Good mental health is essential for your overall well-being and quality of life. It affects how you think, feel, act, make choices, and relate to others. There are many steps you can take to maintain good mental health and improve your emotional wellness²³⁴⁵, such as:
- **Use your voice**: Express your feelings and opinions in a respectful and constructive way. Communicate your needs and boundaries to others. Seek help from a professional or a trusted person if you are struggling with a problem or feeling overwhelmed.
- **Be informed**: Learn about mental health issues and how they affect people. Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and how to cope with them. Seek accurate and reliable information from reputable sources.
- **Reduce, reuse, and recycle**: Take care of the environment and reduce your impact on the planet. This can help you feel more connected to nature and reduce stress. You can also reuse or donate items that are still in good condition, and recycle materials that can be turned into new products.
- **Eat well and stay hydrated**: A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your physical health and mental health. They can help you feel more energetic, focused, and happy. Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or processed ingredients.
- **Sleep well**: Getting enough quality sleep is vital for your mental health. It can help you regulate your emotions, improve your memory, and boost your immune system. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and avoid distractions before bedtime such as screens, noise, or caffeine.
- **Relax**: Find ways to relax and cope with stress. You can try meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, massage, aromatherapy, or any other activity that helps you calm down and feel good. Make time for yourself and do things that you enjoy and make you happy.
- **Set goals and priorities**: Having goals can give you a sense of purpose and direction in life. They can also motivate you to overcome challenges and achieve your dreams. However, it's important to set realistic and attainable goals that match your abilities and interests. You also need to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities and learn to say no to things that are not important or beneficial for you.
- **Practice gratitude**: Being grateful for what you have can help you appreciate your life more and feel more positive. You can practice gratitude by writing down or thinking about the things that you are thankful for every day. These can be big things such as the support of your loved ones or small things such as a beautiful sunset or a delicious meal.
- **Be active**: Physical activity can benefit your mental health as well as your physical health. It can help you reduce stress, improve your mood, enhance your self-esteem, and prevent or manage some mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. You can choose any form of exercise that you like such as walking, running, cycling, dancing, or playing sports.
- **Unplug and switch off**: Technology can be useful and entertaining, but it can also be distracting and stressful. It's important to limit your screen time and avoid spending too much time on social media, games, or online news. You can also turn off notifications or put your devices on silent mode when you need to focus on something else or relax.
- **Volunteer and donate**: Helping others can help you feel good about yourself and make a positive difference in the world. You can volunteer for a cause that you care about or donate money or items to a charity that supports people in need. You can also perform random acts of kindness such as complimenting someone, holding the door open, or paying for someone's coffee.
- **Stay connected**: Having strong social connections can improve your mental health and well-being. They can provide you with emotional support, practical help, companionship, and fun. You can stay connected with your friends, family, colleagues, or community by reaching out to them regularly through phone calls, messages, video chats, or face-to-face meetings.
These are some of the steps you can take to maintain good mental health. However, if you are experiencing severe or distressing symptoms that have lasted for two weeks or more³, such as:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, or guilty
- Losing interest or pleasure in things that you used to enjoy
- Having trouble sleeping, eating, concentrating, or remembering
- Feeling restless, irritable, anxious, or nervous
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or others
You should seek professional help from a doctor, therapist, counselor, or mental health service. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. You are not alone and there are many resources available to help you cope with mental health issues.
Remember: Good mental health is not a destination but a journey. It requires constant care and attention. You deserve to be happy and healthy!
Source: Conversation with Bing, 5/20/2023
(1) How to Improve Mental Health - MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html
(2) NIMH » Caring for Your Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health
(3) 12 Ways to Maintain Good Mental Health | SkillsYouNeed. https://www.skillsyouneed.com/rhubarb/maintain-mental-health.html
(4) How To Maintain Good Mental & Physical Health - ei-resource.org. https://www.ei-resource.org/articles/general-environmental-health-articles/how-to-maintain-good-mental-physical-health/
(5) World Mental Health Day 2019: How to maintain good mental health and well-being?. https://www.invajy.com/world-mental-health-day-how-to-maintain-good-mental-health-and-well-being/.