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10 Tips To Improve Your Mental Health

By TANVI SARDESAI
January 27, 2022 11:17 IST
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Tanvi Sardesai, clinical psychologist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai, lists simple habits that will help you improve your overall mental health.

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Keerthy Suresh/Instagram

Be it students, working professionals or homemakers, the pandemic has taken a severe toll on the mental health of everyone.

While most of us ignore the symptoms as mere stress or burnout, the signs are deep rooted.

It's important to watch out the signs, seek help and timely intervention to break free from the cycle.

If you are unable to seek help, here are some simple habits that will help you improve your overall mental health.

1. Have a routine

Having a routine brings about a sense of productiveness. It structures our day.

When you prepare a routine or a schedule to follow it makes it easier to set aside time for leisure activities as well, which brings us to our next point.

2. Make time for leisure

It's important to include various facets into our day. Engaging in leisure or pleasurable activities can help you de-stress and can also help break the monotony.

Spend time with your pet, sign up for a hobby class or simply relax and take your mind off the routine.

3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness involves being present in the moment, focusing on the 'now'.

It involves being aware and non-judgemental of our current state, emotions, environment.

You can start practicing mindfulness by picking specific tasks or activities during which you can be mindful such as eating mindfully, where you focus solely on the food -- the way it looks, the different aromas, the various flavours you can taste, the texture of the food etc.

You can also pick activities like colouring or drawing mindfully.

4. Practice gratitude

Gratitude has been linked to increased well-being.

You can practice gratitude by maintaining a gratitude log or journal where you can write things you are grateful for every day. It is important to make this a regular habit to see a long-term benefit.

5. Practice sleep hygiene

It is important for our bodies to be well rested.

One way of ensuring this is to get adequate sleep.

Some things you can do to practice sleep hygiene are having a night routine, waking up at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine close to bed time, avoiding screens before going to bed.

You can read instead of using a screen. It also helps to take a warm shower before going to bed.

Another importing thing is to avoid using the bed for work or studying or any activity other than sleeping.

6. Engage in physical activity

Exercise releases endorphins and also stimulates the release of dopamine.

These increase positive feelings and enhance our mood. Exercise is thus an important activity to improve our mental well-being.

7. Journal

Journaling can help you gain more clarity about your thoughts. You can also maintain a thought record.

This can help you identify maladaptive or unhelpful thoughts. Through this you can identify thoughts that maintain or cause negative emotions.

Journaling can also make it easier for you to reflect on events and your actions.

8. Learn to label emotions correctly

Labelling emotions helps us gain a better understanding of what is going on with us and why we may feel or act a certain way.

This can also help us modify our actions and can help us communicate our thoughts and feelings more effectively.

Once you have labelled your emotions it is also easier for you to experience the emotion in a more non-judgemental way.

9. Engage in relaxation techniques

Take time to breathe, meditate when you feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Regulating our breathing helps the body and mind relax.

You can also choose to create a safe space for yourself where you can be when you feel overwhelmed.

You can also create and imagine a mental safe space if going to an actual physical safe space is not possible.

10. Seek help if and when you need to

It is important to reach out whenever you feel the need to.

We must realise that there is no shame in seeking professional help.

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TANVI SARDESAI