World Mental Health Day: How to improve mental health?

Mental health is given due attention. It’s possible that you’ve seen discussions about mental health issues on TV, in a series, in your favorite show, or even on social media. This is also because the prevalence of mental illness is increasing. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental disorder. This data is quite alarming and shows that we all need to be more open about it by removing the stigma attached to it. In this way, people suffering from mental health problems can easily find solutions.

Each mental health condition is different for each person and may require a different type of treatment. But for World Mental Health Day 2022, Health Shots is sharing some daily habits that can help you improve your mental health.

We contacted Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai to understand what daily habits can help improve or maintain mental health.

how to improve mental health
Keep an eye on your mental well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to the expert, taking care of yourself and making efforts to manage stress is important if you want to maintain mental well-being. You will never struggle with mental illness after learning how to control your stress levels. There will be peace and tranquility in your life.

Here are 5 habits that can help improve mental health

1. Gain self-confidence

Monitor your thoughts, behaviors, and resulting actions so you can become more objective and make better decisions. By gaining self-awareness, you can better understand yourself and even others. This helps in getting into a better state of mind, avoiding impulsive actions, and experiencing less stress. We often find it difficult to find time to improve our mental health. Make sure you reserve some “me” time for introspection and improvement.

2. Learn to deal with negativity

Decision-making can be made difficult when you are in a bad mood or circumstances. Examine the circumstances and look for constructive ways to combat negativity. Yoga and meditation practices can be helpful in these circumstances. Cognitive restructuring, which involves changing thinking to eliminate negative thoughts, can be used to rationalize thoughts. All-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, personalization, and catastrophizing are some examples of cognitive biases.

how to improve mental health
Keep calm instead of stressing yourself to improve mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Sometimes the situation can seem bleak and hopeless. In such circumstances, discussing things with a trusted friend or family member or asking for help to get through difficult times can be helpful.

Also read: Here are 5 ways you can improve your mental health in times of crisis

3. Keep track of your physical and mental health

Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Make sure your fitness level is checked regularly. Aim for a healthy weight and a positive relationship with food. Focus on fitness instead of just looking skinny. Diabetes, heart problems are known to be associated with anxiety and depression. Stress can worsen asthma, systemic hypertension, acne and hair loss.

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4. Be strict about screen timing and sleep mode

With the easy availability and diversity of OTT platforms, it becomes difficult to stay away from the screen, especially for children and young people. Consider setting a timer and deciding in advance how long you want to watch. Constantly using social media and dealing with cyberbullying can lead to stress and a variety of mental health issues. Be objective and take frequent breaks.

how to improve mental health
Too much screen time can impact both your eyes and your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Exercise, outdoor activities, and face-to-face interactions can all help re-establish yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep at night. After 9pm, try to avoid using screens and phones.

5. Practice mindfulness and be thankful

Mindfulness helps increase focus, improve productivity, and provides a sense of well-being. Mindfulness is about being in the moment during a specific task and avoiding distractions for that time.

It’s a good habit to be thankful for the little things you have in life. Practicing gratitude can help cope with stress and anxiety. You can write a gratitude journal or some rituals that are not religious but more humane.

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