October 10th is World Mental Health Day, but every day is a great time to talk about mental health.
Some mental health conditions are biological due to physical trauma, injury, genetics, exposure to toxic substances, or disease. In these cases, medication and other treatments are generally required to manage the symptoms.
Other aspects of mental health are believed to be caused by environmental influences. This means that we can contribute to our own mental health based on our choices.
In this post, I’ll share some easy ways to take control of your mental health. Anyone can do these things to set themselves on the road to improved mental health and a happier life.
7 Ways to Take Control of Your Mental Health
1. Maintain Social Support
Staying connected to a network of people, groups, and organizations that are supportive and/or fun is imperative for good mental health. This may include church, cooking club, book club, volunteer opportunities, support groups, neighbors, community events, and extended family members.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
The food we eat can support or impair brain function, impacting our emotional and behavioral health, as well as our physical health.
While there are many opinions about food and diet, most experts agree that eating plenty of fruit and veggies, lean protein, and moderate carbohydrates is ideal for most people. Those with special dietary needs should discuss the best nutritional options with a medical provider.
3. Use Supplements
Mental Health America recommends a few helpful dietary supplements, such as Omega-3 or fish oil. The National Institute of Health has a division dedicated to complementary and alternative medicine; check with a knowledgeable medical provider about supplements, follow the recommendations, and be cautious of interactions with other drugs.
4. Learn to Manage Stress
Coping with stress effectively can prevent a multitude of problems, both physical and mental. Basic life skills such as planning, prioritizing, organizing, and time management are critical to stress management.
Exercise and good nutrition are also important to stress management, as well as adequate sleep and much needed down time and relaxation.
5. Rest, Relaxation and Exercise
As noted above, rest, relaxation, and exercise are important in stress management and overall mental and physical health. Exercise is recommended to manage and/or prevent anxiety and depression, and is of course great for losing weight, building muscle, and gaining strength.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Recreational Drug Use and Abuse
Alcohol use in moderation has been reported to have some health benefits. However, some people are susceptible to misuse or addiction, which can have devastating results.
Alcohol use can negatively affect your sleep, and it may also cause depression as it works as a central nervous system depressant. An occasional glass of wine at special events is safe for most people, but those who have a family history of alcohol dependence should abstain to be totally safe.
Recreational drug use, including misuse of prescription drugs, can be dangerous and should be avoided entirely.
7. Ask for Help During Difficult Times
Know when to ask and how to receive help during difficult times.
Depending on the circumstances, reaching out to talk about it with family or friends may be sufficient.
Other times, professional help may be beneficial. Whatever the need, reach out and connect with others for support.
How Do You Care For Your Mental Health?
I’d love for you to share your tips in a comment below, or better yet, stop by my Facebook page and join in the conversation there! Also, be sure to check out this article for 5 things happy people do everyday!
Grab This Free Mental Health 101 Fact Sheet
Want to learn more about taking care of your mental health? Grab this FREE fact sheet for some interesting information to make taking care of yourself just a little bit easier!