4 Tips for Boosting Your Mental Health

Mental Health

depressed person

Image via Pixabay at Unsplash

             As our days get shorter, colder, and grayer, it isn’t unusual for our mental health to take a hit. But for many people, feelings of depression happen year-round and can take a serious toll on their overall wellbeing. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

If you’re feeling overly tired, having difficulty sleeping, experiencing changes in eating habits, or are feeling sad or “empty,” WebMD.com notes that you’re exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with depression. First and foremost, you should seek the help of a medical professional. But here are a few additional tips to help you boost your mental health.

Clear your head by diving in. When we exercise our brain releases chemicals—neurotransmitters, endorphins, and endocannabinoids—which Mayo Clinic notes make us feel good and therefore can help “ease depression.” If you’re depressed but you can’t decide what type of exercise will be best for you, try swimming. As this article on swimming and depression notes, because it requires deep breathing and repetitive motion, swimming can bring on a sense of relaxation. It offers a great way for you to take advantage of those feel-good brain chemicals while also clearing your mind and de-stressing.

Get out and about even if you don’t want to. Whether it’s because of the deep fatigue that comes with the disease or whether negative thoughts convince you that no one wants to spend time with you, those who are depressed tend to isolate themselves, choosing to stay at home rather than take part in activities that they once enjoyed. PsychologyToday.com stresses the importance of taking part in activities that can “raise your spirits.” It recommends finding coping strategies—whether it’s taking a walk or calling a friend—that can help you through your darkest days.

Seek support. You are not alone. Millions of other people suffer from depression. In its guide on dealing with depression, HelpGuide.org recommends that you find someone with whom to discuss your feelings. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or a stranger at a support group, talking about your depression and how it’s affecting your thoughts and actions is much better than holding those feelings in or trying to work through them on your own.

Let a four-legged friend cheer you up. Whether we’re depressed or just having a bad day, we can all always benefit from a little TLC. As this article on depression and dogs notes, having a furry friend can be a great way to receive some unconditional love while also providing a driving force to get you up and going on your worst days. After all, regardless of how you’re feeling, Fido will always need to be taken out and fed. So, when you’re feeling down, spend a little time cuddling up to a beloved pet. For Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs, please see this guide.

When you’re in the grips of depression, it can be easy to feel hopeless. But know that things never are. Whether it’s one of the tips listed above or something else,make a promise to yourself that you’ll take at least one action to help yourself feel better. Sometimes just getting going on one task or activity is all it takes to spur you toward brighter days.

Patricia Sarmiento is a health and fitness enthusiast. She loves writing about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics on her blog. A life-long athlete, she makes living an active lifestyle a constant goal. She lives with her family in Maryland.