7 tips to strengthen your mental health
Especially in this day and age, this point takes on even greater importance. We humans are social creatures who are currently supposed to do the complete opposite of their actual nature - distance ourselves in order to protect each other. But of course this wears on our nerves. That makes it all the more important not to lose sight of each other and sit at home alone. This is where getting creative is called for. Meet more outside for walks in the fresh air. This kills two birds with one stone, because exercise in the fresh air also increases our well-being. Or maybe try video chatting. In contrast to talking on the phone, you can see the facial expressions of the person you're talking to. You can also have game nights or similar with your circle of friends via video chats. Being in contact with friends is food for the soul and strengthens your mental well-being.
2. Being kind to yourself
It is important to take good care of your own needs and not neglect yourself. This includes things like getting enough sleep, eating regularly and taking breaks. Listen to yourself and what is good for you. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you know and appreciate your strengths, it will be easier for you to accept your weaknesses without doubting yourself. You may also praise yourself from time to time.
3. Deal with your own feelings
As unpleasant as it sometimes is to deal with negative emotions, it is also important not to simply brush them aside. Letting out joy or other positive feelings and sharing them with others is usually easy for us. With negative feelings, such as sadness or anger, on the other hand, we often withdraw and resort to strategies such as the bar of chocolate or the distraction of the television. But this repression of emotions puts a strain on our psyche. Feelings need space and if we deal with them, we can consciously counteract them or give them expression. This can look very different. Some people find it good to let out their anger while dancing or to write down their thoughts and feelings. We can also express our feelings by painting or in conversations with our friends.
4. Focus on the positive
How you look at things also affects your mood and mental well-being. If you are mentally stuck in the moments when you did not succeed in something, then you will also approach new tasks more pessimistically. If, on the other hand, you look at things that you have done well, you will be much more motivated. You can influence what you focus on yourself. If you have been the glass-is-half-empty type so far, it takes a little practice to change your focus. It could be helpful to keep a diary in which you write down three things every day that you did well or for which you are grateful that day. In addition, it can be helpful to reformulate negative beliefs into positive ones. Such positive formulations can be, for example, the following: "I am strong." or "I have confidence in myself and my abilities. It is best to say these sentences aloud to yourself every day and look at yourself in the mirror.
Lack of exercise not only harms our bodies, but also our psyches. Studies have come to the conclusion that physical activity has a similar effect on depression as drug therapy and can even prevent relapses. Particularly in the case of depression, which is characterized by a lack of drive, it seems to be very difficult to become active. It is therefore important to find the right amount and type of exercise for each individual so as not to overexert oneself. What kind of exercise do you enjoy the most? Even independent of mental illness, exercise and sport can help you to improve your mood and strengthen your mental well-being.
The right diet can also improve our mental well-being. Have you heard the saying, "Food and drink keep body and soul together."? Research has now confirmed this saying. Because certain foods stimulate the production of serotonin, which is colloquially known as the happiness hormone. Foods that contain tryptophan are particularly important. These are, for example, cheese, nuts, eggs, soybeans and meat. In combination with carbohydrates, these foods have the most effective effect.
But even independent of these processes in the brain, good food makes you happy. Some dishes may remind you of your childhood and give you a feeling of security. Or you use food to take a break. Eating together with friends or family can also increase our sense of well-being.
Relaxation exercises can help you to go through the day calmly. In yoga, for example, both body and mind are addressed at the same time. By combining breathing exercises, mindfulness and stretching, more here inner peace is achieved. Meditation exercises can help focus more on the moment and break free from negative thought spirals. Mindfulness is also learned here, making one more aware of one's physical and mental states. Breathing exercises can help with acute stress. Stress usually causes us to breathe more shallowly. Through conscious breathing you can release tension and improve your well-being. Later I will introduce you to a breathing and a relaxation exercise that you can easily integrate into your everyday life.
Breathing and relaxation exercises for everyday life
I would like to give you a breathing exercise that you can use quite inconspicuously in your everyday life and with which you can release acute tension. Press your tongue against the top of your palate, directly behind your incisors. Inhale and count internally to 7, then hold your breath and count to 8, then exhale again and count to 9. If no one is present, exhale quietly and noisily through your slightly compressed lips. Repeat this until you feel calmer.
Another exercise for relaxation can be fantasy journeys/daydreams. Take 5 or 10 minutes and sit somewhere relaxed. Close your eyes. Where would you like to be right now? In the Caribbean, in the jungle or skiing in the mountains? Imagine this place in your mind's eye. What do you experience there? Who do you meet? What do you smell, hear and feel? Feel how you dive more and more into this world and how the stress of everyday life disappears. You can return to this world at any time when you need to relax.
Do you feel that all these tips and exercises are no longer helping you to get out of everyday stress, negative emotions or circles of thoughts? You think to yourself, "Reframe things in a positive way...pff...how can that possibly work? There's just nothing positive in my life." or you feel so listless that you can't motivate yourself to do anything? Even talking to friends doesn't bring the relief you were hoping for, or maybe you've already withdrawn from them?
At this point it might be helpful to consider psychotherapeutic support. You are not alone in this! Many people seek psychotherapeutic support on a short- or long-term basis to help them overcome the hurdles of everyday life or work through other difficult issues. At WePractice, we have a variety of experts who can help you strengthen your mental well-being and feel more balanced again.