8 Tips for Improving Your Mental Health
Dr. Monica Mendes
Clinical Psychologist in Dubai
1. Value and nurture positive social
As humans, the relationships we form with other people are vital to our mental and emotional wellbeing, and really, our survival. When people are not well in their relational life when suffering relational pain, all the other
dimensions of the self are affected.
Ultimately, is the quality of our relationships that determines the quality of our life. Healthy relationships (romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships, work relationships - they all count!) can help make for a healthier overall life. But what exactly does a healthy relationship look like?
A positive relationship can be shared between any two people who love, support, encourage and help each other practically as well as emotionally. In no particular order, people in healthy relationships tend to:
- Listen to each other
- Communicate openly and without judgment
- Trust and respect each other
- Consistently make time for each other
- Remember details about each other’s lives
- Engage in healthy activities together
2. Value yourself:
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons.
Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.
3. Make self-care a priority:
There always will be other things to do, but don’t let these interrupt the time you set aside for self-care.
Self-care should be given the same importance as other responsibilities. It means taking time to do things you enjoy, that you find relaxing, fun, or energizing. Also means taking care of yourself regarding your physical health (e.g. eating regular and nutritionally balanced meals, getting enough sleep, caring for personal hygiene, and anything else that maintains good health. Keep in mind that a few minutes of self-care is better than no self care.
Set an alarm reminding you to take regular breaks, even if it’s just a walk around the block, or an uninterrupted snack. Oftentimes, stepping away will energize you to work more effectively when you return. As an additional note, be aware that unhealthy activities don’t count as self-care. Substance use, over-eating, and other unhealthy compulsive behaviors might hide uncomfortable emotions temporarily, but they cause more problems in the long run.
4. Learn how to deal with stress:
Like it or not, stress is a part of life. Practice good coping stress management skills, that you can easily learn and practice with a specialized mental health care professional.
Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.
5. Quiet your mind:
Try meditating, Mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and give a meaningful and positive outlook on life.
In fact, research shows that praying and meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.
6. Set realistic and meaningful goals to your life:
Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim for constant self development, but be realistic and don't over-schedule.
You'll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal.
7. Break up the monotony:
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road-trip, take a walk in a different park, try a new restaurant, meet new people.
8. Express your feelings and emotions and get help when you need it:
From a bio-evolutionary perspective, emotions serve a critical survival purpose by providing information about personally meaningful circumstances.
This information is used to stimulate and guide action to promote one’s self care. Psychotherapy can help to facilitate emotional expression and help the patients with their emotional problems and emotional regulation, in a safe, neutral and confidential setting. Seeking help is sign of strength – not a weakness – and can be crucial in enhancing emotional wellbeing.