Being mentally and emotionally well takes work and doesn’t happen overnight. It’s learning how to cope with stress, build and maintain relationships with family and friends, overcome life’s daily challenges and recover from setbacks and hardships one day at a time. It’s more than just being free of mental health conditions. It’s about the way you feel about yourself, manage your feelings, and most importantly, having the presence of positive and hopeful attitudes and characteristics. Everyone experiences setbacks, good days and bad days. Being mentally and emotionally healthy is having the ability to bounce back from these difficulties.
Much like there are things a person can do to improve their overall physical health, there are simple and easy ways to boost or maintain mental and emotional health, too. Bonus: the mind and body are interconnected so it’s no surprise that doing good for your body will also do great things for your mind.
- Be physically active.
- Make social interaction a priority.
- Learn how to manage emotions and maintain healthy stress levels.
- Consume a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Sleep! Make it matter.
- Find meaningful purpose in life through relationships, volunteering, mission-driven work, caregiving, or engaging in leisurely enjoyable activities like art or music therapy, gardening, journaling or building something with your hands.
Create Your Calm
Alternative Approaches to Mental Health and Wellness
In general, relaxation techniques involve refocusing your attention to something calming and increasing awareness of your body. To reap the benefits of deep breathing, focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly leave them again. The hand on the chest should stay still, while the one over your diaphragm should rise with your breath. This is how you know the breath is deep enough. Breathe in for a count of five, and slowly release the breath through your nose at the same rate. Continue deep breathing until you feel relaxed.
Mindfulness can help ground you in the reality of what’s around you. Since panic attacks can cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality, mindfulness works to combat your panic attack before or as it is actually happening. Additional benefits include mental well-being, stress reduction, and increased calmness, clarity and concentration – to name a few.
For example, music and art therapy, journaling, reading or taking to a crossword puzzle.
Walking, yoga and stretching creates movement, changes the way we breathe and can provide sensory distraction helping to reduce the amount a person thinks about symptoms. Aerobic exercise can help treat mild depression as it increases endorphins and stimulates norepinephrine – improving a person’s mood.
Important nutrients found in food can affect brain chemistry, impact moods and improve memory and cognitive function. By maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet, and avoiding processed foods, you’re more likely to feel calmer, more content and generally in a better mood. Foods that adversely impact mood include caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugary snacks, refined carbs and fried food. Foods that can boost moods include omega-3s, nuts, avocados, flaxseed, beans, leafy greens and fresh fruit.
Include massage, acupuncture, meditation, faith, aromatherapy or hydrotherapy to create your calm.