Struggling with your emotions is a challenge, but finding the means to overcome this challenge may prove to be an even bigger obstacle. You’ll be pleased to know, however, that despite life’s many tough hurdles, reaching a nice and sound state of mind is totally achievable – and it can start from here.
This one seems to be a little overlooked, but the benefits of exercise have certainly proven to stretch far beyond the physical and aesthetic benefits. There’s an old Arabic proverb that translates to: a sound mind is in a sound body. If you’re someone who’s already dedicated to an exercise or fitness program, then you’ll know all about those amazing feelings you tend to get post-workout. The three primary ‘feel-good’ hormones released when we’re breaking out a sweat are endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all of which are responsible for promoting happy feelings and general euphoria – two things our mind and soul often crave!
Whether it be classical music or rock (or both), chances are, we all have a certain type of music that’s bound to get those ‘feel-good’ hormones soaring to the skies. Whatever it may be, we certainly shouldn’t hold back from enjoying this small but delightful pleasure of life. Just like exercise, music helps to stimulate dopamine, and will promote creativity – something else that claims a range of benefits when it comes to our mental health.
Nature alone is one of the many cheap and cheerful remedies surrounding us, and just a short walk out in your local park to admire the picturesque landscapes and breathe in the delightfully fresh air can work wonders for your emotional wellbeing. However busy you are, make sure you provide enough time for yourself and the things you enjoy. Of course, by no means is this an excuse for you to stick to unhealthy habits or stop trying to get rid of them. And you know as they say – everything within moderation!
Setting unattainable goals in a very short amount of time is another mental-health killer, and it’s best that we take the step-by-step route in life. There’s nothing wrong with aiming higher than usual and demonstrating a high level of motivation, but too much of that can lead to an unhealthy state of mind, and you’ll end up doing more harm to your mental health than good. So, instead of thinking: After I graduate, I’m going to start a business, get married, travel the world, buy a new house, get a dog, skydive and bungee-jump – and if I don’t, I’m the world’s most miserable loser. You’ll want to prioritize and set goals that are high enough to guarantee results by the end of an established period – but that are also realistic to pursue and achieve. So, think more on the lines of: What’s the most important goal for me to achieve within the next three months and what’s the first attainable step I’ll need to take to get there? Is it doable? If not, what’s the next-most important goal that I can achieve? Remember, a little bit of pressure is good to give us that much-needed kick-start and the right amount of dedication, but too much of it, and you’ll undoubtedly be setting yourself up for a nervous breakdown.
This may seem like the biggest cliché of life, but chances are, nothing will destroy your mental health quite like negative thoughts and that terrible habit we call ‘overthinking’. Mental and physical energy usually go hand in hand, and it’s entirely up to you to only surround yourself with good, beneficial energy. As annoyingly obvious as this may sound, allowing yourself to feel and express gratitude is a great way to promote positive feelings and purge your mind of those nasty thoughts – and it’s so easy to do. It’s true that learning to look at the glass half full rather than half empty is a wonderful way to maintain a generally happier life. One way you could achieve this, is to sit somewhere quiet and note down all your life’s blessings; you’ll be surprised to realize how blessed you really are and that if you were to compare your blessings to your shortcomings, you’re more likely to count more blessings than the latter!
Prayer and meditation are known for their many soothing and relaxing benefits, and are often encouraged within the sphere of mental health and wellbeing. Whatever your beliefs, you may want to try and incorporate some form of spiritual activity into your daily routine; this can include anything from mindfulness to short yoga sessions, and will really help you to spark a new relationship with your most inner self and gain control over it. Like physical activity aims to train the body, mindfulness seeks to train the mind, and when done properly and consistently, can have long-lasting effects on your emotional wellbeing and even your overall outlook on life.
And finally, talking to somebody can really help you to not only vent, but perhaps to also realize that you’re not alone in this. Most universities offer free counseling and support, though it doesn’t have to be a professional, and can simply be a close family member, partner, friend, or trusted colleague at work. Whatever you’re going through – whether it be triggered by unfortunate life events or a clinical mental health issue that you’ve struggled with for a long time – talking about it with others can really help to lift a few of those heavy burdens off your shoulders. If you’re feeling down or anxious and are finding it excessively difficult to cope, it might be a good idea to talk to your local counselor, contact your GP, or seek the closest professional help available to you. Extreme and prolonged feelings of despair or dread may be signs something more serious is going on, and may require further support
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