The National Institute of Mental Health Disorders estimates that 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. If you find yourself in a position that you feel incapable of addressing on your own, there is no shame in seeking help. Just the same way we seek out doctors for our physical pain, we must also seek out help with mental or emotional pain.
On the other hand, there are some things you could start doing today that would be very helpful in improving your mental health.
Depression and anxiety tend to take us outside the present. We may be concerned about the future or the past. However, a gratitude mindset is very helpful in keeping us present and focused on the things we often take for granted. Keep a journal of all the things you are grateful for, from the big things like family to the often unnoticed things such as the soothing feeling of a warm beverage going down your throat.
Lens of possibility
It is very helpful to see life through the lens of what is possible. It is very easy when life doesn’t go your way to begin feeling as though things may never change. Aim to keep a positive mindset. You will be surprised to find that by thinking positively, you begin to experience more positivity. You will also be healthier as you produce more happy hormones.
Get into the habit of getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. You will feel more rejuvenated, make better decisions and be overall happier and more productive.
Eat and drink well
You will feel like what you ate. Ensure that your meals are colorful, flavorful and filled with life giving foods (i.e fruits and vegetables). A balanced salad with some leafy greens, quinoa and avocado is going to give you more energy than a bowl of pasta which will most often make you drowsy. Drink tons of water as your beverage of choice and enjoy the benefits.
Be nice to YOU
Take some time for self-care. You are no good to anyone else if you are frazzled and stressed. Find ways to decompress and relax. Read a book. Take a long soak in the tub. Exercise. Do something just for fun. Most importantly, speak nicely to yourself about yourself and be gentle with yourself.
Give yourself away
Find ways to reach out and give of yourself to others. Volunteer in your community. Call someone who needs a listening ear or whom you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Give someone a surprise. Extending beyond ourselves is a great way to gain perspective and it just feels good making someone else’s day.
To your mental health,
Dona Cooper-Dockery, MD