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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

More by this author

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 May 3, 2021

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

Anxiety is killing our mental energy. It is, after all, the leading mental health issue in our society today.  In 2017 alone, more than 284 million people experienced anxiety across the globe, making it the most prevalent mental health disorder globally.[1]

If you are asking the question, “how do I get over my anxiety?”, then this article is for you. I’ve put together a list of my top strategies to help you get over your anxiety. These are the same strategies that have worked for many of my clients over the years, and I think they can work for you too!

Anxiety is, in general terms, as uneasiness or nervousness about an undetermined outcome. Sometimes, this worry and uneasiness is quite excessive and goes from something that we can manage on our own to something for which we need professional help.  If your worry or apprehension includes panic attacks or compulsive behaviors, consider reaching out to a therapist or a doctor for more professional help.

I like to think of anxiety as information—a sign that something is off in your life. It could be a global pandemic, a challenge at work, instability in relationships, or the sign of a larger mental health issue.  Whatever it is, it’s good to think this through and be asking the questions that will help you uncover the parts of your life that could use some adjusting.

Again, consulting with a therapist or counselor, even just for a brief period of time, can help decipher some of these questions for you.  And if you want to give it a go on your own, well that takes us to the first of my five tips on how to get over anxiety.

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Here are 5 tips on how to get over anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.

1. The Mighty Journal

You will be amazed by the power of journaling—the path of self-discovery it can lead you down. The best part of journaling is that there is no right or wrong here. It is a private place where you can work through the stuff in your head and figure some things out.

There are lots of formats for journaling, and I have personally changed my own approach several times depending on what was going on and what I was looking for.  It could be that narrative of your day or bullets with highlights or thoughts of the day.

To make the most out of your journaling I would encourage you to push yourself and go beyond a recount of the day’s events. What you really want here is to get into your thought process and understand the feelings behind the thoughts. Timelines can also be a great way to gain some understanding of relationships and the different events in your life. Again, it is a matter of what works for you.

The pen truly is mightier than. . . the meds?!? My own little psych-mashup.

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2. Schedule Your Self-Care Time

What are the ways you treat yourself? Life is busy and when life demands increase, self-care is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside. But it is critical that you build in your “you time” because when stress levels increase, so will anxiety.

If self-care is not something that you are accustomed to thinking about, I listed some ideas for you to consider.  Keep in mind that if you schedule it with someone else, it might help with accountability.

Think about working smaller chunks of time into the workweek and then something a little more extensive on the weekend, like a hike, excursion, creative home project, or even the occasional weekend away.

Self-care ideas:[2]

  • Take your lunchtime away from your desk, and get outside for a walk or join a colleague for some casual chitchat.
  • Schedule a massage or trip to the spa/salon.
  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show, either on your own or with your favorite person/people.
  • Work out, inside or out—anything that gets your heart rate up.
  • Go on an evening or afternoon walk.
  • Tap into your creative outlet, break out that knitting, woodwork, artwork, or instrument.
  • Dance, at home with your kids, partner, or on your own.  Play your favorite tunes and do your thing!

You can also try these 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself.

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3. Listen to Your Music

Music speaks to our soul. It is a go-to for many of us when in need of a pick-me-up or just blowing off some steam. But sometimes, life gets busy, and we don’t incorporate it into our life the way we once did—finding ourselves in a music deficient rut, listening to the same boring stuff on the radio.

Let this be a reminder to explore the new music out there. Streaming services have revolutionized our access to music and have made it easier than ever before. Explore it and find your jam.

Additionally, music therapy is a growing form of therapy built on the research that it helps decrease pain, blood pressure, and—you guessed it—anxiety while also increasing mood, healing, and overall positivity.[3]

Medical Doctors are using it more and more in operating rooms and incorporating it into their practices. If you subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, you can just type in “relaxing music” and you will be sure to find something that will do the trick, bringing calm and focus into your life.  In my research for this article, I came across some great ones., and they are now a part of my daily rotation.

4. The Five Senses Exercise

When we experience heightened anxiety, I think of it as the physical energy rising from our feet to our head like a thermometer. Sometimes, this energy can even bring us to a place where we feel disconnected from our bodies. The 5 senses exercise will help you reconnect yourself to your body and bring your anxiety levels down to a more manageable level.

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The 5 senses exercise is a mindfulness exercise where you connect your 5 senses to your present environment. This is a great way to ground yourself and bring your attention and your energy to the here and now.  What I love about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. If you start to feel your anxiety creep up, this could be a good strategy to center yourself and possibly ward off a panic attack or prolonged anxiety.

The process is simple:

  1. Start by taking a few deep breathes, inhaling as you count to 3, and then exhaling as you count to 3.
  2. Next, identify 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch and feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  3. Take it in, give yourself a few minutes.
  4. Repeat if needed, and carry on.

5. Mindset Matters

This last one is a big one. A lot of times, anxiety waxes and wanes with how we think about something. Be mindful of your negative self-talk, keeping it in check and working to incorporate perspective. If you know that you are headed into something challenging, prepare yourself for it mentally and allow yourself to be ok with the challenge. After all, the challenge helps us grow and develop.

Also, remember that life is full of choices—granted the options in front of us may be less than ideal, but remember that they are there.  Incorporating some of these above strategies could be one of the first choices you make to create change in your life and get a hold of the anxiety

A quick easy way to get some perspective is to acknowledge the things that you are grateful for (this is also a mindfulness practice).  The gratitude journal is one way to do this where you write down three to five things that you are grateful for every day. Try it out for a week or so and see how you feel. Of course, the more time you practice this, the more you will feel the benefits.

Summing It Up

Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time, working to identify the source of your anxiety will help you discover the best strategies for you. However, there are some definite best practices that you can incorporate into your life that are sure to minimize your anxiety and keep you living the active and fulfilling life you want.

More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Fernando @cferdo via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Our World in Data: Mental Health
[2] NCBI: Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment
[3] Harvard Health Publishing: How music can help you heal

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