Feeling blue? Depressed? Read this! We’ll show you nine effective ways to improve your mental health. You can start practicing them today!
We all get down on ourselves sometimes. But you don’t have to unpack and stay there. Instead, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you break through a bad day.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Just as you need to develop healthy habits for the sake of your body, you also need to develop good habits for your mind’s sake.
This list can help you cope with stress, overcome feelings of sadness, and tackle the day with more energy.
1. Get Up and Move
One of the best ways to combat a bad day is to get active. When you exercise, your body releases happy hormones like serotonin, which gives you a burst of energy and high spirits.
Certain types of exercise are better for different types of bad feelings.
Anxious? Try knocking your anxiety to the curb with boxing.
Sad? You’ll be hard-pressed to feel bad when you are dancing around the living room.
Stressed? A relaxing yoga session is all you need to relieve those symptoms.
And if you can’t get to the gym, don’t worry. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home!
2. Eat Healthily
When your brain gets the right nutrients, it feels much better. You can always take vitamins, but you’ll have a much higher vitamin absorption rate when you eat real, nutritious foods.
There are even certain foods that have been proven to improve your brain function. When you eat healthy foods like fish, nuts, beans, and leafy greens, you’ll face fewer sad days than if you were to eat a lot of junk.
Speaking of junk, you should limit your sugar intake and cut out processed foods entirely. The lack of nutrients and chemicals in them can cause big swings in blood sugar, which creates highs and lows in our mood.
Hydrate often, too, as this helps to flush out mind and mood-altering toxins from your blood.
3. Write Your Feelings Down
It’s easy to journal about your feelings. But as easy as it is, putting your feelings into words can help you to process them better.
Writing in about your daily struggles, feelings, and emotions helps you get it out of your head and down on paper. Once it’s there, you can see it and analyze it. Sometimes, this process can help you recognize things you couldn’t in the past.
When you see a pattern develop, this helps you recognize your triggers. Then, you can avoid or confront the things that are bothering you. Many people also claim writing their feelings down makes them feel more in control.
And if you aren’t a pen-and-paper person, you can journal on your phone or laptop. Apps like Evernote are great for journaling — no pen or paper necessary!
4. Spend Time in Nature
Fresh air and sunshine are often the cures for a bad day. Whether you go for a walk around the block, take a hike in the mountains, or lounge in the sun, you should find ways to spend more time outdoors.
You can even spend time in the garden, which provides a double dose of good feelings since you’ll be spending time with nature and doing something productive.
According to some studies, vitamin D from the sun may even help you to combat the symptoms of depression.
5. Make Plans
Sometimes when you are feeling down, all you need to do is think about the future. Making plans gives you hope for a better day.
What can you do in the next few days, weeks, or months to make yourself happier? Something as simple as planning a more structured week can help.
But if you really need something to look forward to, there are many more exciting things that you can plan.
Why not plan a vacation for the upcoming year? Or maybe you would like to host a party for your friends.
Whatever the plans are, it helps you to get out of your current emotional state and think about a more hopeful future, which can be enough to break a bad day.
Meditation has long been a way to increase self-awareness and achieve a healthy mental state. You can use the power of meditation to cure a bad mood.
Most people consider meditation a deep, ohm-filled period sitting with crisscrossed legs, eyes closed. Truthfully, there are many different forms of meditation.
For you, meditation might just be the stress-free act of coloring a picture sitting quietly and focusing on your breath for a few minutes.
7. Fake It
Fake it? Easier said than done, right?
Well, even though you might not feel like doing it, just putting on a smile can bring you some form of contentment. Try feeling bad when you’re smiling all day.
Not only will smiling help you feel better, but you’ll receive a bunch of smiles from other people in return. Seeing happiness in others can make you feel happy, too.
Another way to trick yourself into a happy mood is to find the good in everything. Instead of being a Debbie Downer, shift your focus to the good of a situation. It’s there somewhere, you just need to find it.
Developing this habit helps you to ward off depression in the future. It teaches you to feel gratitude in the little things. Making a list of three things that you are thankful for every day will remind you that there are always things to be happy about.
Being on the receiving side of gratitude can also help you feel good about yourself, knowing that you’ve done something good for others. So, get out there and do good things!
Lastly, if you need to fake being happy until you genuinely feel it, call or visit the happiest person you know. Happiness is contagious, and when you spend time with them, you’ll catch it.
8. Be Your Own Best Friend
No one understands what you’re going through better than you, so practice self-compassion. Find some positive affirmations that you can tell yourself to help you get through rough patches.
You could also do a little retail therapy and buy yourself something nice. There’s no shame in that if it makes you feel better!
Are you feeling stressed out? A self-care day may be what you need. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure, or go out and treat yourself to a professional one. You can also just take a bubble bath, watch your favorite movie, and give yourself a self-massage. All of these things can lift your spirits at least a little bit.
9. Change Your Environment
Your environment can have a big impact on your mental health. When you optimize your environment, you’ll see a drastic change in your emotions.
Aside from getting outside, you can clean your house to make you feel better. A messy house can cause stress, but a clean, uncluttered home can add peace and tranquility.
You can even take things one step further and redecorate. If your house feels cluttered, rearrange your furniture for more flow. Hang beautiful or inspiring art to give your home a more personal touch.
Another way to change your environment is to take a break from electronics. An onslaught of notifications and the business of the internet can cause us to be overstimulated and anxious.
Turn off your cell phone, TV, computers, and tablets, and just spend some time in uninterrupted quiet. You’ll be amazed by how much it changes your mood!
Sometimes, it may seem like you just can’t shake the blues, no matter what you try. If you feel like you suffer from persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, now is not the time to shut yourself in.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There’s no shame in it.
Just as you wouldn’t lay in bed with an infection when you know you need treatment, you shouldn’t forgo getting help for your mental health.
Jill Bowers is the Property Manager at Industry Columbus. As a Columbus native, Jill is excited to work on this game-changing project that brings a new amenity offering to the Downtown Columbus market.
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