Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Alex Johnson

Professional Writer and Blogger

Study Reveals The Youngest Sibling Is The Funniest (And Something More For Them To Win At Life!) If You Don’t Want To Visit The Dentist, Eat These 4 Foods More Often 6 Things You Didn’t Know Increase Your Chance Of Having Tooth Decay Always Feel Dizzy And Weak? 4 Drinks You Need To Relieve Symptoms Of Anemia People Who Were Scouts And Guides Are Mentally Healthier For Their Entire Lives

Trending in Brain

1 Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts 2 What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good) 3 What is Cognitive Dissonance (And How to Dodge it) 4 How Do Memory Vitamins Work? (And the Best Brain Supplements) 5 How Not to Let Cognitive Bias Control Us When Dealing with COVID-19

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

Advertising

Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

Advertising

4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

Advertising

7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

Advertising

Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next