We all have those days where we are just feeling low. Maybe work life has us under abnormal pressure or we’re feeling strain on our family life. Our mental health can struggle due to things such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Regardless of the reason, here are 10 easy things you can do to boost your overall mental health.
We’ve all heard laughter is good medicine and that’s actually true. Scientific studies show that laughing can be an instant mood booster because it’s a positive sensation. Laughter is also therapy in and of itself and is similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It decreases stress-making hormones found in the blood and lowers levels of cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone (Check out this HGH booster supplement), and other stress-inducing chemicals. When we encounter something that makes us laugh like watching out favorite comedy or listening to a friend share a funny story, our brains release happy chemicals called endorphins. When we laugh, these chemicals make us feel so much better in the moment and can help with things like depression that may have us feeling down.
2. Listen To Music
Hearing a favorite song or just a beautiful melody can do wonders for our mental health. There are reasons why people often refer to music as healing. It’s also why we often pick music to fit our mood or allow it to help us identify what we are feeling. Music has the power to calm and relax us, reducing stress in the process. The scientific reasoning behind this is that when we hear music, the part of our brain that feels emotion is activated. The various parts of our brain are also synchronized and the regions responsible for memory are also triggered. We may suddenly remember sentimental moments that are dear to us. Music activates nearly all of our brain, helping our overall health. Music can also boost your mood by giving you a surge of energy if the music is upbeat. So, if you’re feeling down, put your favorite tune on and see what happens.
3. Focus on Gratitude
We as humans have certain thought patterns. If we get stuck in negative thought patterns, then we tend to feel negative about the things around us, including our current circumstances. These thought patterns are known as cognitive distortions. Things like therapy can help identify those patterns and allow us to become aware so we can change them. For a quick boost to your mood though, you can start by listing things in a journal every day that you are grateful for. When we recognize the things that we are grateful for, we find that our view of things is more positive, and this can boost our overall mental health.
4. Eat Foods That Boost Your Mood
If your mood is low, why not boost it with foods that will make you feel better? Foods like fruits and leafy greens are especially good for your brain. It’s important to have a healthy and well-balanced diet to improve our overall mental health. Things like processed foods can lead to inflammation in our bodies and also our brains. This can negatively impact our mood by their contribution to mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. Other helpful foods are foods that have omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a good example of this. Eating nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils are great brain foods as well. A healthy diet can go a long way to boosting your mood.
Living an active lifestyle is super beneficial to your mental health. But our busy lifestyles can get in the way of our fitness, and we may have to look at other alternatives to help our brains out. The good news is that any form of exercise can help your mood and decrease stress, in fact, moving is stress management. Physical activity helps to increase the production of neurotransmitters called endorphins. This makes our brains feel good. Exercising regularly can help improve your mood, help you relax and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. All are good reasons to get out and move.
6. Be In Nature
Nature has a way of recentering us as humans. It can also improve our mental health and relieve stress. One study found that spending 20 minutes connecting with nature can reduce stress. Nature can lower stress hormone levels. Reconnecting with nature and being surrounded by it is a natural way of making us feel more like our best selves mentally.
When things are stressful in our lives, it’s difficult to just take it easy. The tension we bring with us stays in our muscles and makes us feel like it’s impossible to relax. But relaxation is exactly what we need at that moment. Pampering ourselves by reading an enjoyable book or taking a hot bath can really help us destress from a long and grueling day. Stress negatively impacts our mental health and relaxation is a boost that positively promotes it. This is because the relaxation response is the complete opposite of the stress response. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and meditation can be alternative ways to unwind as well.
8. Spend Time With Your Pet
Cuddling or petting a dog or cat can instantly boost our mood. When we are around animals, chemicals that make us feel happy are released. A study points directly to the powerful connection between our furry friends and us humans. It was found that when a dog owner looked into their pet’s eyes, the “love hormone,” oxytocin, was released. This isn’t just true for owners though. Pets had the same response in their own brains. This is why having these furry friends as companions in our lives can make an enormous difference in our wellbeing. Even taking time to volunteer at a shelter or fostering a pet can help you overall.
9. Be Around Friends
Friendship is an ally in the sometimes battle for your mental health. Having that one person that you can lean on, a confidant, or just someone that makes you feel better about the greater world is a true gift to your brain. Friends can boost your happiness, reduce stress, help you cope with difficult life situations and can be supportive of your health. Having a friend can even lower blood pressure. Taking time out of our busy schedules to spend it with friends is an easy mental health boost.
There is a reason why when we are upset that a hug can help or when we reunite with family that a hug feels so good. Scientists believe that support through touch like hugging can reduce the stress of the person needing comfort. The person doing the comforting can also reap the benefits. Hugging those closest to you can release a comforting chemical in your brain called oxytocin. This chemical has been nicknamed the “cuddle hormone” and is connected with reducing stress and feeling happy. Embraces also help you connect to loved ones in your life.
So, whether it’s experiencing an embrace from a trusted person, spending time with our beloved pets and friends, or exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, there are many ways to boost our mood and improve our overall mental health. Try one or all of these 10 easy ideas and see for yourself.
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