17 Tips To Boost Your Mental Health
Did you know September is National Suicide Prevention Month? We want to take a moment to encourage you to care for yourself this month. Here are some helpful tips to boost your own mental health.
1. Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish each day.
2. Schedule a getaway. It could be camping with friends or a trip to the beach. The act of planning a vacation and having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks!
3. Keep it cool for a good night's sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Try Something New. Experiment with a new recipe, write a poem, paint or try a Pinterest project. Creative expression and overall well-being are linked to overall happiness.
5. Show some love to someone in your life. Close, quality, relationships are key to a happy, healthy life.
6. Boost brainpower by treating yourself to a couple of pieces of dark chocolate every few days. The flavanoids, caffeine, and theobromine in chocolate are thought to work together to improve alertness and mental skills.
7. Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy, or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.
8. Go off the grid. Leave your smartphone at home for a day and disconnect from constant emails, alerts, and other interruptions. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face.
9. Dance around while you do your housework. Not only will you get chores done, but dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body's "feel-good" chemicals).
10. Relax in a warm bath once a week. Try adding Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress.
11. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.
12. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone - cortisol and boosts oxytocin - which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at a shelter.
13. Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.
14. Send a thank you note - not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.
15. Do something with friends and family - have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend 6-7 hours with friends and family.
16. Take 30 minutes to go for a walk in nature - it could be a stroll through a park or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.
17. Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.
Sections of this article first appeared on Mental Health America.