HOW TO INTENTIONALLY DEVELOP A HEALTHY MENTAL HEALTH AS A YOUTH
Physical health requires conscious health and so does mental health. Here are 5 ways to actively take care of your mental health.
1 Practice self-care regularly: Stress is a high-risk factor when it comes to mental health. A key way to relieve stress is by indulging regularly in self-care activities. Self-care activities refer to a wide range of deliberate relaxation techniques personal to every individual which helps to promote mental and emotional wellbeing. It could include anything from journaling to exercising, meditation, practicing yoga, taking hot baths, and even sleeping in. These practices which seem minor help to relax and reduce frustrations brought about by life’s problems. It is important to set aside time to indulge especially when we feel tense and under a lot of pressure. Take out time to discover self-care routines that give you peace and promote happiness. It does not have to be elaborate or grand and please note that what works for you might not work for others, you need to figure out your preferences and things that make you happy: watch your favorite movies and call up your favorite people from time to time
2 Physical Wellness: As established earlier physical health and mental health are codependent and intertwined, one affects the other so in essence physical wellness could play a major role in mental health. It is important to stay active and eat right. Exercising should be prioritized as well. Fruits and vegetables should also be invested in to boost the body’s immunity as well as enable the proper functioning of the body’s hormones. Also, make sure to get enough sleep and drink lots of water.
3 Ask for help when you need it: I know how difficult this sounds but the truth is no one knows what is going on with you except yourself. You need to speak up about your feelings and needs. Your feelings are valid so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you feel overwhelmed or you know you’re struggling please try to reach out to a trusted friend or confidant, Vulnerability can be very scary but when you share your burdens with others it helps to lift the burdens off your back. They could help to offer you a new perspective about the problems you’re dealing with and may even proffer amazing solutions to them. Talk about your feelings, there’s no use bottling it up as it will just make things worse. Identify your safe space or community where you can ask for support or confide in even if it’s just one trusted person.
4 Embracing self-acceptance: Self-acceptance is very important in building sound self-esteem. Embracing our flaws and weaknesses would help us appreciate our uniqueness and live a life filled with positivity and gratitude. Self-acceptance also helps us to be able to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and resolve to be better people. . If you don’t accept yourself, it would take a negative toll on your self-esteem which would, in turn, lead to negative emotions which causes feelings of depression and anxiety. You need to acknowledge the fact that although you aren’t perfect you are still worthy. It is this mindset that helps us stay resilient and bounce back no matter the challenges that life throws at us.
5 Setting goals and engaging in meaningful work: Setting goals and accomplishing them is another way of protecting your mental health. Accomplishing your goals boosts dopamine levels in your brain and helps you feel happy, confident, and motivated. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone and a natural part of the brain’s reward system so when a goal is smashed, your brain gives you a shot of dopamine which leaves you feeling happy and content. Setting goals as well as engaging in meaningful work such as volunteering, helping others out and involvement in charities helps to boost your overall mental wellbeing. Break down your goals into small achievable bits such as creating a to-do list daily, making sure you reward yourself and celebrating your small wins when you smash your goals. Happiness is intentional and you can make a daily habit out of it.
TRIGGERS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN CHANGING TIMES THAT MAY AFFECT ONE’S MENTAL HEALTH
2 Low self-esteem
3 Substance abuse
4 Chronic health conditions
5 Social media and comparison
6 Sudden change or loss
7 Childhood trauma, abuse, and bullying
SOLUTIONS TO MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN CHANGING TIMES
1 Practice mindfulness and check in with yourself from time to time
2 Learn stress coping strategies
3 Set realistic goals
4 Ask for help when you need it and seek out therapy
5 Avoid comparing yourself to people on social media and take a break from it when you need to
7 Make a habit of gratitude and invest in things that make you happy.
By Inioluwa Amu
Picture Credit- Pexels