According to psychology, on an average, a mind takes 21 days to form a habit. Once it has happened, it can take months and even years to unlearn the same habit. What we forget is that these habits become the basis of our mental health. It is necessary to work on our habits and towards a healthy mental being. It can be so easy for us to take our mental health for granted; to prioritize other things; to put it off until next week. It can also seem too big and too hard but if we’re being honest here, it’s not. It is all about how you feel and what you can do to improve it. Amidst all the things demanding our attention, usually, taking care of our own selves takes a back seat. We all have our jobs, studies, kids, parents, spouses, homes and countless other things. It is normal to feel stressed among all this chaos and put yourself at the end of your priority list.
Therefore, the first step towards prioritizing mental health is to believe that it is a subject that is as important any other.
Why is it important to take care of your mental wellbeing before everything else?
The biggest misconception that we all carry is that even if we are not happy ourselves, we can make others happy, and label it as selflessness. It is a lie. Our unhappiness and imbalance will be visible to others and affect the people around us in one way or the other. It is something that is actually out of our hands. Our subconscious mind has a way of letting out the emotions inside us. The more we try to bury them, bigger is the blast when they come out, and can damage our relationships and mental health even more.
Our entire mental system works in a pattern. Disturbance of that pattern causes mental health issues. It is very important to identify your pattern and work on it accordingly. Only a truly happy person can keep his or her surroundings positive. We all, at least once in our lives, have come across someone whom we get “POSITIVE” vibes from. It is actually the sense of balance, positive thoughts and peace that we get from them. Those are usually the people who are synchronized with their emotions and hold a maturity that can be felt in their actions. Such people know the meaning of discipline and walk through the stairs of success to be someone worthwhile. All of this happens because they make their mental health a priority.
How to make mental health your number one priority?
The good thing about this entire situation is that with some conscious effort, one can actually reduce the risk of mental health issues. By applying the following steps in your life, you can very easily be a healthy person over all.
1. Eat Well
A healthy diet helps in increasing your energy level and keeps you physically healthy; we all know that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. According to studies, what we eat directly affects our mental health. Hence, a healthy and balanced diet leads to a good mental health while an unhealthy diet can lead to increase in stress levels, depression and anxiety problems.
A healthy diet consists of:
- A good amount of nutrients
- Less number of calories
- A variety of foods having all the basic vitamins, proteins etc
- Less amount of sugar, fats, salt and alcohol
2. Reduction in stress
Just like a healthy diet, stress also has its effects on one’s body and mind. The glow on one’s face decreases, the person experiences a sudden change in weight and appetite, some experience hair loss, etc.
Some of the more prominent signs are –
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Anger and irritability
- Sudden outbursts
It can be cured by meditation, taking deep breaths and having some “Me time” every day. Talking to yourself, asking yourself questions, and introspecting your own feels can have many positive effects as well.
3. Exercise Daily
The endorphins that flood our brain during and after exercise have the same effect as antidepressants and help in calming our nerves. They help to uplift our mood, release stress and increases our energy. According to studies, individuals who exercise on a daily basis, show next to no symptoms of anxiety and depression than the ones who do not exercise.
4. Getting enough sleep
Sleep is a vital but often neglected component of our overall health and well-being. Sleep is important as it enables the body to repair, and be fit and ready for the next day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and prolonged illness.
Benefits of good sleep are:
- It helps to reduce stress
- It can improve our memory
- It can help lower blood pressure
- It helps the body to fight back diseases
- It helps to maintain a good weight
- It helps in elevating our mood
As they say, “You Only Live Once.” Then why waste this one amazing opportunity on being imbalanced and stressed all the time when by simply taking care of ourselves, we can do so much more within just one lifetime? It isn’t selfish to make our health our priority but by not doing so, we will risk our own happiness as well as that if people around us. Hence, by following the above-mentioned steps, we can have a better mental health and live a healthy life sans stress.
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