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Easy Habits to Improve Mental Health When Times Are hard

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Want to learn how to be mentally healthy and happy during challenging times? You’re in the right place if you’re looking for good habits to improve mental health and tips to increase happiness.

Saying that times are challenging these days would be a gross understatement. We’re struggling with the Covid pandemic, political polarization, lockdowns, and vaccine mandates.

In addition, people are losing their jobs daily and untruthful media reports divide people over issues! So YES, it’s safe to say, times are stressful.

They really are… and millions of people are feeling it. They’re weary, worn down and in a state of numbness. Their mental and emotional health has taken a beating. Can you relate?

The good news is that you can remedy this problem and safeguard your mental wellbeing. You can learn how to be mentally healthy and happy even in the worst of times. You can maintain your sanity in a world that seems to be growing increasingly insane by the day.

The key is to build and maintain daily habits to improve mental health.

Here’s how you do it…

How to Improve Your Mental Health? Find your triggers

The first step to healing yourself will be to find out what’s getting you down. Are you unhappy at work? Is it the news? Or is it the constant contentious debates on social media that’s aggravating you?

What’s important is to know what’s eating you. Even overthinking can be a problem – and the first step is pinpointing what’s causing you distress.

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How to be Mentally Strong and Happy? Avoid the triggers!

how to be mentally healthy and happy

As simple as this sounds, people are not rational and fail to avoid the very things that cause them stress. Millions get stressed out watching the news which is always polarizing and stirring up fear. It would only make sense to stop watching it!

But people don’t.

Like a deer caught in the headlights, they keep consuming the negative news content put out by the networks. As a result, they get more stressed out. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.  Learning how to be mentally healthy and happy is easier than you think. Start small habits to improve mental health like watching less negative news every day!

Eliminate ALL triggers that are causing you mental and emotional anguish.

Tips for Good Mental Health – Do a digital detox

Unplugging to improve mental health
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A 3 to 5 day digital detox will do wonders for your mind and soul. Try NOT watching TV or using your phone for one day. You immediately reduce the amount of stimuli your brain receives and processes. As a result, you’ll calm down. Unplugging regularly is one of the best habits for mental health.

Recently, Facebook (Instagram and WhatsApp too) was down for a day. Millions of people reported feeling better for that day when they couldn’t access their social media.

They got a brief respite from all the stimuli. Instead of understanding how beneficial this was to their mind and soul, guess what happened. The masses mindlessly got back on social media the very next day when the platforms resumed operations and started discussing why the ‘blackout’ happened.

It never ends. Until you realize that less is more here, you’ll be a victim and be swayed by the daily issues the world is ranting about.  Learn how to be mentally healthy and happy by stepping away from the noise.

Like Max Lucado said, “A man who wants to lead an orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

Turn your back on the social media crowd and your life will become a symphony. Or at the very least, it won’t become a stressful confusion of social media talking points.

Avoid stimulants

how to be mentally healthy and happy

While your morning coffee is OK, you’ll want to avoid energy drinks and other stimulants to keep you going through the day. Caffeine dependency is a very real problem. 

It causes anxiety and when you’re not loaded up with caffeine, you feel lost. Over and above that, any alertness you get from caffeine is temporary… but it generally leaves you feeling worse after the effects wear off. Personally, I prefer tea.

Since the half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours, many people still have caffeine in their system when its bedtime. As a result, they can’t sleep well and wake up groggy and stressed out. Avoid caffeine after 1 PM.

Habits to Improve Mental Health

how to be mentally healthy and happy

We all know what we need to do here. Eat clean and in moderation – and exercise 4 to 5 times a week. It’s so simple in concept but so difficult in practice.

A good diet and regular physical activity are 2 of the best forms of self-care any individual can undertake.

Want to feel better mentally and emotionally?

Then look after your body well.

How to Improve Mental Health? Manage your fear

how to be mentally healthy and happy

However bad things may be, fear helps no one. Like author, Robin Sharma says, “Being scared is part of being alive. Accept it. Walk through it.”

Fear of death. Fear of Covid. Also,  fear of what others may think about you. Fear of being unemployed. Fear, fear and more fear.

Don’t let fear control your life. Tell yourself that you’re resilient and will get through anything. You’ve come this far, haven’t you?

Well, you have what it takes to go all the way. Focus on your goals and where you want to go – not fear.

Best Tip For Overall Wellbeing & Happiness – De-stress

how to be mentally healthy and happy

Massages, adult coloring, aromatherapy, walks in the park, watching a comedy, going to the zoo or an amusement park, etc. are all forms of stress relief.

What matters here is that you do what works for you. Break the monotony in your life. Try some fun activities to improve mental health. Very often, people get trapped in a mundane cycle of work and mind-numbing entertainment such as reality TV.

What you really need is a change in your daily life. Something that takes you out of your normal routine and helps you break through the grey fog of inactivity and unhappiness.

Doing something that’s fun and not what you normally do will be akin to letting rays of sunlight break through the dark clouds in your life. You’ll get a ‘breather’ and be able to shift your mental state. This is priceless.

Help others

how to be mentally healthy and happy

The author, Robert Ingersoll, once wrote, “We rise by lifting others.”

An excellent quote with an eternal truth – when you help someone else, you will feel better.

You’ll feel like you’re making a difference in the world, and your actions just might make someone else believe in the goodness of people. This belief is in short supply these days.

Ideally, you’ll want a hands-on approach such as volunteering at a homeless shelter or even a pet shelter. Doing good will make you feel good.

Buying a homeless person a meal will not only help them, but will make you feel much better than donating your money to a faceless organization.

Sometimes, you’ll even find good conversation among people who have fallen through the cracks of the system. That said, you’ll want to be cautious in your approach too.

Your mental health and emotional health are intertwined. How you process information is just as important as how you emotionally react to it. It’s imperative that you be aware of this.

Feed your mind positive information. Where your attention goes, your energy goes.

If your attention goes on social media and reading hateful comments, you’ll be stressed out and become spiteful too. Your mind and thoughts may get clogged up with drama, debate and disinformation.

If you spend your time reading good books and helping yourself to progress in life, you’ll feel a sense of achievement because your life feels more purposeful. That’s how you look after your mental and emotional wellbeing.

how to be mentally healthy and happy

Mental and Physical Health Can Benefit Each Other

It can sometimes be difficult to properly manage your time in such a way that you’re able to work on both your mental and physical health. It seems that sometimes they don’t really work well with one another.

However, they’re more similar than you might think, and by working on one, you can actually greatly improve the other at the same time. Everything in your body is connected, and that includes your brain.

Your mental health can have a direct effect on the rest of your body, and your physical health can have a direct effect on your mind and mental well-being. If you let one deteriorate, the other will follow suit.

However, this also applies to improvements. In other words, if you’re able to develop better physical health, you can easily develop better mental health. As you improve your mental health, you’re likely relieving stress and relaxing quite a bit.

This can have a ton of positive physical effects on your body. By ridding yourself of stress, you’re far more likely to lose weight, eat healthier, and stop experiencing things like aches and pains.

Chronic Stress Ruins Your Mental, Physical & Emotional Health

how to be mentally healthy and happy

Stress can have a ton of negative effects on your physical health, and can also trigger mental health issues. As you eat better and become healthier, your body will release endorphins that can make you have a better, more positive outlook on life and help you feel better in general.

Exercise and physical fitness can also make you happy. You’ll start seeing progress and results, releasing dopamine knowing that you’re making positive strides towards a better physical appearance.

While you can’t always try to work on both your mental health and physical health every single day, you’re doing a bit of good for both by just taking the time you need to do one.

Don’t worry too much about trying to get everything perfectly balanced.  Just make it a part of your daily routine to spend some time on your health. Make sure to spend time doing the things you like and enjoy. 

Plan it in your schedule.  If you leave it to chance it may never happen, because you’ll just end up getting stressed out and undoing all of your hard work.

It’s okay to miss a workout, and it’s okay to take an extra mental health day. You’re not going to fall behind by taking a bit more time for yourself or some more time to do other things that you want or need to do. As long as you don’t stop your efforts altogether, you’re going to be just fine.

Learning how to be mentally healthy and happy requires intentionally making the lifestyle changes needed to take care of you. 

Not sure what a holistic daily routine should look like? Read my post: Holistic Daily Routine for a Healthy Body and Mind to get ideas that may work for you!

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