Mental wellness. Everybody wants it, but it’s such an ambiguous concept. Taking care of your body is easy because it tells you when something is wrong: you break your leg, it hurts, you can’t walk. Then you can follow prescribed steps to fix the problem. Your mind is different, however. Each person experiences life differently and what causes emotional pain and suffering for one person can be completely different for another. Sometimes, you can’t even describe what is making you feel bad. Just because it’s difficult to put a finger on mental wellness, however, doesn’t me we can’t all take steps to improve our own. Here are a few ways to help yourself feel great mentally.
Imagine the feeling you get when you pull away from the curb, starting off on a long road trip. It’s a great feeling, one of excitement! You’re not quite sure how events will unfold, but you can’t wait to find out. There’s a bit of uncertainty, but that’s just what makes it interesting, and you can’t wait to reach your destination! Now imagine if every day could feel something like that. When you wake up in the morning, make yourself a list of things you’d like to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how big or small, if you aren’t feeling great, just plan to take a shower. When you check off a task, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. When you praise yourself, you will feel proud and excited to move on to your next goal. Goals aren’t just a daily thing either. Make some long-term goals; you’ll be surprised how great you feel when you’re not stagnant!
When you’re moping around in the mires of a miserable mood all you want to do is marinate in your bed. Would it surprise you to hear that self-pity isn’t going to make you feel better? If you spend all your time focusing on what is making you feel bad, how can you expect it to disappear? Rather, it will turn into a towering mountain of grouchiness and no amount of hours sitting in the dark watching Grey’s Anatomy is going to make it any smaller. Try going outside and walking for half an hour, or maybe even running if that’s what you’re into. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which create a natural, opiate euphoria. Not only will you be getting fit (maybe that’s one of your goals!), you’ll be forcing your brain to cheer up. Can’t argue with science!
Remember when you were a kid and played dress-up? You’d dig through the costume box and emerge wearing the most puffy extravagant gown, painted with your mom’s lipstick and eyeshadow. Behind you is your friend, wearing Grandfather’s three-piece suit, and brandishing an old tobacco pipe. Being somebody else is fun! It allows you to embody your hopes and aspirations. Now, we’re not telling you to wear an evening gown to the grocery store, but if you dress the way you’d like to feel, you might just find yourself starting to feel that way.
Engage with Other People
Of course taking some alone time is essential for everyone, but when you’re working yourself into a negative state of being, wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit of perspective? Sometimes, even an introvert needs an outside opinion for the same reason a newspaper needs an editor. The author has been experiencing his article for the last two days, and can’t see it clearly. A fresh set of eyes will pick out flaws and fallacies much more easily. Get out of your head and go talk to a friend. Be open to their opinions and embrace their differing viewpoint. It may be that you start to see your situation in a different way.
How do you feel after eating a whole chocolate cake? Our guess is not too great, and here’s why: Your body needs a specific balance of vitamins and nutrients to run properly, and guess which part of the body takes up most of that energy? The brain! The seat from which your entire cognitive experience of the world arises. If you don’t feed your brain well, you will start feeling sluggish and every experience will be colored by your lack of energy. Look up some healthy recipes and plan some meals. The difference in your mood will be astonishing.
Mental Wellness is a Lifestyle Change
Alone, none of these tips seem like a huge deal, but together they could change your life. Of course, mental illness is not imaginary, and some people will find that they benefit from pharmaceutical interventions. Before asking a doctor, however, try making some lifestyle changes and see if your mental wellbeing improves.
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Until next time, stay healthy.