Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I noticed another Elephant Journal writer had written about his struggles with depression, and I serendipitously came across this video, I knew I had to write something about it and share it.
In the last few years, emotional well-being has been at the forefront of health and wellness, because we have finally realized that it is as (or maybe even more!) important as our physical well-being.
There is less of a stigma around talking about our mental health, which is a good thing! This short five-minute video from Psych2Go (a YouTube channel and website that makes bite-sized informative videos about psychology and mental health topics in a fun and accessible format for those of us who are younger or young at heart) gives us eight great tips for how we can improve our mental health simply and easily.
Without further ado, here’s a brief summary of the tips. Please check out the video below that goes into more detail (plus, you don’t want to miss the cute animation!).
Feel free just to scroll straight to the bottom and check out the video right away! I won’t be offended.
Eight things you can do to improve your mental health:
1. Adopt an upright posture. Sitting up straight and not slouching can increase positive affect (which is how many people can experience positive emotions) and decrease fatigue (bonus!), among other things
2. Practice positive thinking. Okay, so we know too much positive thinking isn’t realistic either (I’m thinking the whole concept of toxic positivity here), but we need to shut up that inner critic and that negative voice demeaning us, so to flip the script, we can reframe the negative thought with a positive one
3. Take a walk in nature. This is my favourite tip! Getting outside and getting fresh air increases our mood and self-esteem (and other aspects of emotional well-being). Getting outside for me during this last year of COVID-19 has been a lifesaver for my mental health.
4. Hug someone. Physical touch releases the feel-good chemical oxytocin, which makes us feel better. (Okay, I know there’s a pandemic on right now, so if you don’t have a person to hug, a pet is a great substitute!)
5. Spend time with furry friends. Petting your best furry bud for just 10 mins does the trick for temporary stress relief.
6. Exercise. Surely, everyone knows that exercise isn’t just good for our physical health, but also our mental health as it increases endorphins!
7. Get enough sleep. Getting too little sleep can have a negative impact on our mental health (and not only because we wake up a grump on the wrong side of the bed!). Enough sleep allows us to physically and mentally recharge.
8. Keep a gratitude journal. Okay…maybe this one is my favourite tip! I’ve written about gratitude before and how I’m a bit of a gratitude junkie. One of the best ways to express gratitude is to keep a journal. A simple practice is to write in it in the morning, and then take a few minutes at night before you turn out the light to jot down three more things you’re grateful for that happened during the day.
So that’s it.
Check out the video below, and please let me know your thoughts in the comments!