Taking care of our mental health is very important. I write to that effect most weeks in my articles here. Some may think even more so though in the post-pandemic world we are living in. It is crucial now more than ever that we take responsibility for our mental health since there are many different ways that life takes a toll on our mental health. Our brain controls how we feel, react, and think in our daily lives. It also determines our ability to establish relationships, manage stress and anxiety, and cope with the uncertainty of life. Our lifestyle decisions have a significant impact on our mental health. Therefore, we can significantly improve our mental health by making a few tweaks to our lifestyle. Currently, there are many who are simply fatigued mentally given the strains of the current world. Today, I’m sharing with you six ways you can revitalise your mind and improve your mental health.
Staying active is a tried and tested method of making yourself feel better. Exercising is a great way to revamp your self-care goals and benefit your body and mind. In addition to more immediate benefits of exercising, which include weight management, reduced risk of health problems, stronger bones and muscles, psychological benefits of working out include lower stress and reduced risk of depression and anxiety. When we work out, our bodies increase the production of happy hormones. A Spike in the endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine levels makes us feel more content.
Furthermore, exercising triggers the release of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are claimed to boost overall emotional wellbeing. Numerous studies have also shown that physical activity contributes to a healthier mind. It blocks out negative thoughts and keeps you from overthinking. It allows us to meet and network with new people. Moreover, seeing yourself fit and healthy may uplift your mood and reduce stress and worries.
If you are one of those who find it difficult to do exercise with high intensity, we would recommend you start by doing moderate-intensity workouts and then gradually build up to your desired intensity. However, it is important not to exceed your limits and overexert yourself. Sometimes a proper workout may seem to be too difficult. In that case, a 15-minute walk outside will do. According to Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines, “doing any physical activity is better than doing none”. I’d like to stress that even sports and a walk count as physical activity of course.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” – Sharon Salzberg.
Practising mindfulness offers many benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing. The goal of mindfulness exercises like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises is to focus on the present moment, understand your current feelings, and keep yourself physically fit. Meditation is a type of mindfulness exercise that focuses on enhancing attention and an increasing sense of awareness. It has been around for hundreds of years and is practised in many different cultures and religions. Meditations offer many physical and mental health benefits ranging from stronger immunity to lower stress levels. Hence, these exercises make you feel active and ultimately revitalise your mind.
Mindfulness activities can detach you from reality and the busy life you have created for yourself. Mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery allow you to take some time out for yourself to understand your emotions and feelings. Instead of hiding your messy feelings and burying them deep down, acknowledge them. Reflecting on your feelings can make you more self-compassionate. Being mindful is scientifically proven to reduce depression and relax the body and mind. Mindfulness promotes calmness, increases inner harmony, and improves overall mental wellbeing by facilitating deep thinking and self-reflection. Increased stress causes our body to increase the production and release of the stress hormone cortisol.
A high cortisol level is associated with fatigue, headaches, accumulated abdominal fat, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and sleep disruption. Mindfulness reduces stress by forcing the mind into a deep state of relation and tranquillity, enhancing emotional health. Mediation allows the body to repair itself and protects the body from damage caused by physical stress. Simple mindfulness practice can make a big difference in how you see yourself and your life. Research also suggests that spending one-on-one time with yourself bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. This is especially important since the disconnection with one’s inner self results in low self-esteem and self-confidence. Hence, when you connect with yourself, you are not only becoming more self-aware, but you are also improving your feelings of self-worth.
All in all, mindfulness is a simple practice that is inexpensive and accessible. Since there are a ton of different mindfulness exercises, feel free to experiment and find the technique best suited to your goals. You can also do the exercise that suits your need at the moment. Including mindfulness in your daily life is an effective way to revitalise your mind.
Make Sleep a priority
You often ignore your sleep when you are in a rat race for money, power, and status – or if you are stressed and anxious in life. It is important to know that sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. Sleep disorders are prevalent worldwide, with 70 million affected in just America alone. So, do not compromise your sleep and make sure you get quality sleep. Experts define quality sleep as a good deep sleep without any distractions. Good quality of sleep is vital for your overall health.
On the other hand, poor sleep quality is defined as an irregular sleep pattern, drowsiness during the day, and waking up several times during the night. According to National sleep, “healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.” Having a good night’s sleep helps you wake up fresh and energetic. Moreover, sleep and mood have a strong relationship. Adequate sleep facilitates your brain’s processing of emotional information. Therefore, healthy sleeping can reduce frustration and irritability and uplift your mood.
The research study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2018 signifies the importance of sleeping well. According to the results of the study, “a single night of sleep deprivation can cause beta-amyloid, a metabolic waste product, to accumulate in brain structures, including the amygdalae, which regulate mood, emotion, memory, and ability to learn and are implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.” Having a good quality sleep at night is one small habit you can adopt to simplify your life. If you struggle with sleep, you can try a few tips to help you sleep better at night. Meditation improves the quality of sleep. Studies have shown that people who meditate sleep much better at night as compared to those who do not practice meditation. Your meditation or self-hypnosis skills might help you clear your crowded and distracted mind, which sometimes contributes to insomnia. Meditation also increases melatonin levels in the body, helps fight sleep disorders and puts you to sleep.
Moreover, meditation puts the mind at ease, releases tension, relaxes the body, and puts your mind into a state of deep peace, making it more likely for you to fall asleep. But to reap these benefits of meditation, ensure you are consistent with your meditation. Emptying your bladder every night before bed and restricting your water intake at night can help with nocturia. You may also try limiting your electronic gadgets before hitting the sack to sleep better at night.
Spend alone time in nature
If you are still not sure what you should do to revitalise your mind, we suggest you spend some alone time in nature. Spending time in nature is an excellent way to feel the vastness and experience something greater than yourself. It lets you see the benefits of a simple life with your own eyes. Acknowledge and absorb the vastness and relax. Connecting with nature offers you an opportunity to forget about all your worries and be amazed by nature’s beauty. Ecotherapy validates the mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy, includes a set of practices that use nature to boost growth and healing. Focus on seeing, hearing, and feeling the things you might otherwise be too ignorant to notice. Spending quality time in nature can go a long way in bringing feelings of serenity, peace, and calm into your life. In addition, being exposed to sunlight helps increase the production of serotonin levels in the body, which contributes to a better mood.
Moreover, sunlight also boosts vitamin D levels in the body which positively contributes to our mental health. The list of benefits of spending time in nature is endless. According to the study (Understanding Nature and its Cognitive Benefits) by Kathryn E. Schertz and Marc G. Berman, “Experiments have found that being exposed to natural environments improves working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control, while exposure to urban environments is linked to attention deficits”. All the more reasons for us to spend more time in nature and revitalise our minds. You might enjoy this article on this topic: The Importance of Solitude.
Rising early in the morning is one of the simplest ways to revitalise your mind and improve your mental health. Being an early riser has many benefits ranging from healthier eating to being more productive. Most early risers go to bed early as well. This means they are more chances of them getting recommended sleep for adults. When you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep daily, you are more likely to be fresh and relaxed throughout the day. You would be less stressed and have a more positive outlook on life.
Moreover, you won’t feel sluggish. You will be more energetic than late risers and more likely to complete your tasks for the day much faster. Early risers also benefit from staying fit by making exercise a part of their daily routine. Most of us find it extremely hard to work out after a long day. Waking up early in the morning provides a perfect opportunity to work out and allow your mind to revitalise. In addition to the psychological benefits of rising early, there are many physical benefits of waking up early. Waking up early and getting the recommended sleep every night gives our skin ample time to rejuvenate itself. This means your skin will look its best when you wake up. Creating your sleep routine is not as easy as it sounds. It can be very challenging. But if you start slowly and try waking up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do every day, you can reach your goal in no time. But waking up early every day and not sleeping early means cutting back on your sleep time and not getting the recommended amount of sleep. Therefore, you must start sleeping early as well.
Read this article for more on this topic: How to Become a Morning Person.
Another important thing to ensure while trying to create a sleep routine is to have your alarm clock out of your reach and expose yourself to sunlight as soon as your alarm clock rings. Open the blinds and remove the curtains immediately. This will make sure you don’t fall back to sleep.
Write down the things you’re grateful for
Practising gratitude can help us understand our emotions and grow and heal around our grief and sadness. Practising gratitude fosters hope for the future, making us more forward-looking and optimistic, and improving emotional regulation. Practising gratitude is one of those things that you need to make a habit of. Being grateful improves both our mental health and physical health.
You can practice gratitude in several ways. Gratitude journals are pretty popular right now and for all the right reasons. It is a tangible way of connecting with yourself. Keeping a gratitude journal where you list down the things you have and the things you are grateful for every day is a very effective technique to incorporate more gratitude into your daily life. This list will remind you about all the good that has befallen you and add more positivity to your life. It can also bolster your self-esteem and self-confidence. Among other ways of practising gratitude, you can also try meditation and prayer. You may also try volunteering to practice gratitude. Helping the less fortunate can make you more grateful for all the good fortune that has befallen you in life and give you an outlet to make a difference in the world. It makes you feel good about yourself and generate feelings of positivity. Hopefully, a gratitude journal would allow you to regulate your emotions and refresh your mind. It can be an outlet to make a difference in the world.
This article on the science of gratitude is a great read in this regard.
Hopefully, the tips shared here can help you make simple tweaks to your lifestyle that will positively contribute to your mental health and revitalise your mind. Practising mindfulness, waking up early, and staying active are the most effective ways to revitalise your mind. Our brains need recharging just like our phones and laptops do. Read about these simple changes you can make to keep your brain refreshed and focused. Hopefully, implementing these changes in your life will make you feel more energised and empowered. However, if, despite making these changes to your lifestyle, you still feel like you are not being able to give your work and personal life your hundred per cent, then try reaching out for professional help.
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