Many people take care of their physical health before they feel sick. They eat well, exercise and try to get enough sleep to help maintain wellness. You can take the same approach to mental health and work to keep your mind healthy.
Good mental health includes:
- How you feel about yourself, the world and your life
- Your ability to solve problems and overcome challenges
- Your ability to build relationships with others and contribute to your communities
- Your ability to achieve your goals
The “Live Your Life Well” program from Mental Health America suggests 10 science-based ways to boost mental health:
- Connect with others – Fight stress with friendship. Learn how to strengthen old bonds and build new ones.
- Stay positive – Changing your thinking can change your life. Take steps to increase your optimism.
- Get physically active – Exercise can make you happier. It’s not clear exactly how exercise boosts mood, but experts say it relieves pent up muscle tension, stimulates feel-good hormones, burns off stress hormones and increases blood flow to the brain!
- Help others – Those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer!
- Get enough rest – Being tired can hurt your health and your relationships. Some things you can try include setting a regular bed time, resisting caffeine 6-8 hours before bed, finishing any next-day preparations an hour before bed, and making your bed a sleep haven.
- Create joy and satisfaction – Feeling good is good for you, so have a laugh, find a hobby, or just kick back.
- Eat well – The right foods can fuel your mind, boost your mood and fight disease.
- Take care of your spirit – Praying, meditating, or just connecting with your deepest self can enrich your life.
- Deal better with hard times – Coping tools can help you through a rough patch. Check out the Live Your Life Well website for some beginning tools. You can collect more tools throughout your life!
- Get professional help if you need it – Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. If you or someone you know is feeling especially bad or suicidal, you can call 1-800-273-TALK to reach a 24-hour crisis center.