There are more and more mental disorders coming out of the woodwork and getting public recognition. Phobias, anxiety, depression, and many others are no longer a taboo topic, and there is an increasing number of health institutions and volunteer organizations that help people who are having trouble coping with stress and trauma.
Apart from reaching out to these organizations (which is something many of us avoid due to stigma), there are also a few things we can do on an individual level that protect our mental health. Here are a few tips.
Proper exercise increases the levels of hormones in our body that are used to alleviate pain and make us happy. It sets up a rhythm in our day-to-day life which is essential for the people who don’t see the point in getting out of bed. Furthermore, as we progress and beat our personal bests, we start to feel good about ourselves and the feeling of not being able to handle life gradually becomes smaller. Consider making exercise a part of your daily routine.
A little bit of disclosure here – I am a stress eater. That means I tend to pig out whenever I am faced with a life situation I can’t handle. This is neither healthy nor recommended, except in cases you want to treat yourself a little (emphasis on ‘little’). Proper nutrition with a balanced diet provides our bodies with energy and building blocks necessary to keep it operating on an optimal level. A healthy body means a healthy mind. Incorporate it with your exercise for the full effect.
Break the Cycle
Stress, anxiety, and viewing life in a cynical and pessimistic manner not only reduces your lifespan, but it also makes the remaining time unbearable. You may have heard that misery seeks company. Let me tell you that this statement is certainly true – it is much easier to view the world as a cold and dark place if you are in the company of people doing the same.
For this reason, you have to break the cycle and do something new and productive. Volunteer in a cause, take piano lessons, go for a hike – anything that is either productive or will make you feel good. That being said…
Avoid Risky Behavior
Babies have pacifiers. Adults have more complicated cravings, and the majority of them are unhealthy. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and too much time dedicated to video games are just some of the ways people deal with reality. Like a pacifier, some of these methods can be tolerated short-term. However, when they are no longer a crutch, but something you start your week with, some changes may be in order.
Avoid risky behavior. This doesn’t just mean avoiding the actions, but also the places and people that may make you succumb to temptation. Socializing is one of the keys to having good mental health, but not if that means spending all your time with individuals who bring nothing to the table. It sounds cruel (and it is), but a change of scenery should be considered.
At the beginning of this article, I’ve mentioned organizations, hotlines, and the like that are there to help people protect their mental health. While they are more than willing to do so, the first step has to be taken by you. Once you seek help, you are already halfway there.