5 Steps To Better Mental Health

male friends having a great time in pub

“I suck.” That may be the refrain running through your head, everyday, but you’re not exactly sure when this phrase started looping through your head, and you can’t figure out how to get it to go away. Sometimes, you can trace it back to childhood, but usually this voice starts in your early teens or adulthood. Many times, the little voice in your head says way worse stuff than “I suck.”, like, “I don’t deserve to live.” or “I should kill myself.” This little voice that may have come from nowhere can become a huge voice. It’s name is depression and there are ways to quiet this voice, get your motivation back, and prevent it from returning.

Depression is a serious mental disorder and while an analogy of a little or big voice is used, that just describes many of the thoughts that can come with depression. These thoughts, and symptoms, dominate the lives of men who suffer from depression and can shatter their self-worth. But, there’s hope and ways you can get relief from these symptoms that are lowering your quality of life.

Step #1: Eat Many Kinds Of Food

There are a lot of food groups. Your diet should include items from each one. By eating from all of these food groups you can ensure you don’t have a nutrient deficiency that can bring about physical and mental health issues.

The food triangle is a simple way to figure out what you need to eat and how much. A couple of foods that can boost your mood are whole grains, poultry, beans, fish, lean meats, and legumes.

Step #2: Appreciate Your Uniqueness

The world is full of billions of people and not one of them is just like you. You’re the only you that will ever be on this planet and that’s amazing. Like all of the other billions of people on Earth, you’re flawed and you’ll make mistakes, but don’t wallow in either of these things because they can trigger depression.

When you criticize yourself, over and over again, just imagine if you treated your wife, or child, the way you treat yourself. What would that look like? Would you be proud of how you are treating them?

Respect and kindness isn’t reserved just for people who aren’t you. You have to be kind and respectful of yourself. With a positive frame of mind and realizing that you’re just as vulnerable to nasty comments and self-defeating behaviors as other people, you can see all of the strengths only you can offer. The world, your family, and your friends, isn’t better off without you. They need you.

While you’re exploring all the great things about yourself, find stuff that you love. Hobbies are a great way to build your skills and create things you love. If you have no hobbies, then find a skill. Learn a new language or dive into a subject that really interests you. With new hobbies, or skills being learned, your brain will become less foggy, your self-esteem will increase, and your depression will be unable to hold so tight.

Step #3: Keep Your Body Healthy

man eating healthy saladA sickly body can be a big factor in a brain consumed with depression. By eating meals full of vegetables, low fats, and low salt you’ll find yourself becoming happier. Thinking back, have you ever eaten a really heavy meal or got busy and ate junk food all the time? If so, you probably felt really tired, slowed down, and in a bad mood.

Your body is a physical manifestation of your mind. An unhealthy mind will gravitate towards unhealthy things like smoking and alcohol. You’ve heard this before, I’m sure, but smoking and alcohol are very bad for your organs. Separately, they shorten your life; together, the numbers are worse.

Grab a stainless steel water bottle and fill it with water. Our bodies are around 60% water and our brains are about 73%. Activities of daily life can suck this water from your body, leaving it dehydrated. When this happens, not only will you feel constant fatigue, you’ll also feel depressed.

And finally, sleep. Sleep is a core function of our well-being. Keep a consistent schedule, turn off all the lights and electronics, and just rest. We can only live for around eleven days without sleep. Any longer and our organs will begin shutting down and we will die. Yes, less than two weeks. This proves how important sleep is to your health. If you aren’t getting enough high-quality sleep your body wont have time to repair itself.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

While the message behind this quote is admirable, it can be a recipe for overworking yourself. Death is not sleep because you don’t wake up. Getting, at minimum, eight hours of sleep will boost your mood, energy, and information processing through the day. With these three things functioning at much higher levels you’ll achieve more of the things you want.

Step #4: Meet Others

Socialization is a great way to lower depression. Always be selective when choosing who you let into your life. Toxic people who may be controlling, overbearing, or critical, won’t help your mental health. Find people who are interested in what you are, have positive dispositions, and are accepting. Online friendships are better than nothing, but they’re not as good as face-to-face contact.

Step #5: Improve Other People’s Lives

hiker helping companion to climb

Get out there and help someone else. Everyone needs help with one thing or another. When you help others it can release endorphins that’ll make you happy and bring a sense of calm to your internal world. You know that everyone struggles, everyone needs help. You can be the helping hand that lifts someone else’s depression.

There are many reasons for depression and possible ways to reduce symptoms. If you find your depression isn’t lifting, despite what you do, contact your doctor or get a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

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