Mental health is something that I’m very passionate about since mental conditions run in my family. In fact, I have seen many of my loved ones suffer from mental illnesses and I myself suffer from bipolar depression. I’ve seen how quickly someone can quickly deteriorate from a mental condition and it’s something that has broken my heart many times. I absolutely can’t stand to see the people that I love suffer. I’ve learned many ways that we can attempt to naturally improve our mental health and many of these have helped me in the past.
Have a gratitude journal or writing journal to help with thoughts
I’ve had a journal for years and tracking my moods from day to day has always been extremely helpful for me. Writing down your thoughts, troubles, and vents can definitely help with your mental state.
If you keep a gratitude journal you should include 2-4 things that you were grateful for that day and also 2-4 “wins” for that day. (Big things that you were able to accomplish.) This will help to elevate your mood and reflect on all of the great things that you do have in your life instead of all of the negative.
If you’re looking for a guided gratitude journal here’s the link to a great one that I have been using in conjunction with my regular journal.
Get a good night’s sleep
Getting enough sleep may be enough to boost your mental health.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and night, this will become a habit and easier for you to achieve within 30 days. Creating a sleep and wake schedule for yourself will help your body to know when it’s time to start winding down for the night and also make it a lot easier for you to wake up in the morning.
When you’re depressed you often have the overwhelming urge to stay in bed all day. It takes a ton of effort and energy to get up and function like a productive human being and it seems like all interests you used to have are now gone. I’ve found that when you have those days you honestly have to force yourself to get up. Staying in bed and giving in will make depression worse and not better. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done but it is possible.
Drink coffee or green tea
Both coffee and green tea have been linked to lowering the rates of depression and boosting mental health. Coffee has been found to reduce inflammation and have a positive effect on low dopamine levels in the brain, helping with mild to moderate depression. However, drinking too much coffee or green tea can also worsen depression, anxiety, and insomnia because of the caffeine. You need to be careful and stay under the recommended caffeine intake for the day in order to keep that happy medium. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, drink decaf coffee or caffeine free tea.
Get artistic or grab a coloring book
There’s a reason that adult coloring books were created; to help with anxiety and depression for those who suffer with it. Coloring and being artistic has calming qualities and it has similar effects as meditation has on your mood. In fact, there are specialists that are Art Therapists who have been preaching the positive effects of art and coloring for many years. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University actually suggest coloring as an alternative to meditation to alleviate depression and anxiety — it works!
Spend some time with your pets
Spending time with your furry friend and cuddling with them can boost your mental state and lower your stress levels. If you don’t have a dog or cat of your own, try to spend some time with a friend’s pet or even volunteer your time at a shelter!
If all else fails, find a therapist
I like to try to find natural ways to deal with anxiety and depression before having to find a medical professional, but sometimes it’s your only choice. If you’ve been trying natural methods with no avail, find a therapist who can help you with talk-therapy. Talking about your problems to a therapist can be very helpful in helping with various mental conditions. These therapists are very trained to understand what you’re going through and can help to change your mindset, help to manage symptoms and help us cope with our depression or anxiety.
My depression needs to be controlled with medication but that’s not always the course of treatment. Many different therapies can be tried before medication is suggested. Whatever course of treatment you choose for yourself, I wish you the best! Feel free to reach out if you’re going through a hard time, I completely understand what you’re going through.