Your mental health is crucial in all areas of your life, impacting your overall well-being and general functioning.
Taking care of your mental health helps strengthen your resilience, as well as your ability to cope with life’s everyday stressors. It is the difference between thriving and surviving.
Before the pandemic impacted all aspects of life for most people, roughly one in five adults in the US reported experiencing mental health issues in any year. An APA press release from late 2020 shows a dramatic increase in adults experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.
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Why Is Mental Health So Important?
Data from NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Health) shows that 52.9 million adults in the United States experienced a mental illness in 2020. The same data shows 14.2 million adults were diagnosed with an SMI (serious mental illness).
Mental health issues, then, are prevalent among all demographics and impact everything we do.
The ODPHP (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) classifies neuropsychiatric disorders as the leading cause of disability in the US.
Untreated mental health disorders can cause widespread problems, including disruption to daily functioning and self-medicating symptoms with addictive substances from alcohol and prescription medications to illicit drugs.
Your mental health can affect the way you cope with life’s routine stressors. Untreated mental health issues can lead to all of the following:
- Loss of control
Mental health problems often strain interpersonal relationships, as well as impairing performance at home, work, and school.
One of the primary symptoms of major depressive disorder and other mood disorders is a loss of interest in previously favored activities. As well as losing interest in things generally, subpar mental health makes it challenging to focus.
Social withdrawal is commonplace among those suffering with mental health disorders, in turn leading to worsening mood.
Those struggling with mental health issues often find their relationship with food changes. Weight loss or weight gain can occur, and possibly eating disorders.
In the worst outcome, those grappling with depression and other psychiatric disorders may consider self-harm or suicide.
If you find yourself encountering any of the above issues, you should reach out for help. If you experience any of these issues, consider finding a mental health professional to help.
3 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Health Today
Perhaps things haven’t reached the stage where you need help from a mental health professional, but you still want to make some tweaks to help you embrace life to the fullest.
To properly nurture your mental health, you must first determine your needs. From here, you should develop and maintain habits and practices in line with your needs. Everyone is unique and everyone has different priorities. Regardless of these priorities, aiming for a balanced life is typically the safest route to sound mental health.
Here are three simple ways to take immediate action with tangible benefits for your mental health:
- Be mindful of the present moment
- Incorporate regular exercise into your routine and prioritize this
- Learn how to say no without feeling guilty
1) Be mindful of the present moment
If you find yourself spending inordinate amounts of time probing the past or stressing about future uncertainties, you might consider practicing mindfulness.
This concept is often used in Huntington Beach rehab for addiction or mental health treatment, helping you to focus on the present moment, typically through directing your full attention to your breathing.
Incorporating mindfulness into meditation can deliver many proven benefits, such as:
- Alleviating anxiety
- Reducing stress
- Improving relaxation
- Gaining insight
- Furthering awareness
2) Incorporate regular exercise into your routine and prioritize this
By exercising regularly, you could enjoy the following research-backed mental health benefits:
- Boost self-esteem and confidence
- Reduce depression
- Minimize depression
- Decrease occurrences of negative mood
- Improve cognitive function
The best way to make an exercise routine stick is to choose something you enjoy. From yoga to fitness classes, from sports clubs to gyms, imagination is your only limitation. Aim for twenty to thirty minutes of daily exercise and feel better emotionally as well as physically.
3) Learn how to say no without feeling guilty
One of the surest routes to personal satisfaction and sound mental health is to be firm and intentional with your time.
Don’t allow yourself to be pressured or dragged into engagements against your will. If you want to refuse any request, do so without apology. The less time you spend doing things in an attempt to please others, the more time you will have free to focus on what drives you forward in life.
Read also: 6 Amazing Ways To Improve Your Mental Health