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5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Mental Health

5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Mental Health

We are living in a hectic world where things seem to happen at a fast rate and require more of our thinking power to adapt to the changing environment. Therefore, it is important to take care of yourself by specifically improving your mental health. Each day, there are many easy tasks to perform which will allow you to maintain and enhance your mind and wellness and have lots of benefits later.

When you take care of your mind, you can make better decisions, think more clearly, feel more optimistic, create and maintain better relationships, sleep more peacefully, and generally feel cheerful. The question is who would not want these achievements?

Below are some of the five easy tips to improve your mental health.

1. Make healthy choices

It is very easy to relieve your hunger pangs by taking a snack, but simply interchanging food can help your mind stay more focused throughout the day. Nutritionists advise that swapping food that is moderate in protein, high in fiber, and low glycemic index, regulates food appetite and consumption.

For instance, a good example of a healthier snack is eating a fresh fruit and raw nuts. It is possible to train and persuade your brain to get stimulated about vegetables and to have no pleasure when you consume junk or sugary foods.

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You can achieve this by changing your eating behavior over time, and training your brain to desire healthier foods. Extensive research has found that the brain functions best with 25 grams of fruit sugars in the body.

Therefore, try training your brain by eating a fruit rather than a packet of crisps mid-morning. Sooner, your brain will get used to this eating habit and desire a fruit around that time.

Also, never forget to drink water too. Keeping your body hydrated can increase brain power by up to 20 percent. Always ensure you carry water in a bottle all the time since you will always remember to sip more often especially when you have a lot of work.

2. Have some quiet time

Our surroundings have too much noise since there are so many activities taking place around us that we lack enough resting time. When we are outdoors, we are surrounded by cars hooting and public noises from people, or the general hustle of the environment. On the other hand, when we are indoors such as being in an office, we are surrounded by noises from conversations, typing, telephones, printers, etc. Inside our houses too, we have the noises from TVs or Radios.

Out of all these distractions, when will our minds ever have peace or rest during the day?

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Getting some quiet time through relaxation in a quiet room can produce miracles for our mental health. Doing so will create focused  thoughts during the day. You can even practice some meditation since it encourages mental health.

The best way to maintain a quiet time to boost mental health is attempting some relaxation exercises. These include prayer, deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness practices and even short naps at mid-day.

3. Avoid stress

There are many forms of stress. People do not even realize they suffer from stress, but the buildup of small and regular negative thoughts and energy could contribute a negative impact on your mental and even physical health.

Stress can cause poor mental health in various disorders such as such as depression and anxiety, personality changes, bipolar disorder, problem behaviors, cognitive (thinking) problems, etc.

Apart from poor mental health, stress can also cause extreme fatigue, negative feelings, hair loss, infertility, muscle pains, weight loss/gain, and poor functioning of internal organs. Always try and find out what could be the leading causes of stress in your life. You can easily find out by assessing your environment.

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Later, try to change the possible causes of stress where you can. Most of the above stress causes can easily be solved by making small, positive changes by avoiding the what triggers them. For instance, it’s hard to avoid distractions from the office such as work colleagues very often. However, you may make a conscious decision to leave the office during lunchtimes and take a walk or rest in a quiet place in the fresh air on your own.

4. Keep your mind active

Using your computer or watching the TV after work every evening can have some benefits occasionally. But generally, combining your monotonous habit with something that maintains an active mind is an excellent way to stay sharp.

For instance, try playing with crosswords or puzzles, reading a book or solving a jigsaw. Many people decide involving themselves in gaming as a way of improving brain power. Games induce excitement, releases positive emotions that keep the brain active and encourage a sharp mind thus improving mental health.

Studies show that video games improve reaction times by 25 percent! Simple games like bingo can improve your reactions, create a lively mind and relieve stress. These days due to advanced technology, you can obtain lots of game applications on a tablet or phone which are available online.

5. Talk about it

If you have something or a problem on your mind, it does wonders when you get it off your chest. It is worth remembering that seeking help indicates strength, not weakness. It has been said that a problem half shared is a problem half solved.

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When you hold back negative or hurting thoughts such as anger, your mental health is prone to suffer. You will experience stress and tension, and you might also lack sleep at night. These feelings can build up so quickly, causing a seemingly desperate state in which you cannot avoid such as depression or stomach ulcers.

Fortunately, there is always a way out and help available, and it is never as hard as it appears to find a solution. You can also conquer any issues you have with patience, time, acceptance, understanding, and support.

Featured photo credit: Lena Bell via stocksnap.io

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Alex Johnson

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

More Resources About Boost Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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