Your mind can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy, depending on how you look after it. Many people are aware of the importance of looking after their bodies, but not so many are aware that you can also take good care of your mind. In order to encourage greater mental health awareness, we have put together some mental health tips that have been approved by both therapists and health practitioners.
Mental Health Awareness: Why mental health is important
When we look after our minds and practice good mental health, it is far easier for us to handle stress, cope with challenges and other problems. Mental health refers to our overall psychological well-being. Being mentally healthy is more than just being free of depression or anxiety, rather it indicates the presence of positive characteristics like a positive attitude, a sense of well-being, a zest for life, having a sense of purpose, an ability to deal with stress and the flexibility to adapt to change.
5 daily mental health tips
Here are some mental health tips to promote mental health and your overall psychological well-being:
Have a healthy diet
The mind and body are tightly connected and every piece of food we eat and glass of liquid we drink affects our mental health. Their effect might not be immediate but they add up in the end. Eating a diet rich in fish oils, vitamin B, fresh fruit and vegetables can help promote healthy mental health. For specific details, consult a nutritionist on how you can improve your mental health through herbal supplements and a balanced diet.
Therapists have known for many years that regular exercise promotes positive endorphins that help beat depression and stress. Exercising for 30 minutes a day releases chemicals that improve your mental health on a neurological level.
Practice mindfulness and mediation
Taking 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and practice breathing slowly in and out can help reduce negative thoughts and stress. Walking through nature can have a similar effect. You can even build mindfulness routines into your daily life. For example, when you eat, focus on the taste of the food and the experience of eating. When you shower, focus on the feeling of the water and the smell of your soap. Drawing yourself back into your present state of being rather than worrying about something in the future or ruminating on past events can have an overall positive effect on your mental health.
A lot of stress and anxiety arises from focusing on things we want or don’t have. People often place constraints on their happiness, feeling that they will only be happy if they have a certain item or achieve a specific goal. Practising gratitude by focusing on the small things in life that we enjoy frees us from these constraints and helps us focus on the positive things in our life. Many therapists encourage their patients to keep a gratitude journal, where they document daily different things they are grateful for. Practising gratitude helps people feel happier and builds more fulfilling relationships.
Put down your screens and increase your social interactions. Many studies have shown that people who have a strong sense of community and interact with their friends and family regularly live happier and longer lives. Start today by calling a friend or a loved one and arrange to meet up. If you feel you need to widen your circle of friends, consider joining a local community group or a networking group. Don’t be afraid to say hello to the people who cross your path on a daily basis – from the shopping assistants to your parking attendants. Any connection you make is beneficial to both of you.
If you are a South African living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through the process of financial emigration from South Africa, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.