Whether you are struggling with your mental health, or just want to stay on top of your mental health, there are many things you can be doing to take a proactive role in your life. When you take consistent action, you will guarantee yourself a happier, more fulfilling life. It is much better to develop healthy habits, for both your mind and body, to take a proactive approach to your mental health. Without these actions, you could leave it too late and instead, have to take a reactive approach, which can be much harder, and longer. Too often, society overlooks the importance of mental wellbeing, especially of those who appear okay on the outside. The truth is, you never know what someone is going through, or what is just around the corner.
Mental health conditions are a huge problem all around the world and are classed as one of the leading causes of death, disability, and chronic illnesses. Being proactive in your approach to mental health means developing self-awareness, and new healthy habits into your life that support your wellbeing.
Here are some of the best ways you can take a proactive approach to your mental health and take control of your life, wellbeing, and happiness.
Physical activity is great for physical and mental health. It is mainly promoted as a way to improve strength, joints, bones, and heart health, but it can benefit your mental wellbeing in a plethora of ways. For example, it can help you:
- Build self-esteem and confidence
- Cope with challenges better
- Experience more freedom
- Be sociable and feel a part of a community
- Release feel-good chemicals
There is a range of different exercises that you can choose from, for example, cycling, walking, swimming, high-intensity interval training, running, yoga, Pilates, dancing, weight lifting, and much more. It is important to find a type of exercise that you enjoy, so it doesn’t feel like a chore and make it hard for you to complete. As with anything though, starting to exercise will take a bit of hard work at first, as you develop it into a new routine.
Sleep and mental health are closely related. Poor sleep can impact the way you think, feel and behave during the day. If you suffer from poor mental health, that can impact your sleep by making it harder to fall asleep, wake up throughout the night, find it hard to get out of bed, feel tired all the time, sleep more than usual or wake up earlier than you would like. Sleeping problems can lead to increased feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Sleeping is an important process for your body, as it uses this time to mentally and physically recover from the day, and prepare for you the next. You should aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, so it is important to find a routine that works for you and enables you to wind down with adequate time at night, and wake up every day at the same time. You can also work with a medical professional to support you if you find sleep is something that you struggle with.
Learn coping skills
You don’t just need coping skills when you are struggling. Learning coping skills is a great way to be proactive, so you can learn how to regulate your emotions, and also have them in your toolkit to prepare you for a bad day, or even come in handy if a friend is having a bad day. Coping skills teach you to cope with difficult situations in a much better, calmer, positive, and more controlled way, and help to build resilience. There are many different coping skills, and everyone will respond differently to them, so it is important to find ones that work for you. Some of the most common coping skills are meditation and relaxation techniques, physical activity, reading, spirituality, reaching out to a friend, breathing techniques, walking, and many more.
Seeking medical support is vital for a healthy life. Whether you are suffering from your mental health, or not, seeking support is a great way to help you deal with any problems that may arise, and take actionable steps forward in living a more fulfilling life. Support can range from coaches, therapists, support groups, recovery centers, and much more, depending on what you are going through. You can speak to a medical professional to help you find treatment that best suits your current situation and severity of struggles.
Spending time with friends, family, colleagues, and people in your community is a great way to proactively support your mental wellbeing. Not only can it be fun, but humans are social by nature, which means that we thrive on socialization. If you isolate yourself, you are increasing your risks of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and poor mental health overall. Connecting with others can help you combat these mental health risks, as well as help you live a longer, fulfilling life, increase your happiness and self-esteem, and improve your memory and cognitive skills. Friends are also people you can lean on when you find yourself struggling, and having someone to talk to on a bad day is a huge stress reliever in itself. Friends also push you to be a better version of yourself, build your confidence, take more risks, travel more, and have more fun. Of course, it is important to socialize with the right kind of people, those who are a positive influence and make you feel good. If you find yourself surrounded by people who have the opposite effect, then it may be time to review where you are spending your time and energy and make some changes.
Building positive habits takes time, but if you can work on yourself consistently, you will find that you are much more in control of your life, and can deal with situations in a much healthier way, and bounce back quicker. These techniques, if done regularly, will help you feel more at ease with life, and be able to live with more clarity and less stress.