Modern life is stressful and it can wreak havoc on your mental wellbeing. For centuries, we as a species have emphasised the importance of physical wellbeing but overlooked the importance of mental health. Keeping your brain and your mind healthy is crucial for living and long and happy life – just as important as looking after your body. In fact, there are even studies that show that happier people live longer and are less prone to some types of disease.
The real question is: how do we keep our mental health in good shape. Well, there is no quick fix rule, just as there is no shortcut to getting physically fit. You will need to build up and maintain your mental health over time. But, don’t worry – this is easier than it sounds. Here are a few things you can do to get started on your journey to a better state of mind.
I cannot stress the importance of switching your brain off for a bit. Meditating is your chance to get outside of your own head, forget about your worries and problems, and simply be present. There are plenty of guided mediations available online – use these to begin with and then try and meditate on your own. Even if you only meditate for a few minutes each day, the results will be remarkable.
Enjoy the Present
We spend most of our time overthinking the past and worrying about the future. This is seriously bad for out mental health and can even have physical manifestations in our body. Try and focus on being present. When you are walking down the street, don’t let your mind wander, focus on what is going on around you. Take in the sights and smells, listen to your feet making contact with the pavement, feel the air on your skin. Be in the now and don’t think about anything else.
Develop Strong Relationships
Humans are sociable creatures by nature and we need to be around people. This doesn’t mean making dinner plans five times per week, but at least once a week you should aim to do something with a friend. It can be the same friend every time or it can be a rotation of different friends. The important thing is that you trust this friend and you connect with them on a deeper level than you do with most other people.
Find Good Coping Mechanisms for Stress
Some people resort to drink, some cry alone in their rooms, some bottle it up inside and then explode – none of these are good for your mental health. You need to develop a good coping mechanism when you get stressed. Talking to someone you love and trust can help, as can putting your feelings down on paper. Whatever you choose, make sure you are expressing yourself and understanding what the source of your stress is. You don’t need to know how to resolve the situation as long as you can acknowledge it for what it truly is.
Make Plans for the Future
Having something to look forward to can make a huge difference to your mental health. If you are in the middle of exams or experiencing a particularly busy time at work, plan something exciting for when this period is over. It will make everything more manageable and give you the light at the end of the tunnel that you need to keep going.