(Photo : Burst)
The year is barely starting and yet you already have a reason to feel stressed: an aerial strike ordered by US President Donald Trump has risen tension after it killed a top Iranian commander.
Even before that, divisive politics and the environmental crisis along with your problems have probably put you under so much pressure. If you feel anxious or depressed, it is understandable.
Aside from visiting your trusted psychiatrists, here are some scientifically proven steps to improve your mental health and overall health.
1. Exercise regularly
Working out regularly has been proven to be effective in reducing stress and controlling the symptoms of anxiety and depression. This primarily works by releasing endorphins or the “happy hormones”, but it can also allow you to take your mind off from worries which will feed your mental health problem.
But if you are not a fan of beating yourself to exhaustion, don’t worry because working out does not always mean going to the gym. Any form of activities that can make you move such as walking your dogs, washing your car, and gardening has been proven to improve your mood significantly.
For those who have a sedentary lifestyle for more than a year, start with a 10 to 15 minutes workout regularly before you increase it slowly. It will make a lot of difference.
2. Practice optimism
Optimism is not about ignoring your problem or forcing yourself to smile during a difficult circumstance. It simply means accepting your fate and finding a way to make it work, rather than blaming yourself unnecessarily.
To train yourself to be optimistic, an analysis suggested practicing the “Best Possible Self” technique. This involves imagining yourself overcoming all obstacles to achieve your goals.
Practicing the tactic for at least 15 minutes a week for eight weeks can change your outlook in life and remain optimistic for six months, one study reported.
3. Help those who are in need
You probably heard some people say that there is a joy in helping without expecting anything in return. And scientists agree. According to the studies, it produces happy hormones by stimulating the reward centers of the brain.
Aside from possibly helping ease the symptoms of depression, studies also found out that helping people can increase our tolerance for pain. A study found out that those who help orphans are less sensitive to an electric shock than those who do not.
Humans are social creatures, and a Harvard study that took 75 years to finish has proven that a good social relationship will make people happier and healthier.
According to Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, it does not have to be a committed relationship. You can still get the benefits of having a healthy friendship with your favorite persons or growing up with a loving family.
Some people feel lost and depressed because they invalidate their own emotions. And it will often lead to self-destructive behaviors such as overindulgence and being violent.
If you feel sad or angry, it is natural. These are natural consequences whenever our life path changes to something we did not want, said Colleen Mullen, PsyD, LMFT, a psychotherapist and founder of the Coaching Through Chaos.
Always remember to be kind to yourself. If you are overwhelmed, take a break rather than quitting immediately.
Do activities that will make you feel happy. Attend inspirational events. Seek out help by visiting mental health professionals or joining support groups.
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