Most of the time when we think about taking care of ourselves, we focus on our bodies. There are tips on exercising and eating right in magazines and on television. But one aspect of our health that often gets neglected is our mental states. So much of our ability to perform at our best comes from how and what we think about ourselves. Our thoughts and emotions are just as vital as our weight in guiding us through our daily lives. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to break out a negative chain of thoughts and get back to enjoying life. Here are seven lifestyle habits that will help improve your mental health.

1. Be Proud And Love Yourself

One of the most important ways to not only raise but maintain our mental health is to have positive feels towards our self-esteem. There will be times when you won’t feel as great about yourself but it is important not to dwell on those moments. When you’re emotions are vulnerable is when your thoughts can spiral into a stream of negativity. Combat that by remembering all of what you’ve accomplished, from large goals to just simple tasks. Don’t worry about criticizing your latest misstep; just focus on how you’re going to do better the next time.

2. Try Some Relaxation Techniques

The stress caused by long commutes, relationships and just daily life doesn’t just take a toll on your body when you feel exhausted. Stress is also a major drain on your emotional and mental health. You can add some simple yoga or stretching into your day to help you unwind. There’s also meditation, which can help give you long-term positive effects like alleviating anxiety and depression.

3. Make Sure You’re Sleeping

If your sleep pattern is off, chances are that your mood and emotional stability is off, too. Our bodies need sleep and rest in order to continue functioning. Our brains especially need sleep in order to process the day. When you don’t get the right amount of sleep, you run the risk of gaining weight because of poor food choices, deteriorating mental health and increased levels of stress. Set aside time to get quality sleep and follow that schedule.

4. Be Mindful Of Your Inner Dialogue

How we talk to ourselves is just as important as the external praise (or criticism) we get from outside influences. Rather than always thinking in the negative, use positive affirmations to restructure your thought patterns. For example, rather than dread your work day by thinking “I can’t wait for this to be over” try to focus on what you’re accomplishing. By choosing positive thoughts, you’ll raise your mood to be more optimistic.

5. Ask For Help

If you’re proud and confident in your independence, it might seem hard to do this. But sometimes, our problems become bigger than we can handle alone. When you can connect with your friends or family, you’ll be strengthening your mental core. Having a long conversation or going bowling will not only help distract you from your negative thoughts but it will also remind you that there are people in your life who support you.

6. Take A Break From Socializing

Sometimes, the constant flow of smiling faces and commenting becomes too much. Seeing how happy your friends seem might make you feel down about your own life. But social media envy is something you can easily get away from. Just don’t look at it. Take some time away from the constant scrolling to reevaluate yourself. By taking a break, you won’t feel the need to constantly compare yourself to how your friends are living. It doesn’t need to be a permanent separation but it will definitely help you boost your mental and emotional health.

7. Take Care Of Your Body

Our physical and mental health are intertwined for our overall well-being. With that being the case, if you take care of your body, your mental health will follow suit. Excessive amounts of junk foods or a sedentary lifestyle promote laziness and obesity. Provide your body with proper, healthy nourishing foods that make you feel good but don’t have lingering effects. Find time, even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes a day, to exercise.

Mental health is a part of our self-care that shapes how we view the world and also how we take care of ourselves. It’s necessary to find the proper methods for care, much like diets and exercising is great for our bodies. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the stress and expectations in our lives. But with a little redirection and positive influence, you can change what kind of thoughts you have.  There are so many different ways to improve your mental health that you can try a few before finding the one that suits you best.

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