Your mental health affects you every moment of every day. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, or even if you’re just stressed out about something, it’s going to color the way you see the world and it will affect your mood, your abilities, and your actions.
That’s why you should always be aware of — and caring for — your mental health. Here are four simple steps that you can take to benefit your mental health.
See a therapist
Mental health is just as important as physical health — in fact, the two are closely connected. Despite this, many of us who regularly head to the doctor’s office for physical checkups are reluctant to make the same commitment for our mental health.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Make the choice to seek out a mental health care provider. Therapy is for everyone, an expert therapist in NYC explains, and you don’t need to be suffering from a mental health condition to benefit enormously from regular sessions. Therapy can be a godsend in stressful cities like New York, and it can give you strategies and insights that will make you a better partner, a better friend, a better family member, and even a more successful worker.
Get some exercise
Get up. Move around. Experts agree that exercise can elevate your mood and that regular exercise (especially as part of a general healthy lifestyle) can improve your overall mental health.
Exercising releases endorphins, which make us feel good. It’s our brain telling us that this is fun and good for us, and it will make you feel better in the moment. Exercise also, of course, will strengthen your muscles, help you lose weight, and improve your overall health. And because mental and physical health is closely connected, we know that being healthier physically will help you feel better mentally.
Get better sleep
Your everyday lifestyle has a huge impact on your mental health, and one of the most important factors is sleep. If you’re getting enough sleep and getting it regularly, then you’re going to be in much better shape on the mental health front than you would otherwise be.
But how can you improve your sleep? Aim to go to bed (and wake up) at the same time every day. Make your bedroom as dark and as quiet as possible and try not to use your bedroom for anything stressful (working in bed will make it harder to get quality rest there). Cut back on drugs that mess with your sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol (and be especially aware of the impact that they’ll have if you ingest them close to bedtime).
Cut back on the booze
Alcohol may be messing with more than just your sleep. Alcohol is a depressant, and it’s not a great thing to be ingesting a lot of even under the best of circumstances. If you’re suffering from mental health issues, you should be particularly careful about your drinking habits. It’s far too easy to let negative thoughts take over when you are drunk, and feeling out of control (or, the next day, sick and tired) will not put you in a position to feel positive and happy about your life.
Caring for your mental health is about what you do and don’t do, but it’s not a checklist of chores. The real goal needs to be a healthy lifestyle that becomes second nature to you. Make small changes and commit to them, and try to turn your good decisions into habits. Reshaping your lifestyle could turn you into a happier, healthier person.