Many people don’t understand mental health problems and feel uncomfortable talking about them. That adds to the shame many people think. Mental health problems are common, but people often don’t talk about them or get help. Mental health problems affect one in four adults in any given year. In the new year, spend some time improving your mental health and focus on these five tips for a better lifestyle.
1. Consider Taking Micro-Breathers
Consider taking micro-breathers. In the same way that you sometimes need a day off from exercise or a break from doing nothing but eating chocolate, your mind needs to rest, too. You could even think of it as a spiritual timeout. The idea is that, instead of getting lost in your thoughts, you intentionally stop and shift your attention to focusing on the present moment. This can be done anytime and anywhere, but it’s beneficial when you find yourself stuck in a loop of negative thoughts or if you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything going on around you.
If this practice seems foreign to you, take heart – you’re not alone. One study found that up to 95% of people didn’t know how to breathe correctly (and it’s probably not the way you were taught). Here’s how: Inhale through your nose and into your belly, so it rises with breath; then exhale slowly through your mouth until all the air has been expelled; repeat several times; try not to be judgmental about doing it right or wrong; just let go and enjoy breathing! How often should you do this? As many times per day as feels good for you. It can be helpful both at work and during leisure time, such as when listening to music or spending time with family, friends, and pets.
2. Spend Time in Nature
According to the National Wildlife Federation, spending time in nature has many benefits for your mental health and general lifestyle. It can relax your mind and body but promotes a sense of well-being. It can dissolve stress, anger, and frustration. When you are in nature, you breathe better and sleep better at night. Statistics show that 92% of homeowners adding plants to their yards use native species in their area. You may try your hand at gardening new plants in your own yard, as it’s a relaxing and fulfilling hobby that allows you to be in nature!
3. Try Yoga or Meditation
You can try yoga. Yoga has been shown to improve flexibility and strength while reducing stress. A regular yoga practice can also help you relax, which is excellent for your mental health. All that time spent on your mat is a perfect way to reduce stress and find peace in your day-to-day life.
Try meditation or mindfulness practices. Studies show that meditating can help reduce stress and anxiety. Other research shows that mindfulness practices may be as effective at treating depression as antidepressants without unwanted side effects.
4. Get Enough Sleep
For most adults, getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is essential for overall health and well-being. Sleep is an integral part of your daily routine; you spend about one-third of your time doing it! Quality sleep, and getting enough of it at the correct times, can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
5. Think of Your Body As a Temple
A well-balanced diet and a healthy exercise routine are two pillars of a healthy mind. A regular exercise regimen can improve both your physical health and your mental wellness, as it releases endorphins that can elevate your mood. Keep in mind that researchers discovered that energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® caused twice as much enamel loss as sports beverages such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1% to 1.5%).
Overall, focusing on your mental health is a great way to boost your lifestyle. It’s not another resolution, but a series of small, attainable goals can impact your overall health. Pick a few items from our list and give them a try.