Mental Health is critical to general well-being, as there is no complete health without mental health. Mental health refers to your overall psychological well-being, it includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. However, many people do not pay good attention to their mental health forgetting that it influences how we think, feel and act daily in life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress and overcome challenges.
The world we live in today is tough and it keeps getting tougher, especially if you live in an environment where things seem not to work or there is a major stigma surrounding mental ill health (does this sound like where you live?). In the spirit of May being mental health awareness month and the difference stories of people suffering from mental health challenges, suicides etc, we’ve come up with 5 ways to help you improve your mental health, regardless of the environment you find yourself:
1. Make social connection a priority
In the very tech-inclined world we live in, social connection is being sacrificed at the alter of digital connection. The company of others helps you function at your best especially face to face contact. It helps improve your mental and emotional health. Humans are social creatures and as such not meant to survive in isolation. In the words of renowned Life Coach & Psychologist, Lanre Olusola no man is an island, no man can achieve anything by himself, you need people. The key role of face to face contact is to interact with someone who is a good listener. Social media and phone calls are good but cannot beat the mood boosting power of physical conversation. A good listener will listen to the feelings behind your words, and won’t interrupt, judge, or criticize you.
2. Keep stress level in check
Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional well being so it’s best to be deliberate about your stress levels. It’s almost not possible to avoid stress as a result of daily activities and the environment we live in but some common stress management strategies could help you get things to balance. For example, talking to a friendly face, listening to an uplifting song etc. Making your leisure time a priority also helps your mental state: see a movie, go to the beach; make some changes that can boost your mental health such as – getting a driver instead of driving yourself so you can relax even when in traffic, setting out early for your appointment to avoid the toll on your emotions from running late, meditating, taking a walk etc. Taking an emotional intelligence class will help you greatly to master stress.
3. Eating brain healthy foods
You might not know but what you eat or don’t eat affect the way you think and feel. An unhealthy diet can toll your brain, disrupt your sleep and mood, sap your energy and tweak your immune system. A diet low in sugar and rich in healthy fats, can give you more energy, improve your sleep and mood, and help you to look and feel your best.
4. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep also matter on your mental health. Forget all that talk about “rich people don’t sleep etc, sleep is a necessity and not luxury. Skipping even a few hours here and there can take a toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, creativity and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your physical, emotional and mental health.
5. Seek professional help
If you’re having mental health challenges, please seek professional help. See mental health coach, psychotherapist etc and let them help you work to be better. The truth is, you can get better and live a normal life when you seek professional help and get to the root of things. Mental ill health is not the end of the world, depression and other challenges are like physical health issues too. Do proper research and be sure to see someone who is certified and experienced to help you.
You may book a coach on digital coaching platform on android app at CoachME, or via web for iOS users here or contact the Life Coaches Association of Nigeria, Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, International Coach Federation Nigeria, Pinnacle Medical Services, Safe Place Ng, Mentally Aware to mention a few.
Written by Omoniyi Agbaje