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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

3 Self-Help Techniques for Better Mental Health

3 Self-Help Techniques for Better Mental Health

Basically, everything we do in all areas of our life is impacted by our mental health. The way we see, understand, and do things is based on the soundness of our mental health. Being able to cope with life situations that cause stress, anxiety, and depression shows a sign that a person is mentally fit.

This means that such a person is emotionally intelligent and interested in personal growth. Stable mental health also includes the ability to manage and balance social relationships—one’s own emotions with the emotions of others.

For example, when you know the needs of your child or parent and you’re able to meet their needs because you care about them, it is a sign of sound mental health. Or when you understand that not everyone can exactly understand the way you feel and you act accordingly to that, that indicates stable mental health.

In this article, I will offer 3 self-help techniques that can improve your mental health if practiced correctly and consistently. They are not only natural and simple, but they can be very effective and efficient when performed seriously.

Mental Health Is Not Happiness Only

It is important to know that mental health or mental fitness doesn’t mean that you must be happy or content at all times. It also doesn’t mean that you are mentally disordered or mentally ill if you’re eating or sleeping too much or too little.

There are many people I know who are practicing both and live an energetic and successful life. You too can do it, given that you inquire into yourself and do the work seriously.

Because our mental health is somewhat genetically preconditioned and shaped by our life experiences, it is crucial that we know that we can improve it, given that we find out what (which technique) works best for our goals in life to achieve the desired personal success.

Sound mental health is shaped especially through tough emotional experiences. This includes relationships with people and the impact of the environment where we live.

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This is to say that tough negative emotional experiences caused by people or the environment that produce feelings of anxiety and depression are not to be seen necessarily as bad experiences only but rather as challenges for learning and understanding life and its complexities—a possibility for exploring and discovering the human mind and, most importantly, excelling in mental health through that process.

The challenge is a symbol for the uncertain and unknown—a phenomenon that makes life alive.

Self-Help Techniques as Fundamental to Mental Health

Mental health is a combination of practice and knowledge. You acquire knowledge through practice and then you apply that knowledge by practicing it.

Personally, when I work out or meditate, I get to know myself better in a physiological way as a body and psychologically as an individual. This process creates my self-help techniques for improving not only my mentality but also my physique and the finest part of me—my spirituality.

Our overall health in general—physical, mental, and spiritual—lies in our own hands only. Outside help can advise, support, and suggest, but the work has to be carried out by ourselves.

Whatever advice or support is accepted, an individual self-help technique has to grow out of that work as a result—a symbiosis out of the external support and your individual work and approach, which shall respond to and meet your own individual needs.

The fundament is always the same, but the fine-tuning is always custom-made—you find your own specific approach to whatever challenges lies in front of you.

Let’s get to work. Here is my advice on how to create your own effective and efficient self-help techniques for improving your mental fitness.

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1. Vision

The number one self-help technique for improving your mental health is vision.

Vision is the main ingredient for setting any goal in life. The reaching of the goal is supported by the second and third self-help techniques. Vision is the fundament for focus that keeps your desired goals right in front of you—it is the substance for persistence.

A vision opens when you really want to do something that is of paramount importance to you and your life. And when you reach the moment of “wanting,” you also start “liking” whatever it is you have to do.

Vision doesn’t have to be always something supernatural, religious, or spiritual. You can have the vision of taking care of yourself and your family or the vision of being a good father or mother, and so on, and from that, you start to see (envision) the way of how to do achieve and live that vision.

Nurture a self-help technique by creating visions (and setting goals) for maintaining and improving your mental health.

Here are a few examples for creating a vision:

  1. Create a vision of maintaining a strong and flexible body and set goals. This will motivate you and inspire you to work out, build a strong focus and manage your emotions;
  2. Create a vision of making yourself content with essential things like your family members, friends, and even strangers. See the good things in those relationships and set goals to improve them if needed. This will strengthen your contentment, as well as your morality;
  3. Have a vision of creating the optimal sleeping pattern for you. Set goals by applying the next two self-help techniques. This will enable you to have a certain discipline and establish a healthy routine. For more tips on a better sleep routine, check out these 5 steps.

This self-help technique of creating different kinds of visions will give you focus and meaning in daily life, automatically improving your mental health. Create a vision out of the next self-help techniques to set even professional development goals, customizing them to your own needs. You can do this!

2. Physical Exercise

Mental health is dependent on physical health. The famous saying “mens sana in corpore sano”—usually translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”—is a vision of keeping a healthy mind in a healthy body and vice-versa.

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Both aspects of yourself, your mind, and your body go hand in hand—your body takes care of your mind and your mind takes care of your body. However, the mind triggers the thought to mobilize the body—therefore, we begin with a vision.

You activate your mind by creating a vision that has a physiological nature (like working out) and use your body to strengthen different aspects of your mind, improving your mental health.

So, the self-help technique of physical exercise will help you not only to feel more flexible, energized, and stronger but at the same time, it will improve many mental skills like:

  • attention;
  • concentration;
  • patience;
  • motivation;
  • and many more.

You can perform any kind of physical movement that suits your body geometry and repeat it for a reasonable amount of time daily. To give you some tips you can try these easy-to-perform static body postures.

Exercise at least 3 times a day for 15 minutes. In a matter of weeks, you will feel like a brand new person!

3. Mental Exercise

The mental exercise is the most important self-help technique for improving mental health. It activates creativity for a better vision. Unlike anything else, this method is consisting of all other methods and techniques in itself. It is called: meditation.

I know, you might think that it is a difficult thing to do or even worthless. It requires time and knowledge, and you also might have heard of so many people that have been meditating for a long time without benefiting from it as they’ve expected. Well, this might be the case, if they have taken on meditation as an activity, a goal, or something to follow from a book or a teacher. Meditation is a state of being and observing yourself. A very simple thing to do.

What is not simple (therefore ineffective for so many people) is to endure in that state because the mentality of the meditator is too weak and unstable and rather keen in engaging in the entertainment of various kinds. It is an easy thing to do, but it doesn’t improve mental health.

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If you can just sit still and observe your thoughts without getting interrupted, you meditate. The longer you do it, the stronger your mental health becomes.

To make it even easier for you, create this mental self-help technique:

  1. Sit still and focus your gaze on anything you want (ignore what you see – defocus on your focused object).
  2. Wait to identify your first thought, let it go, and wait for the next one.
  3. Repeat this only for a minute or two (set the timer on) and count how many thoughts have you identified.

Do this 3 times a day for a few minutes (tendency to increase). The more you repeat this self-help technique, the stronger your focus and concentration and the deeper your patience shall become. These are the fundamental elements for building strong mental health.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has put our mental health on a test. Although it is nothing but natural to react with fear and uncertainty when environmental changes suddenly impact our lives, the pandemic has not only somehow worsened the mental health for many of us but it also has increased the demand for effective mental health services.[1]

However bad the current situation and the support for mental health might be, one thing is for sure—with these 3 self-help techniques, you can always make sure your mental health is stable and at low risk of any external circumstances.

Enjoy the exercises! Most of all, have fun creating visions, setting goals, and achieving them, however small they might seem. You can do it!

More Self-Help Techniques for Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

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Marcin Gil

Marcin is a spiritual being just like anyone challenging to uncover what we already have โ€“ spiritual freedom.

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Published on March 2, 2021

How To Not Stress: 10 Stress Management Techniques

How To Not Stress: 10 Stress Management Techniques

It is not easy to decipher how to not stress, as stress is a part of life. Stress is the wear and tear of our mental and physical being as we continue to find soothing ways to cope with the constant change in our surroundings.

People often think of stress as related to work, chores at home, illnesses, and trying to beat rush hour traffic—which is not wrong—but it is more. Several factors trigger stress, but stress is the body’s internal reaction to fight or take flight in the presence of adversity.

In simple biological terms, stress is the state of increased arousal necessary for the human body to defend itself from a clear and present danger. Whenever we feel anxious, angered, tired, frightened, happy, excited, sad, or afraid, we are undergoing stress.

From minor challenges to major issues, stress is an acceptable and unavoidable pressure of human life. Stress is normal until we are incapable of controlling and coping with the overwhelming effect that stress becomes a problem.

Three in every four adults American suffer from stress—that is about 77 percent of the population.[1] Stress is triggered by anything from the economy, jobs, home front, kids, illnesses, and so on.

Types of Stress

In learning how not to stress, you must understand the types of stress and how you encourage it in your life. The causes of stress (stressors) are varied and multiple, but I am grouping them into two sectors.

External Stressors

These are external triggers that affect your immediate ability to stay focused or composed. They are:

  • Physical environment – confined spaces, light, noise, heat, brightness, and even darkness
  • Organizational – rules, regulation, deadlines, office gossips, pressure from work, etc
  • Social interaction – bullying, bossiness, disregard, harassment, aggressiveness (general human behavior towards you)
  • Life crises – death, relocation, new baby, marriage, losing your job, divorce, etc
  • Daily hassles – late in catching the bus, misplacing your car/house keys, mechanical breakdown, etc

Internal Stressors

These are stressors that emanate from our thoughts, mindset, and attitude. For example:

  • Your lifestyle – not getting enough sleep, busy schedules, caffeine or alcohol
  • Negative thoughts – pessimism, self-criticism, overthinking, feeling incapable.
  • Mind traps – being too personal about issues, unrealistic expectations, exaggerated or rigid mindset, etc
  • Personality traits – workaholic, OCD, perfectionist, etc

These factors contribute heavily to mental and physical stress leading to fear, anger, unforgiveness, and depression.

Stress and You

To consider stress as an ailment of modernity and technology is misinforming. Yes, our fast-paced lives and lifestyle are stressful, straining, and under relentless pressure. But we have actually created these triggers on our own. This is due to a desire for intense competitiveness and to match up with our peers. Stress is different for every individual, even if they are in the same situation.

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For example, a couple going through a bitter divorce will see the man enjoying himself while the lady suffers from bouts of emotional ups and downs. What is distressing to you may be nothing to another.

Take this example: a man works effectively in the comfort of his home yet finds working in a team or office stressful and overwhelming.

It is necessary to know that most of the stresses we experience are self-generated and self-induced. How we perceive (life)—whether a situation is threatening, sad, or happy—depends on how we see ourselves. The ability to recognize the stresses we create is the first step toward preventing stress.

Symptoms of Stress

Excessive, prolonging, and denying the existent of stress in our lives is detrimental and affects our entirety—and if left unresolved, results in a feeling of fear, anger, frustration, and depression.

Stress contributes to simple illnesses like headaches, skin diseases, ulcers, insomnia, and digestive problems. In severe cases, stress can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. The following are the symptoms of stress grouped into four categories.

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Change in sleep pattern without any obvious reason
  • Unstable digestive system resulting in diarrhea and inability to hold down food
  • Low sexual libido
  • Headaches and body pain
  • Dizziness, unnecessary sweating, and feeling faint
  • Palpitations, breathlessness, quickened heartbeats, or missed heartbeats

Mental Symptoms

  • Inability to focus
  • Memory lapses
  • Indecisiveness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Fear/panic attack

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Eating disorder and appetite
  • Increase smoking and alcohol intake
  • Restlessness, fidgeting, and nail-biting

Emotional Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Easily irritated
  • Anger, rage, cry easily
  • Deterioration in hygiene habit and appearance

The primary triggers of stress are lack of financial stability, job security, family responsibility, personal relationship, health issues, and safety. Now that we have successfully categorized stress, it is time to recognize the one you are suffering from and choose a simple technique to manage it.

Remember, stress can be controlled, allowing you to live a fulfilling life.

10 Stress Management Techniques

The most common stress management techniques are eating right, exercise, yoga, and meditation. However, some stress is beyond these four techniques, so we will try to list out as many as possible to help you beat that stressful situation.

A set of simple yet effective techniques to help individuals identify, understand, and effectively deal with the stress in their lives to minimize the impact.

1. Change the Perspective

How many times have you replayed a negative situation and outcome in your head that never happens? We are all human, and as crazy as it sounds, negativity is appealing and more creative than positive things. However, stress is tied to negativity and our inability to break free from them.

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Changing your perspective is not as simple as ABC. However, you can start by analyzing the feeling, removing all exaggerated parts, pick out the truth (be honest here) and discard the rest. Phew, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Now, take the truth and work on it from a positive angle. You will immediately feel less stressed, disoriented, and angered. It will take some time, but never judge an issue from an exaggerated point of view.

2. Create a Journal

A problem shared is half solved. While we cannot all go about blabbing our predicaments to others, an effective way of sharing and solving is journaling. There is really nothing difficult about journaling—it is just you writing the day’s events and how they made you feel.

Stress takes clarity, focus, and awareness of our immediate environment from us. Well, journaling restores them back to you. When you write down your feelings, you can identify, understand and deal with them better than replaying them in your head. It allows you to separate your feelings, accurately define emotion connect with your internal aura for better clarity.

3. Mindful Breathing

Stress takes peace and stability away from your life. Breathing is held in high regard by Buddhists, Hindus, and Taoists who believe breathing is a system of reintroducing peace into a troubled soul.

Mindful breathing is breathing that comes from the pit of your belly. It is, deep consistent, and stress relieving breathes which calm you down.

Mindful breathing can be done anyway in two easy steps:

  • Gentle inhale air to fill your lungs and stomach while slowly counting to 3 or five through your nose
  • Hold for a second or two and gradually exhale while counting 1 through 5

Repeat this as many times as possible until you feel your power returning to you. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out the stressors and tension.

4. Positive and Guided Daydreaming

We all daydream—some are good, and others run wild with our imagination. Using guided images and thoughts, you can avert a stress situation from escalating.

For example, you just had a heated argument with your spouse on the phone, and you are at work. Two things can happen: have your mood down all day, or you can identify the stress and calm dissipate it with happier images—daydreaming.

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Close your eyes and imagine a happy memory. Use good thoughts to counteract negative ones ad build your confidence from deep within. Also, forgive the situation and yourself, else you will keep playing the thought in your mind.

5. Go Back to Your To-Do List

If you cannot complete the chores, let it be. Remember that trying to squeeze in more than you can handle is actually killing you gradually. Even superman rests once in a while, so you should, too.

Reducing or prioritizing your workload could be the solution to the constant headaches, backaches, and shoulders. If you are a mom, learn to delegate duties to your kids or allocate time to work for yourself.

6. Yoga It

Yoga is an Indian form of meditation that combines simple poses, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to ward off stress and stressors. Yoga is an effective stress relief technique because it deals with the physical, emotional, and mental organs that stress hacks into. The immediate benefits of yoga are felt immediately, but the long-term impact is also beautiful.

To get started, you can follow simple yoga programs online or enroll in a class to help you to master the poses at your own pace. Yoga enables you to breathe easily, improves the clarity of thoughts and mind, relaxes the body and mental health. However, if the twist and turns of yoga are not for you, then you will enjoy the next technique.

7. Add Exercise to Your Routine

Our body is like a car engine, if you do not maintain it, it will crash when you need it most. Regular exercise builds a strong body, no doubt. However, it also builds a strong mind to deal with stresses that affect us daily. You do not have to HIIT or do any strenuous exercise, choose something simple and for 7 to 15 minutes every day.

Joining a gym or community fitness center is outstanding, but you can choose to walk, run, jog, swim or go dancing. The idea is to keep your body moving for fun. Furthermore, if you are the outdoorsy type, indulge in your passion and watch the stress melt away.

8. Massage and Detox Therapy

When your insides are unclean, it can lead to stress. Equally, tired and over-working can double the stress effect leading to illness and mental breakdown.

There are many reasons to go for a massage, and stress is one of them. Massages are an ideal tool for maintaining physical and emotional health. While detoxification is a way to relieve the stress on your internal organs, both will make you feel light and relaxed.

9. Imbibe in the Power of Positive Affirmations

The power of positive talk has proven to increases positive emotion, compassion, and confidence in the speaker. How we treat ourselves determines the outcome. If you begin the day with negativity, you are likely to attract negativity and problems to yourself.

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However, if you take your time to affirm positive thoughts in your life, you will succeed. Affirmations are more than mere words; they are meant to awaken the optimistic and daring part of your being.

So, when you feel that negative emotions are building up or images are flashing before your eyes, take a moment and remind yourself of your capabilities and believe it, too. What you perceive is what you are.

10. Getting Enough Sleep

Let’s be honest, it is almost impossible to get 8 hours of sleep as recommended, but you can get a good night’s sleep instead. Many people sleep for 8 hours or more but are restless in their sleep and wake up feeling exhausted, drained, and stressed.

Sleep is a fundamental way for the body to recuperate for the day’s activities. However, your sleeping condition should be prioritized for relaxing sleep. To do this, ensure your mattress is comfortable and your bedroom is at the right temperature.

If you cannot get 8 hours at night, try to nap in the afternoons and watch your diet before bed. Finally, create a sleep routine. You do not have to “do-or-die” it, but gradually ease your way into better sleep.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, stress is the baggage you refuse to let go of. The more you pile on, the deeper you are sinking into a place of darkness.

Let go of the excess load now. Start by following these stress management techniques on how not to stress. Do you have one or two methods you are currently using to relieve stress? Feel free to add them to the list.

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Featured photo credit: whoislimos via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: Stress in America™ 2020

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