How Does Mental Health Affect Life and How to Improve It

how does mental health affect life and how to improve it

Your mental health will influence how you feel, think, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to overcome challenges, cope with stress, recover from life’s hardships and setbacks, and build relationships.

There is a general assumption that strong mental health is the absence of mental health problems. However, being mentally healthy goes beyond anxiety, depression, or other psychological issues. Mental health isn't just the absence of mental illness but the absence of positive characteristics as well.

It also doesn’t mean that you don’t experience emotional problems or go through bad times. We all go through change, disappointments, and loss. These are also normal parts of life that can cause anxiety, sadness, and stress.

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However, the same way physically fit, healthy people can quickly bounce back from an injury or illness, having strong mental health will enable you to better bounce back from trauma, adversity, and stress. You will need more resilience in life.

Being mentally and emotionally resilient will give you the tools for coping with hard situations and establishing a positive outlook in life. You remain flexible, focused, and productive both in good and bad times. Your resilience will also make you less afraid of an uncertain future or new experiences. You will always be hopeful that a problem will get resolved eventually.

Mentally healthy people have:

  • A zest for life and the ability to have fun and laugh
  • A sense of purpose and meaning in your activities and relationships
  • A sense of contentment
  • The ability to bounce back from adversity and deal with stress
  • High self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Flexibility to adapt to change and learn new skills
  • Ability to maintain and build fulfilling relationships
  • A balance between rest and activity, work and play, etc.

Whether you’re looking to cope with a mental health disorder, feel more positive and energetic, and handle your emotions better, there are ways you can manage and control your mental health.

How to Improve Your Mental Health

Incorporate Self-Care Routines in Your Life

Though self-care is different for everyone, it is a simple concept that requires you to spare time where you take care of your emotional, mental, and physical health to live a fulfilling life.

Examples of self-care include traveling somewhere new, eating healthy, relaxing at the beach, splurging on a massage or other luxury, trying new things, or spending time with a friend. They type doesn't matter as much as the effect. Whatever you choose to do, it should feel like you're taking care of yourself away from your day-to-day life routine in a way that combats depression, anxiety, and stress.

Set aside about 20 minutes in your day to focus on a self-care routine. You can even opt to go for a long walk after lunch, make a healthy smoothie before work, or to spend time to catch up or laugh with your partner before bed.

Learn Mindfulness Meditation

We keep reading about the many benefits of meditation, but we either think it's not right for us, or we simply don't have the time to meditate. Mindfulness meditation can help with mental health because it's a technique that allows you to focus on your thoughts.

You can do it anywhere or anytime as long as the goal is to be more present rather than worry about the future or dwelling on the past. Mindfulness meditation can help improve your relationships, lower stress, help you feel more at ease, and also enhance your memory and focus.

Mindfulness meditation is practiced through deep and focused breathing. It can be accomplished by practicing yoga or a solo walk in nature. You can also achieve it by reciting a mantra or a short, uplifting message and keep repeating it to yourself. We recommend practicing mindfulness meditation for about 20 minutes every day.

Exercise

Whether you're struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental health condition, we can't emphasize the impact of exercise enough. Exercise should play a massive role in your life if you're looking to improve your mental health.

Exercise can make you feel more relaxed, improve your sleep, and increase your body’s ability to produce endorphins, feel-good hormones responsible for improving your mood.

You don't have to do intense spinning or high-intensity interval training to reap the benefits of exercise, just 30 minutes of walking can help reduce stress and improve your mood significantly. You can also do cardio or aerobic exercise to a 5-minute song, and it will help lower anxiety.

According to HHS, healthy adults should target 150 minutes of exercise per week for moderate activity such as walking or biking, and 75 minutes for vigorous exercise like running.

Prioritize Sleep

Sometimes we are so busing raising children or working that we struggle to get the recommended amount of sleep. However, you must get 7-9 hours of sleep every night because sleep deprivation only exacerbates psychological and emotional problems.

People with insomnia are reported to be four times likely to develop depression within three years. However, getting quality sleep is also about getting restful sleep to make sure you're energized for the day.

If getting restful sleep is a challenge for you, try to incorporate practices like meditation that will help you achieve better sleep. If possible, exercise every day and eat a well-balanced diet. Try to eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and smoking because they impact sleep negatively. Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark, and avoid doing anything other than sleep when in the bedroom.

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