Get some rest
Mental health is an important part of your overall health. It affects how you think, feel, and interact with the outside world. While we all hope to feel happy, it’s normal to go through periods of anxiety and unhappiness. Luckily there are several ways to boost mental health naturally when you’re feeling low.
Getting enough sleep is key to maintaining your mental health and can give you a natural mood boost. The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. This allows both your body and mind to get the rest needed to get you through the day. However, getting in those hours may seem difficult if you’re experiencing anxiety or low mood at night that keeps you awake.
You probably already know what it feels like when you get a bad night’s sleep. The next day you may feel irritable, sluggish, or short-tempered. This is because your quality of sleep affects your mood, just like your mood affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep. To help you get in the right headspace to get ready for bed, create a bedtime routine that you stick to every night. This means turning off devices like the TV or your phone to let your mind start to relax.
Set a scheduled bedtime and wake-up time and try to stick to it. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable environment that’s free from distractions. Be sure not to drink caffeine too close to bedtime, along with any other substances that might disrupt your sleep.
Move your body
Another way to boost mood naturally is to get some exercise. You know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know that getting in regular physical activity can help improve your mood and boost your mental health naturally? Exercising releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins that act as a natural anti-depressant. Getting in some exercise each day can reduce feelings of:
It can also help your body deal with stress hormones, so you can sleep better and more easily.
If you don’t like the gym, the good news is that there are so many other ways to get your body moving. Walking, jogging, or simply doing housework can all get your heart rate up. Pick an activity that you like and enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it. Doctors recommend aiming to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
When you’re upset, reaching for comfort foods might be a normal reaction, even if it’s not the healthiest option. However, eating well on a regular basis can boost mental health naturally. Both your brain and your body need a variety of nutrients to function properly. This means you should try to eat three meals a day and drink plenty of water. Incorporate healthy proteins into your breakfast and lunch to keep you full and to give your brain the nutrition it needs to start off your day.
A balanced diet to boost your mental health should include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, and oatmeal
- Oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy products
While you should try to limit junk food, dark chocolate is the perfect snack when you crave something sweet. Cacao can give you a natural mood boost since it has properties that relieve symptoms of depression and can reduce anxiety.
Sunshine and fresh air can give you a natural mood boost, so take some time to step outside each day. Simple things like clean air and natural light can lift you up, as we weren’t made to sit inside all day under harsh fluorescent lights. If you can, try to get 30 minutes outdoors every day to reconnect with nature.
Sunshine provides our bodies with vitamin D, which is proven to help reduce stress and boost mood naturally. Looking at trees is also thought to brighten people’s moods. If you can, go on a hike or a walk in an area with some trees to breathe in the fresh air and let your mind relax.
Do something you enjoy
Take time to do something that you like or that relaxes you. This can be something social, like talking to a friend, visiting with family, or going to an event. If you prefer, you can do something alone like practice a hobby, take a bubble bath, or play with a pet. Try to choose something that you’re going to feel good about after it’s over. While eating junk food or drinking alcohol might relieve your stress or anxiety in the moment, you’re probably not going to feel great about that decision later.
To help improve your mood, try to do something that can give you a feeling of accomplishment. This can be as easy as preparing a home-cooked meal, or it can be more complex, like studying to learn something new. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break during the day to let off some stress and bring yourself back to balance.
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