Mental health is much like physical health, it requires thought, attention, and concerted actions. Everyone’s state of mental health is a unique cocktail of their brain chemistry, their experiences, and their emotional well-being. Over the past few years, there has been a shift towards recognizing the importance of mental health wellness, and how we can improve our lives through little actions each day. While each person is different, here are some tips for mental health wellness to guide you through 2020.
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it anywhere, anytime. Being aware and mindful of your body and feelings is the starting point for any kind of mental health wellness, to know and recognize where you are before you can make attempts to correct or maintain.
Increased heart rate, sweating, stomach cramps, or other anxiety-driven reactions are your body’s way of letting you know that you need to take a step back before responding or engaging in the situation at hand. By recognizing these reactions as they come up, you can give yourself time to step away, calm your nerves and return to your physical baseline before engaging, allowing your mind to process and accept the information in real-time.
Feelings, Thoughts, and Behavioral Patterns
Another tip in awareness is thinking critically about your feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns. Addressing the state of these things through journaling, drawing, or talking it out is a great way to recognize where you are at physically and emotionally without passing any judgment on yourself. From this place of recognition, you can move on to accepting and course correcting, if needed.
Breathing exercises are not just to calm you down physically. The process of focusing on your breathing, whether it’s through a counting system or just a simple inhale-exhale pattern, breathing exercises are proven to slow your heart rate and help clear your mind of intrusive thoughts, allowing a positive mindset to settle in.
Setting boundaries should be the motto of 2020. In doing this, you have control over what you accept and reject
your sphere of influence. If you hate doing something, but still feel obligated, set that hard boundary. If there are some topics you don’t want to talk about, set that boundary. This leaves you with a sense of control in your life that allows your mind to fill with positive energy.
Good Sleep Hygiene
All the mindfulness in the world may be for nothing without a consistent and solid sleep routine. We refer to this as sleep hygiene. Trying to go to bed at the same time every night, making sure your environment is suited for your needs and falling asleep in a peaceful manner all contribute to mental health wellness.
On a similar note to sleep hygiene, practicing self-care can be a fun and multi-faceted approach to mental health wellness. Self-care can be anything from drinking a quiet cup of coffee in the morning to watching your favorite show at night to unwind. It’s a unique and personal expression of unraveling your thoughts and mind, suited especially to you.
Talk to Someone
While this tip might not be possible for everyone, talking to a therapist is an excellent step in your mental health wellness journey. Even if you feel like everything in your life is going great, having an unbiased ear listen to your life allows us to gain insight into our emotions and thoughts while being held accountable.
2020 might be the year we shatter the stigma around therapy- let’s hope so! Your health matters and that includes our mental health!