For the most part, improving your mental health is about the long haul, not quick fixes. Long-term treatment, lifestyle changes like getting more sleep and exercise, and making a big effort to shift your thoughts and behavior over time are all elements of better mental health. While they can be successful, these are all things that tend to happen cumulatively, and it’s not uncommon to feel stuck even when progress is happening that you can’t necessarily see. When that’s the case, giving yourself a little boost can make a big difference.
Doing some movement and getting your heart rate up can release endorphins that make you feel better. If you’re out of shape, you might feel like this option isn’t available to you since you can’t run five miles or swim multiple pool laps, but any amount of movement can lift your mood, even if it’s just a walk around the block. You could also look online for some beginner videos of exercises that appeal to you. And while going to the gym is one way to get some physical activity in, getting out in nature is a great way to feel better. If you’re generally very active, you probably are already aware of this, but if you’re struggling with mental health, you might not be motivated to do your usual routine. Trust that once you get started, you’ll be glad that you did.
It’s surprising how hard it can be just to do something nice for yourself. You might struggle with allowing yourself to do something just because it’s fun or indulgent or makes you feel good, but everyone deserves to have things in their life for no other reason than because they make you happy. What you’ll do to treat yourself will vary from person to person. The only caveat is that it shouldn’t directly interfere with something you’re trying to treat.
For example, if you have an eating disorder, you probably shouldn’t use food as a reward. Some people may find enjoyment in simply taking some time out from work to watch a movie or TV show they enjoy or read a book. You could also buy yourself a present. If vaping is your thing, you could treat yourself with the Crafty+ Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel. This offers top-shelf quality, and the vaporizer itself is ultra portable, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.
On the one hand, an important element of improving your mental health is learning self-soothing behaviors and not always relying on others when you’re anxious or unhappy. On the other hand, reaching out to others and even going out and spending time with other people can give you a big boost. Maybe one of your issues is that you have trouble opening up to people, in which case talking about what’s bothering you with a close friend or family member can help. However, reaching out doesn’t have to mean talking about yourself. Just asking a friend to grab coffee or a drink with you or to go for a walk with you and talking about other things together can make you feel better.
Talking to someone else is great, but sometimes, talking to yourself is even better. Writing in a journal can help you clarify your thoughts or may give you room to vent. If it makes you feel better, you can immediately destroy your writing when you’re finished. This can give you the freedom to put down ideas you may feel afraid to express. On the other hand, you can also keep what you write and look back on it to see how you’ve improved over time in how you handle distress.
Learning to be mindful can short circuit bad feelings in many cases. This is something you can practice regularly however you are feeling, but you can also draw on it right now if you’re unhappy or anxious. One of the key parts of being mindful involves noticing your thoughts but not getting attached to them. The effect this often has is that the thought will start to dissipate, in the same way that physical cravings may seem constant but when you really pay attention to them you realize that they come and go.