In a world as chaotic as the one we are all living in today, people often neglect their psychological and emotional well-being. It is easy to get caught up in every new breaking story, updates regarding the pandemic and even the newest social media phenomenon. People are forgetting the benefits of self-care and finding ways to realize one’s own potential by working productively and coping with daily stressors. There are many different techniques that people can practice in order to shape and improve their own mental health. Some are simple techniques that when incorporated into daily routines can have immediate positive impact, while some require more time and focus. I believe that the starting point for any person trying to improve their own mental health is to value yourself. We must treat ourselves with kindness and respect while finding a balance to push ourselves with effort for improvement.

The first few simple techniques can be done by focusing on your daily routine. Getting a good night’s sleep is the first technique. By getting in the habit of sleeping for about seven to nine hours, one’s physical and mental health will both be strengthened. Sleep regulates the chemical in our brain that controls our emotions and moods. Therefore, a good night of sleep can be the difference between waking up to an anxious feeling in the stomach or having energy to make the most of each day. On top of this, something that I personally have found helps me feel healthier and more organized is to make my bed every morning when I get up. By just making my bed after getting up, I feel organized and productive from the minute I am up. Something that can be added to sleep is trying to eat a healthy diet. If one eats a well-balanced diet, the necessary vitamins and minerals have a positive effect on mood. The healthier our body feels, the healthier our mind will feel.

Some practices can be achieved in a day’s worth of effort, while others will take more time and commitment. Something that I found was a challenge was finding ways to be active every day. There is no more immediate positive feeling than recovering from strenuous physical exercise. After some recovery time, the body and mind feel refreshed. We can accomplish this in many ways including hiking, walking and even at-home exercises. I recommend doing something outside. Especially being quarantined, finding ways to get out of our homes has become a vital way to improve mental health. Going on hikes or walks is a great way to get exercise while being out in the sun and fresh air. I personally recommend finding a nice spot with a moderate level hike. You get exercise as well as a peaceful way to refresh your mind in nature.

Now the most demanding thing that people who want to improve their mental health should be practicing is interaction with others. Putting forward an effort to be sociable and maintain good relationships can be beneficial to one’s mental health. Not only will this increase self-esteem, but it also provides us a safety net of support when we may not be feeling like ourselves. It is great to have friends and a support network to rely on but being there for your friends as well should become a habit. Helping others is not only beneficial to those in need but can be advantageous to the person providing support. Being there to assist a friend in need can boost your own self-esteem, as well as verify your place in a community or social network.

Of course, if you want to improve your mental health, everything cannot be achieved within the first day. It is about creating positive habits for ourselves. Simple routines like making the bed and going outside are things that we can start to achieve immediately. Changing our eating habits and exercising may take a bit more time and effort to do. Relying on friends and maintaining relationships is important for everyone to learn. I believe increasing positive mental health is achievable.

By Michael Hammond

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