When we are considering dropping a few pounds or toning up our bodies, we’ll most likely join our local gym, do some meal preparation and start counting every single damn calorie. In the same way, we should try our utmost best to look after our mental health too.
Heritage Health Care has defined mental well-being as:
“Feeling good about yourself and being able to function well individually or in a relationship. It doesn’t mean feeling happy all the time, but being able to cope with the challenges we face, making the most of opportunities and feeling a sense of purpose.”
Look no further as I will be sharing some easy-to-practice tips so that we can look to taking better care of our mental health. It really isn’t that complicated! Some of my tips won’t even require you to leave the comforts of your sofa (hmm, bed?)!
Let’s start off with something easy shall we?
Journaling: Write It Out!
First, what exactly is journaling? It’s very simple. All you need is a book and a pen. Whether you’re sad, or you’re joyful; use your journal to express what you’re feeling. Life is full of ups and downs, and many a time we won’t always have someone to lean on, having a journal is a good way to let out any pent up feelings, to give a voice to those feelings.
Journaling is a form of self-expression that can lift and empower people to understand their complex feelings and find humor with it.
“Journaling can make us more aware (and self-aware!) and help us detect sneaky, unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviors. It allows us to take more control over our lives and puts things in perspective. Furthermore, it can help us shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one, especially about ourselves (Robinson, 2017).”
What We Eat Affects How We Feel
“Of the many neurotransmitters present in our bodies, only a few affect appetite including Serotonin: a chemical released after eating carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It enhances calmness, improves mood and lessens depression. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan.”
I’ve found that having junk food three days in a row doesn’t make me feel very good about myself; there must be a reason for this surely?! Eating healthy on the hand, has quite the opposite effect!. I feel good, guilt free, motivated and happy. A balanced, healthy and colourful meal is the way to go guys. Have a cheat day once in a while, that’s totally fine … No one’s judging you, I promise.
Think Beautiful; Be Beautiful
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
Optimism and pessimism can actually affect many areas of your health and well-being.
Researchers have found that positive thinking has many benefits. Some of the benefits include lower levels of depression, better psychological well-being, better able to cope during times of hardship and stress and many other benefits.
Islam also encourages its believers to adopt a positive attitude, see below a beautiful saying of Muhammad, the final Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him” (Muslim).
Stay tuned for my next round of tips on taking care of your mental health. Try to look more into the above tips. We can slowly implement them into our lives one by one. Journaling is awesome, give it a try!