How to Improve Mental Health: 10 Tips to Try at Home
When we have limited power over “things” that affect our mental health, sometimes we need to focus our attention on what we can control. Whether that’s implementing a regular mindfulness practice into your routine or celebrating joyful moments each day, these small changes can have a big impact. With that in mind, here are 10 tips you can try at home to boost your mental health.
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep helps our body and mind recover, which we need in order to live healthy lives. We should be mindful of any changes in our sleep patterns (i.e. sleeping more than usual or sleeping less than usual). Sleep can act as a mirror – it can reflect our mood, stress, and anxiety levels. Tip: If you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep, instead of trying to force yourself to sleep, consider getting out of bed and doing something soothing before returning to bed. This can be repeated until it results in sleep.
2. Exercise regularly
While there are different factors that affect one’s ability to exercise, it’s still important to mention the benefits of exercise on our mental health. Even light aerobic exercise (like a walk around the neighborhood) can help reduce levels of stress hormones and increase natural “happy chemicals” in our brain, which can help improve our mood and make our experience of stress feel more manageable.
3. Seek out social support
Humans are social beings – we need to feel connected to something other than ourselves. Isolation is one of the most common threats to mental wellbeing. Reaching out to people for support requires courage, but social support is incredibly important. If you’re struggling to feel connected, you can search for local support groups via websites like Mental Health America and NAMI.
4. Create healthy boundaries
Equally as important as social support and connection, boundaries help us protect our self-worth, emotional wellbeing, and relationships. They are necessary for healthy relationships with friends, loved ones, family members, and work. Boundary setting can be difficult for many of us, but remember that they are not selfish or mean. They are fundamental to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Working with a therapist can help you create these boundaries in a sustainable way.
5. Practice mindfulness
More people are using mindfulness and meditation than ever before – and for good reason. For decades, empirical evidence has suggested that a mindfulness practice can help reduce anxiety and stress. Mindfulness teaches us how to relate to our feelings and thoughts in a less judgmental and reactive way, thus making it easier to be present, more grounded, and more connected.
6. Write your thoughts in a journal
Journaling allows our thoughts, feelings, worries, and concerns to live somewhere other than our mind. Sometimes our internal world can feel like a big tangled mess, and journaling can help us detangle things in a way that feels more manageable. You can start by writing in a notebook or simply just opening up a note on your phone – whatever works best for you.
7. Try the ‘Tiny Steps’ technique
Accomplishing tasks when we’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious can be really challenging. With the tiny steps technique, you start by choosing a task and breaking it down into not just small, but tiny steps. For example, let’s say you want to go for a jog. Tiny steps could look something like: 1) Grab your running shoes from the closet 2) Take out your workout clothes 3) Drink some water, and so on. It might seem silly, but this technique can be massively effective when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
8. Embrace empathy
Empathy is one of the most powerful tools a person can use. It is our ability to understand how and why others feel the way they do. What we are starting to understand more and more is that our ability to understand others also helps us have empathy and compassion for ourselves. Talk about a win-win.
9. Celebrate small moments of joy
The little things in life that bring you joy make a world of difference. Maybe it’s that morning cup of coffee, the sitcom you watch before bed, or some weird thing your pet does… whatever it is, take a moment to pause next time and appreciate the joy you feel.
10. Talk to a professional
Regular exercise helps keep your body in great physical shape, and talking to a therapist does the same for your mental health. You don’t have to feel as though something is “wrong” to seek out advice from a pro. If you’re interested in talking to someone but don’t know where to start, Grow Therapy can help. We’re here to make sure you find a qualified therapist who accepts your insurance and specializes in the areas of your life that you’d like to focus on. Book an appointment today.
This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns.