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.
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.
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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
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:
- 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.
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:
- Sit still and focus your gaze on anything you want (ignore what you see – defocus on your focused object).
- Wait to identify your first thought, let it go, and wait for the next one.
- 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.
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.
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
|World Health Organization: COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey