With the unforeseen challenges that life may throw, many people are often unsure how to handle their feelings. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind unintentional injury in ages 10-34 according to the National Institute of Mental Health1. That’s why managing your mental health and prioritizing self-care is critical to your wellbeing.
Moving forward, it’s important to be aware of increasing the following things in your life to ensure a healthier mind and body:
- Physical activity: Exercise will help you feel better, function better and sleep better. It also reduces anxiety2.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression3.
- Diet: According to studies, when you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook, and an improved ability to focus. Healthy diets have proven to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety so try to eat fewer calories overall and mostly plant-based foods.
- Hydration: Drinking enough water every day prevents dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking and mood changes.
- Relaxation: Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as heart disease and pain4.
Practices that further improve mental health include activities such as meditation or mindfulness, practicing gratitude and seeking silver linings. What’s more, compartmentalizing stress, developing conflict-resolution strategies and addressing negative self-talk are all strategies to reduce assaults on mental health.
There are many strategies and methods for achieving success, which can be quite overwhelming. The good news is that each one can provide great success independent of the others, so start where you are comfortable and use methods that match your personality and immediate needs.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the suicide PreventionLifeline network is free, confidential, and available 24/7 across the United States. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.
*This blog marks the first of three in a series of articles related to mental health.