Because we can all do with a little bit more good
The term mental health is often substituted for conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia—but it isn’t about these problems at all. Everyone’s be-all-end-all source, the World Health Organization, defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
So, in truth, anyone—anyone—can have good mental health. The question is: How?
Put down the damn phone and converse
No matter how much you enjoy your alone time, humans being are social by nature. It doesn’t matter how many times your parents didn’t show up to your recitals or how many times your significant other cheated on you, you will still crave some level of connection—so make them, and make them face-to-face.
Just think about it: You have a long day, a bad meeting or your car breaks down. What will make you feel better, a person to talk to or scrolling through Facebook and seeing everyone else have a good time?
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Learn to say no
Stress is the enemy!—and saying no is a weapon you want in your arsenal. You cannot keep accepting things to add onto your to-do list when you know it’s going to take up too much time and your deadlines are all coming at you like an avalanche.
Eat good (and good-for-you) food
Diets suck and are difficult to stick to, but unhealthy food intake can figuratively mush your brain and mood. Alternately, good-for-you food can give you a boost in energy and help you feel your best. So avoid too much coffee and alcohol and stock up on some avocados and fresh fruit.
Go to bed early
You wake up at 6 in the morning and leave by 7, but your commute to work lasts an hour and a half. You’re in the office until 6:30pm and don’t get home until half past 8. You eat your dinner, clean up and wash yourself. You’re in bed by 10 and don’t shut off your gadgets until it’s 11:30. It’s almost 1 by the time you actually drift off to sleep—and that’s why you’re so tired and cranky during the day.
Getting enough sleep is an important factor of keeping all your marbles aligned. And while 8 to 9 hours of sleep isn’t always possible (because, you know, life), there are ways to get better quality of sleep: No screens for an hour before closing your eyes, make sure the room is quiet and try your best to keep to a regular sleep-week schedule (even on the weekends).
Make “I like to move it move it” your mantra
If your body is in good shape, your mind is in good shape. They’re intrinsically connected and we have legitimate proof to back it up:
Real talk though: Endorphins are powerful and have a big influence on your mood. Regular exercise can help relieve stress, as well as improve memory and sleep patterns.
Find a reason
Having something to look forward to—whether that’s work, family or a special someone/something—is a great way to keep your head above the water. Staying motivated is key to having a healthy brain and, at the very least, it will keep you smiling.
Seek professional help
If all else fails, look into getting professional help and remember that there is no shame in doing so.
Chins up and backs straight, ladies and gents. It helps posture, attitude and your mental wellbeing.
Art Cara Gamo