Sure, diet and exercise help. But so does opening up to a friend.
Mental health is much more than a diagnosis. It’s your overall psychological well-being the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.
Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. When we perceive our self and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
Gratitude has been clearly linked with improved well-being and mental health, as well as happiness. The best-researched method to increase feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list. Generally contemplating gratitude is also effective, but you need to get regular practice to experience long-term benefits. Find something to be grateful for, let it fill your heart, and bask in that feeling.
Being mindful of the present moment allows us to let go of negative or difficult emotions from past experiences that weigh us down. Start by bringing awareness to routine activities, such as taking a shower, eating lunch, or walking home. Paying attention to the physical sensations, sounds, smells, or tastes of these experiences helps you focus. When your mind wanders, just bring it back to what you are doing.
Knowing you are valued by others is important for helping you think more positively. Plus, being more trusting can increase your emotional well-being because as you get better at finding the positive aspects in other people, you become better at recognizing your own.
Research shows that being helpful to others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. Being helpful and kind and valued for what you do is a great way to build self-esteem. The meaning you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life.
In those moments when it all seems like too much, step away, and do anything but whatever was stressing you out until you feel a little better.
Sometimes the best thing to do is a simple breathing exercise:
Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. For each one, count to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then exhale for another four. This works wonders almost immediately.
Source: Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D., MBA
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