There are some simple steps we can all take in our lives to improve our physical and mental health, and they don't have to be expensive or time consuming. When it comes to making lifestyle changes, it can be tough to change habits that we have built up over the years, but the benefits you feel will outweigh the cons. Here are some good health habits to get into to improve your mental health.
Good Habits to Improve your Mental Health
Here are my top health habits which you can use to improve your state of mind.
Top Good Health Habits
Get enough rest
Sleep used to be thought of as simply ‘shutdown’ mode for the body and mind, but many studies have proven that sleep is much more than that. A good night’s sleep can help decrease anxiety and improve emotional stability, and lack of sleep can contribute towards depression. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function, and remember that sleep cannot necessarily be made up on the weekend.
Learn good nutrition
A good diet is central to overall good physical health, but did you know that it can improve your mental health too? The body requires a well-balanced diet, which consists of carbohydrates, high-fibre foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, some protein and plenty of fluid. Studies indicate that food plays an important role in prevention of depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When people hear they should be getting more exercise it can seem like an intimidating prospect, but introducing more physical activity into your life can be surprisingly easy- all you need is 30 minutes a day. This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk one evening after work. Exercise has been proven to be a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety and depression, so get walking and see the benefits.
Get some sunlight
As winter draws in and the nights get longer it can seem like we never get to see any sun, particularly if we work full time. But studies show that people actually get depressed, with symptoms like sadness, fatigue and hopelessness - from a lack of sunlight. Just leaving the office at lunchtime to get some fresh air could revitalise you for the afternoon, just make sure you wear sun cream to protect yourself when you do!
Alcohol is a depressant, so whilst having a few glasses of wine in the evening may make you feel better in the short term, in the long term it is simply doing you no good at all. In fact, evidence shows that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health, as well as being at risk of dependency. See your GP if you find it hard to cut back on your drinking.
If you are struggling to change your state of mental health it might be worth looking into getting cognitive behavioural therapy to alter some of your negative thought processes. Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of all anxiety disorders as well as depression. Look to see whether you are covered for private treatment on your private health insurance policy to beat the NHS waiting lists.
Make time for contemplation
We all have stresses in our lives, and that’s why it’s important to set some time aside in a day to quietly contemplate and appreciate all the good things we have to be grateful for.