Many people lead such busy lives that they often forget to check on the status of their mental health. Ironically, it is this tendency to put mental health way down on our list of priorities that mental health issues are becoming such a major cause for concern today. However, there are ways you can gradually improve your mental health while focusing on other activities and events that matter to you. Check out these four healthy habits that can boost your mental health over time even if you aren’t aware of it.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Your body needs sufficient sleep each night in order for your muscles to rest and recover. Sleep also helps your brain to process new experiences, remove toxins that build up during the day, and form new neural pathways that let you learn and form new memories. If you are not getting enough sleep don’t be surprised if you feel overstressed and fatigued.
Sleep also has a significant impact on your mood. People who are getting enough restful sleep tend to be more positive, motivated, cooperative, and resilient. While you may think you need to burn the midnight oil to get work done, studies show that individuals who get adequate sleep are more productive at work or in school. People who are sleep deprived also tend to be more irritable, unfocused, and depressed.
2. Drink A Lot Of Clean Water
Several studies have proven that there is a direct relationship between dehydration and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. One study conducted in 2014 found that people who typically drink a lot of water felt more tense, anxious and less content when their water consumption was reduced. Interestingly, everyone who increased their water consumption had a happier mood regardless of how much water they typically drank.
In another study conducted in 2018, researchers discovered that people who drank less water had a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety than individuals who consumed more water. Water consumption is especially important if you live in a hot climate. For example, if you live in Texas, it is important to keep a bottle of pure, filtered water with you as Texas is known for its hot summers and warm winters. Avoid drinking water that has an unpleasant smell or taste as these are signs that the water is contaminated.
3. Exercise Regularly
Physical exercise has many positive effects on your body and mind. For example, seeing the beneficial impact of exercise on your physical appearance can give a significant boost to your self-esteem. Many people who start a regimen of regular exercise often report an improvement in their sex life. It’s also a great way to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Besides staying fit, regular physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your brain function and lift your mood. Exercise facilitates the secretion of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all of which help to elevate your mood and fight depression. Exercise is also one of the most effective and healthy ways to relieve stress and anxiety. You can harness any negative energy that you feel and use it to fuel more powerful movements during your workout.
4. Introduce Healthier Meals Into Your Diet
Many people love junk food and it can definitely make you happy, at least temporarily. However, eating an excessive amount of junk food over an extended period of time can have a devastating impact on your physical and mental health. These foods do not provide your body with the nutrition it needs to function properly and stay strong. They may also contribute to the development of eating disorders, food addiction, and a negative body image.
On the contrary, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts provide you with all the nutrition you need to stay physically healthy. A healthy diet also helps with emotional regulation so you can keep your feelings under control during stressful moments. A number of studies indicate that regularly consumption of healthy foods can help fight some symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also improve your ability to focus so you can perform better in school or at work.
Maintaining good daily habits can have an enormous positive impact on your overall well-being. Scientists are doing more studies to deepen their understanding of the human psyche and an increasing number of people are becoming more aware of the mind-body connection. If you would like to improve your quality of life, why not try to pick up one or two of the healthy habits mentioned in this article? You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly these strategies work and how good they make you feel.