3 – Taking care of your physical health
- Take care of your physical health since your physical and mental health is connected. Some ways to take care of your physical health include
- Being physically active. Exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression and improve your mood.
- Getting enough sleep. Sleep affects your mood. If you don’t get good sleep, you may become more easily annoyed and angry. Over the long term, a lack of quality sleep can make you more likely to become depressed. So it’s important to make sure that you have a regular sleep schedule and get enough quality sleep every night.
- Healthy eating. Good nutrition will help you feel better physically but could also improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Also, not having enough of certain nutrients may contribute to some mental illnesses. For example, there may be a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and depression. Eating a well-balanced diet can help you to get enough of the nutrients you need.
4 – Connecting with others.
- Connecting with others, Humans are social creatures, and it’s important to have strong, healthy relationships with others. Having good social support may help protect you against the harms of stress. It is also good to have different types of connections. Besides connecting with family and friends, you could find ways to get involved with your community or neighborhood. For example, you could volunteer for a local organization or join a group that is focused on a hobby you enjoy.
5 – Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
- Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life could be through your job, volunteering, learning new skills, or exploring your spirituality.
6 – Developing coping skills.
- Developing coping skills, which are methods you use to deal with stressful situations. They may help you face a problem, take action, be flexible, and not easily give up on solving it.
7 – Meditation.
- Meditation, which is a mind and body practice where you learn to focus your attention and awareness. There are many types, including mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation. Meditation usually involves
- A quiet location with as few distractions as possible
- A specific, comfortable posture. This could be sitting, lying down, walking, or another position.
- A focus of attention, such as a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or your breathing
- An open attitude, where you try to let distractions come and go naturally without judging them
8 – Relaxation techniques.
- Relaxation techniques are practices you do to produce your body’s natural relaxation response. This slows down your breathing, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces muscle tension and stress. Types of relaxation techniques include
- Progressive relaxation, where you tighten and relax different muscle groups, sometimes while using mental imagery or breathing exercises
- Guided imagery, where you learn to focus on positive images in your mind, to help you feel more relaxed and focused
- Biofeedback, where you use electronic devices to learn to control certain body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension
- Self-hypnosis, where the goal is to get yourself into a relaxed, trance-like state when you hear a certain suggestion or see a specific cue
- Deep breathing exercises, which involve focusing on taking slow, deep, even breaths
It’s also important to recognize when you need to get help. Talk therapy and/or medicines can treat mental disorders. If you don’t know where to get treatment, start by contacting your primary care provider.