizing your mental health can have a slew of damaging consequences to both your emotional and physical health.

Luckily, there are small steps we can all take in our daily lives to make big differences in our mood. From carving out more me time to moving our bodies, the following tips can help you begin to improve your mental health today. And if you practice them regularly while you’re feeling strong, it’s easier to turn them to them when you’re in need.

Move More We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; exercise is good for your body, mind, and soul. While sweating it out may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, the benefits associated with exercising far outweigh the mental effort it takes to get your butt off the couch. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that regularly exercising (3 times a week) at any level (a slow walk counts) can reduce your risk of depression by 19 percent.  

Slow Down While everyone was forced to slow down during the initial lockdown phase, things have slowly ramped back up. That means we’re back to shuttling kids around, juggling work, and a multitude of other must-dos. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of life, which can increase our stress levels, in turn boosting our risk of depression and anxiety.

Take a minute (actually, take more than a minute) to slow down, relax, and do something just for you. Anything from reading a book to taking a walk to hiding in the corner eating a bag of chips can count.

Carving out me-time has numerous benefits including, boosting our immune system, relieving pain, improving sleep, and encouraging positive thinking.

Be Present It’s easy to get caught up in the worries and anxieties posed by a COVID world. Actually, it’s easy to get caught up in worries in any type of world. To decrease your stress and anxiety, try to home in on the present.

You know how horses wear blinders to protect them from external distractions? You need imaginary blinders to prevent you from looking too far into the future or the past. Concentrate on the now—the sweet tang of your dessert, the crisp air on your face, or the warm water of your bath. That will help you to focus solely on your senses and let go of the things that are weighing you down.

Stand up Tall The better your posture, the better your mood and self-confidence, found multiple researchers.

According to a study of 110 university students published in the journal Biofeedback, those who slouched while walking felt more depressed and tired than those who stood tall. Non-slouchers noticed a more positive outlook and higher energy levels.  

Another study by researchers from New Zealand found that sitting with good posture increased the level of alertness in people with mild to moderate depression.

The take-home: put those shoulders back, lift your head and tighten that core. You’ll feel happier, more energized, and more confident. Still, struggling to stand straight? Book a session with one of our Certified Stretch Specialists to help relieve tension that may be hindering your posture. [LINK TO TVS]

Ask for Help No matter how you’re feeling, please know that you are not alone. Also, while these tips are tried and true, research-based methods to help boost mental health, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, are having suicidal thoughts, or have noticed serious changes in your sleeping or eating habits.

If you feel unable to cope - the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. You can reach them anytime at  800-273-8255 or via online chat at - https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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