Make Mental Health and Well-being for All a Global Priority
The World Health Organization has declared this year’s theme for World Mental Health Day, “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority”. Far too often, the norm of society is to place more attention on physical health, despite the countless number of well-vetted sources that confirm how much of a role our mental health plays in our overall well-being. The healthier we are mentally, the greater chance we have at maintaining a healthier physical self.
It is important to note that we cannot always control the physical state of our bodies. There are diseases and disorders that impact the body by way of means beyond our control. In knowing that, it is also essential for us to pay attention to the impact that our physical health has on our mental health. Living with a scary diagnosis, experiencing chronic pain, or noticing the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle, can all lead to an undesirable state of mental well-being. Unfortunately, often by the time we notice the toll that has been taken, bringing ourselves out of that unhealthy space can become a daunting task to face.
One of the recommendations from many experts that seems to be helpful is to create a routine that supports a healthier state of overall well-being. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary or overly time-consuming. It just needs to work for you, and it needs to be incorporated into the flow of daily life, both intentionally and consistently.
Here is an example of 10 ways to improve mental health:
- Meditate and express gratitude. Daily meditation can set the tone for a more peaceful and clear-headed way to take on the day, and doing so with gratitude can remind us of how fortunate we are in the midst of it all.
- Practice stretching, yoga, or workout sessions. Exercise helps to decrease depression and anxiety and can improve mood. Even short sessions done consistently yield desirable results.
- Write down your daily goals, affirmations, and intentions. Setting realistic goals/intentions and reciting positive mantras are key ways to filling our headspace with optimism, versus doubts.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods that support brain health. Having the knowledge on what to feed our brain is essential to healthy brain function. Identifying those “brain foods” that can easily be incorporated into our daily eating habits is key.
- Make social connection a priority, especially face-to-face. Spending quality time with loved ones and having a positive social circle can make a world of difference in our daily lives.
- Practice timely sleep patterns. Paying attention to our circadian rhythm and listening to our bodies as it relates to sleep needs is vital. Our bodies need sleep for numerous functions that we rely on daily. Having a healthy sleeping pattern is an easy way to help maintain good health.
- Value yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, grace, and respect, and try to avoid self-criticism.
- Practice self-care. Develop a self-care plan that appeals to your senses and breaks up the monotony of the daily “humdrum”.
- Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. Doing something tangible to help someone in need tends to make us feel good. It can also lead to widening one’s social circle in positive ways.
- Seek appropriate help when you need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. People who get appropriate care and support when in need are more likely to decrease day-to-day stress levels.