Mental health is important, but the topic hasn’t been given the attention it deserves until recently. Therefore, it can be difficult for the average person to understand the mechanics of mental health, and there are countless ways that modern life can lead to poor mental health if you’re not careful. These tips will help you maintain your mental well being.
One of the most interesting and least understood aspects of mental health is the interplay between the mind and the body. Poor mental health can lead to physical symptoms, for example, and a lack of exercise can lead to a decline in mental health. Many people in the modern era live fairly sedentary lives, so just as many people will experience mental health problems as a result. When you exercise, it causes the release of serotonin in the body, and serotonin is a chemical that improves your mood and mental health. Likewise, the deprivation of this essential chemical will lead to a worse mood, a weaker immune system, and potentially mental illness. Staying active is therefore a crucial way to take care of both your body and your mind.
One great way to stay active is swimming. Swimming constitutes a full body workout, but it is also generally a very relaxing way to spend your time. That means that it can not only satisfy the demand for physical activity, but it can also be a therapeutic activity, and this is a common theme among mental health maintenance strategies. Buying a pool is a great way to keep yourself active, because you’re bringing this luxurious exercise activity right to you. Standing pools can be fairly affordable, although they lack the versatility and size of an in ground pool. While it can be exorbitantly expensive to the average person, the in ground pool cost can be affordable via financing options.
Like swimming, yoga is a great marriage of physical exercise and mental health maintenance. Yoga is often popular among older people, and that can contribute to the notion that yoga isn’t real exercise. However, the accessibility of yoga is a strength, rather than a weakness. Yoga can be incredibly demanding, especially to newcomers. Likewise, more advanced yoga poses can be a true test of physical strength. More importantly, yoga promotes tranquility and mindfulness, both of which can contribute to better mental health.
Another common problem among modern people is a lack of sleep. People often burn the candle at both ends in order to get more work done or to have some fun after work, and while this is understandable, it’s also detrimental to your well being, both physically and mentally. Likewise, people with dynamic schedules will find the quality of their sleep much worse than someone with a more consistent bedtime. In order to get the best possible sleep, you’ll need to address these two factors.
For starters, doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You can certainly get by with 6 hours of sleep, but you should aim for at least 7, and 5 or less hours will lead to immediate symptoms of sleep deprivation. You should also try to ensure that you go to sleep at more or less the same time each night. This is because of the body’s “internal clock,” a function that means that your body will be the most ready for sleep about 24 hours after going to sleep the previous night. Going to sleep earlier can lead to restlessness throughout the night, because your body wasn’t given enough time to get tired, and the same can result from a lack of exercise. Going to sleep later is easier, but it means getting tired earlier than intended, about the time you’d usually be going to bed, and potentially oversleeping in order to achieve the same wake up time.
Exhaustion is a common symptom of a poor sleep schedule, and that can lead to a poor mood and potentially depression. Likewise, a restless night’s sleep can lead to more vivid, memorable dreams, and that can cause disorientation; nightmares specifically can cause an immense amount of distress. This happens because REM sleep is frequently interrupted. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is the stage of sleep at which most dreaming occurs.
Normally, you don’t remember your dreams, but when REM sleep is interrupted, that dream is fresh in your mind when you wake up. That’s why you most likely remember more nightmares than more peaceful dreams. A restful night’s sleep will typically seem like nothing but blackness and the near instantaneous passage of time.
Another crucial part of the human experience is the need for mental stimulation. As they say, “variety is the spice of life.” While most people naturally crave variety, many people don’t realize that it’s also necessary for the health of the physical brain, as well as the mind. For example, the average person hates their job, but this feeling often isn’t as intense when you first start a new position. This is because learning how to perform a new task is more stimulating and, therefore, more engaging. Once that job becomes routine, it starts to feel like it drags on, because it’s not new and interesting anymore. Therefore, it’s helpful for people to have a hobby that they can engage with in their free time. Not only is that variety necessary in and of itself, but developing new skills is even more helpful in improving and maintaining mental health.
Artistic and athletic hobbies are even more beneficial to the mind, but both for very different reasons. Both entail developing a skill, but creating works of art also engages in a more direct way, and it also allows artists to express and process their emotions, giving it a therapeutic quality. On the other hand, athletic hobbies provide the mental benefit of learning a new skill while also providing some much needed exercise.
However, just about any hobby can be beneficial, because even something as simple as playing a game can benefit your mind, because chess and video games alike still involve honing a skill. Likewise, playing games can provide a much needed time to, ironically, turn your brain off for a little bit. More specifically, it can give your brain some much needed room to breath from time to time and focus on something with less to worry about and much lower stakes.
Taking care of yourself isn’t always as simple as you might think. There are many ways that your mental health can be compromised by otherwise commonplace and innocuous circumstances. However, these tips can help you maintain the wellbeing of your body and your mind.