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9 mental health tips to boost your well-being

9 mental health tips to boost your well-being

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you’re not alone. In fact, one in five adults in the U.S. reports mental health problems every year. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your mental health. If you know you’re prone to periods of sadness or worry, using these mental health tips on a regular basis can be especially helpful. Here’s how to get started.

1. Get enough (but not too much) sleep.

Chronic sleep problems affect up to 80% of psychiatric patients, and poor sleep is a symptom of many mental illnesses. Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as limiting caffeine and screen time, is crucial for mental health. Shoot for going to bed and getting up at the same time daily, even on weekends. If you notice you’re sleeping far more than 8 hours, it could be a sign of depression.

2. Exercise regularly.

You don’t have to hit the gym every day, but research has repeatedly found that being physically active can improve your mental health. If it’s pleasant enough to go for a long walk or run outside, sunlight exposure can also boost your mood.

3. Eat a balanced diet.

Indulging in your favorite guilty pleasure food on a bad day may make you feel better. Eating junk food daily, however, will have you feeling like, well, junk. Packing your meals with fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and lean protein can help you feel better in the long run.

4. Skip the booze.

One night of drinks with friends might be just what you need to snap out of a funk. Just be careful not to turn to alcohol every time you feel down or stressed.

5. Go see your friends and family.

Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends and family, but it shouldn’t replace in-person interactions. In-person social connections are a key piece of mental well-being. Spend quality time with family members regularly. No family in town? Try scheduling weekly coffee dates or lunches with friends, joining a church, or volunteering. If you’re feeling low, pick up the phone and call someone instead of texting.

6. Try new things.

Trying new things is a proven way to break out of a rut and boost your mental health. Learning new skills, such as a new craft or activity, can make you feel more self-confident. If your new hobby involves other people, you may also develop social connections.

7. Adjust your expectations.

Learning to accept the things you can’t control isn’t easy, but it can make a big difference in your attitude. Adjusting your expectations professionally and personally may be just what you need to lower stress.

8. Meditate or pray.

Finding the calm in the storm may be at odds with your busy lifestyle. However, a daily meditation practice can help change how your brain works. If meditation seems too foreign, prayer or simply sitting in quiet contemplation with your thoughts and feelings can serve much the same purpose.

9. Ask for help.

It’s not weak to ask for help for your mental health. Some problems need professional care. An LCMC Health behavioral health provider can work with you to treat the root causes of your struggles.

If you need professional help for your problems, LCMC Health is here for you. Make an appointment today. If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or others, please call or text 988 immediately for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.