When most people think of “being healthy,” physical health tends to come to mind. However, the fact remains that your mental and emotional health are just as important. In fact, in many ways, your mental health can have a huge impact on your physical health.
If you sometimes feel like you aren’t fully enjoying life or have a lack of control when it comes to your emotions, you could be unknowingly exercising some habits that are bad for your mental health. Here are some simple steps you can take to enjoy better mental health.
Get a Daily Dose of Sunlight
Believe it or not, simply being exposed to a safe dose of natural sunlight each day can work wonders for your mood and emotional health. Specifically, when your body is exposed to sunlight, it releases serotonin, which is essentially a “feel-good” chemical that boosts your mood (Medical News Today). Usually, 10-15 minutes of sunlight per day is enough to make a difference; just be sure not to prolong your exposure to the sun without sunscreen.
Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol might make you feel good in the short-term, but did you know it’s actually a depressant? Ultimately, excess alcohol consumption can hurt your mental well being in a number of ways. It can damage your personal relationships, prevent you from getting the motivation you need to achieve your goals, and lead to dependence. It’s okay to have a drink or two every once in awhile, but you should never rely on alcohol to alter your mood.
Get Enough Exercise
Sure, you’re a busy person and so taking an hour out of your day to hit the gym isn’t always feasible. However, studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of physical activity each day can drastically improve your mood, relieve stress and anxiety, and help fight feelings of depression. Even if you don’t have time to run to the gym, a simple task such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make all the difference.
Put Good In, Get Good Out
Finally, take a look at your diet. Consider keeping a food journal for the week. Are you relying on processed foods and fast foods for sustenance? If so, it may be time for a change in diet. You’d be surprised at just how much your mood can be affected by the foods you eat. Take small steps towards eating healthier and more nutritious food, even if it means starting out by swapping out pepperonis on your pizza for veggies.
There you have it: a few simple steps you can take to improve your mental health. Give some (or all) of these a try to see what a difference a few small chances can make.