Better Mental Health: How to Practice Self-Care

Better Mental Health: How to Practice Self-Care

How to Practice Self-Care for Better Mental Health

According to Mental Health America, one in five American adults have a mental health condition. At the same time, one in six take some form of psychiatric drug to counter this problem. These statistics explain why mental health has become a focus in discussions about well-being and healthcare in recent years. We know there is a problem, and we suspect that it is not currently being dealt with in the best way, but what else can we do?

Quite a lot, it turns out. While medical treatments like drugs and counseling are often essential to improve mental health, there are many basic, overlooked ways in which we can help ourselves. These habits and lifestyle changes are examples of self-care, or the continuous act of making good choices for our health and well-being. Good self-care can be an invaluable boost to mental health, making us better able to cope with negative emotions and situations.

Taking Time to Relax

Although the idea that we are more overworked than ever is a myth, it is true that Americans are more stressed than ever. There are many reasons for this, but technology is a big one. Our phones make it possible for us to spend our free time responding to work emails, reading a constant feed of terrible news, and bitterly scrolling through carefully curated depictions of other people’s lives.

If it feels like you don’t have time to relax, ask yourself why. How are you spending your free time? Watch out for things like excessive time spent on social media or bringing your work home. If you need to, start scheduling your downtime. During this time, turn off all distractions, and do something that relaxes you, whether it be a hobby, a long hot bath, or a yoga session.

Reducing Stress

Even if you do take time to relax, stressful situations will always come up. You can minimize these by practicing stress-management techniques, which help you both prevent anxious feelings and deal with them effectively when they do arise.

A good example is mindfulness and meditation, where you slow down and focus on taking deep, full breaths. On one hand, this technique can help you calm down in the middle of an anxiety attack or depressive episode. On the other, regular mindfulness practice can prevent stress from building up in the first place by teaching you to accept and let go of negative emotions.

This applies to your overall lifestyle as well. According to VeryWell, healthy habits like getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, and exercising can help you reverse the effects of oncoming stress and make you less reactive to stress in the long run.

Saying No

This is so often overlooked that most of us don’t realize it’s a problem. How often do you say yes to things that make you anxious, unhappy, or that you simply don’t have time for? Being generous is a wonderful quality, but you have to ask yourself whether by being so helpful to others you are being unhelpful to yourself.

You don’t have to become a selfish recluse, but you shouldn’t dedicate a large portion of your time and mental capacity to things that serve you no purpose. Before saying yes to something, ask yourself whether you are likely to benefit from doing it. If the answer is no, you are doing yourself more harm than good.

Self-care is not a solution to poor mental health in and of itself. Psychotherapy is still believed to be the most effective form of treatment by many experts, and drugs have helped millions in their recovery. However, there can be no doubt that healthy habits can make a huge difference by preventing, mitigating, and helping process negative emotions. Self-care is not about curing mental illness, it’s about creating a stable, healthy framework from which we can begin working towards feeling better.

Written by Author:

Brad Krause of SelfCaring

Bio:

Hi! I’m Brad, and I welcome you to SelfCaring! It is my goal to help you be the best you that you can be.

After spending far too long neglecting my own self-care, I became a full-time life coach. I spend just about every waking hour helping people find ways to put their wellness above all else. I hope SelfCaring will help you do the same!

Please feel free to look around this site for tips and inspiration on how you can make self-care a priority. And if there is anything I can do to help you personally, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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How to Practice Self-Care for Better Mental Health
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How to Practice Self-Care for Better Mental Health
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According to Mental Health America, one in five American adults have a mental health condition. At the same time, one in six take some form of psychiatric drug to counter this problem. These statistics explain why mental health has become a focus in discussions about well-being and healthcare in recent years.
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Healthy Tree Frog
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