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Quotation

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson
 


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A Guide to Better Mental Health

Mental health plays a huge role in your overall health, well-being and fitness. There are various measures you can take to ensure your mental health remains in top shape.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is extremely necessary for optimal mental and physical health. Sleep offers the chemicals in your brain a chance to rest and rejuvenate. These chemicals directly affect your emotions and moods so if you do not get adequate sleep, you may end up feeling anxious or depressed.
 
The Sleep Foundation offers various insights on how you can sleep better as well as how you can tackle problems with sleeping.
 
Eat Well
 
What you eat does not only affect your body but your mind as well. There are certain deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies that can contribute to having a low mood. You should always strive to eat a balanced diet. If you are generally an anxious or easily-stressed person, it is best to limit or avoid stimulating substances such as caffeine as they cause you to feel even more anxiety and jitters as well.
 

Avoid Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs

Drinking and smoking are not often associated with harsh withdrawal symptoms when compared to hard drugs, however, they still have a huge impact on your overall mental well-being. If you have a couple of drinks today, you may tend to feel more anxious and depressed the next day and this can cause difficulties in concentration. Prolonged excessive consumption of alcohol can cause thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is a chemical compound that promotes cognitive function and lack of it can lead to eye problems, confusion, coordination or motor problems and severe memory problems as well. If you smoke, the periods in between smokes can be characterized with increased irritability and anxiety because both your brain and body go into withdrawal.
 
Other drugs and substances cause similar withdrawal effects such as anxiety and extremely low moods. More severe side effects such as delusions and paranoia are also very common. Numerous studies have also shown that long term drug use can lead to the development of mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
 

Get Plenty of Sunlight

The sun is the ultimate source of Vitamin D. This very important vitamin helps both our bodies and brains to stay healthy. Vitamin D stimulates the brain to release various chemicals that make us feel better such as serotonin and endorphins. Make a point to get adequate exposure to the sun whenever you can but do not spend a lot of time out there. Make sure to protect your eyes and skin against damage. During winter, it is common for people to feel depressed because of lack of exposure to the sun. This is a disorder commonly known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can also use a light therapy lamp to achieve the same results.
 

Manage Stress

 

 
It is almost impossible to avoid stress but you can manage it effective by knowing what triggers it so that you can maintain optimal mental health. You can start by identifying your responsibilities and obligations and then come up with a plan of how you will resolve these issues one at a time. By breaking down your stresses and worries into individual issues, you are able to see how much easier it is to manage your situation. A psychotherapist will always suggest that you avoid running away from your problems and instead face them head on. If you have trouble sleeping because you are constantly thinking about all the problems you have to deal with, you can write everything that is worrying you on a piece of paper and reassure yourself that you will handle everything immediately you wake up.
 

Stay Active and Exercise

Stay Active and Exercise

Staying active and exercising contributes a lot to good mental health. Staying active does not only make you feel good but it also promotes the release of chemicals in your brain that enhance your mood. Exercise can help to tackle laziness, feelings of fatigue, stress, anxiety and low mood.
 
You do not have to play a 90-minutes football match or run a marathon. All you need is a short walk or jog or any activity that will get you moving and sweating.
 
Browse through our Sports and Exercise section to get some ideas on how you can stay active.
 

Do Something You Enjoy

Always set aside enough time to do something that you enjoy. It can be anything from watching a TV show or painting or going for long walks. The key thing is to have some time set aside for doing what you love. Failure to do this can lead to feelings of sadness and irritability.
 
If you need assistance on things you can do or events you can attend, take a look at our Things To Do sections and find out what is happening in your area.
 

Socialize

Socialize

Make an effort to talk to people and maintain healthy relationships whenever you can. Friends are important as they help to boost your self-esteem as well as provide support whenever you not in a good place. Studies have shown that simply talking to people for just 10 minutes can lead to better memory capacity and improved test scores.
 
Our Social Activities pages and our Events Calendar can help you to find new people to interact and socialize with.
 

Do Things For Others

When you help others, it is not just the people you help who benefit as you also benefit as well. When you help someone, your self-esteem goes up and you feel better about the role you play in the world. Having a sense of belonging in the community is very important to your mental well-being. You can try visiting homeless shelters, going for local charities, volunteering or just being a good neighbor.
 

Ask For Help

Ask For Help

A very important part of staying mentally fit is to ask for help when you are not in a good place. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you are feeling stressed or depressed. Everyone goes through a period when they feel low. You can reach out to family or friends or if you think your mental health situation is very bad, you can seek help from a professional doctor.
 
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