April 7, World Health Day: 6 Useful Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health
World Health Day is a day proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight important aspects related to the physical, psychological, and social well-being of people. For 2023, the theme is “Health for all”.
This is a special period. It is the 75th anniversary of WHO’s existence and the institution reviews its past, but also looks to the future with the utopia of having the best health quality and the highest possible quality of life for all the inhabitants of the planet.
A website created for this purpose has been put online for those who want to learn more about the day and the anniversary. You can read it here and understand why it is relevant to reach health for all.
However, World Health Day also implies general health and well-being that goes beyond the physical. In this sense, taking care of the mind in the midst of a stressful, hectic, and changing lifestyle like ours is indispensable.
To contribute to this, we’ve prepared these 6 useful tips that will help you to take care of your mental health.
1. Talk to someone
Something as simple as talking, but often underrated. Talking about what matters to us, what motivates us, and what scares or worries us.
In some areas, this can be an obstacle. It’s difficult to open up feelings in spaces that are traditionally closed to these expressions. An analysis published in Social Science & Medicine drew attention to the crisis of silence experienced by men in rural areas, unable to talk about certain issues for fear of being condemned in their society.
Then there’s how to talk about it. How can we open up when this is not a common practice for us? The important thing is to use your words and be honest. A guide that can be helpful is the one prepared by the Mental Health Foundation, which you can consult here.
2. Get out and into nature
Contact with nature helps to take care of your mind. It’s worth remembering the World Health Day 2022 slogan, which was “Our planet, our health”, highlighting the deep link between the environment and our well-being.
Experts are increasingly convinced that contact with nature improves mental health. Not only that, but it also helps prevent the development of mood disorders.
From a simple walk in a park to more involved experiences, such as forest bathing, more and more people understand that they find calm and relaxation there. The speed of cities and the advance of concrete threaten these possibilities.
A 2021 study found that contact with green and blue spaces was key to some people’s coping with the pandemic. After the confinement and fear unleashed on the world, recreation, and leisure in open spaces provided hope for facing the future differently.
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3. Don’t use harmful substances
Alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs do not help take care of your mind. Nor are they a valid escape or stress relievers.
On the contrary, the use of such substances actually worsens your mental health:
- According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol increases the incidence of anxiety and depression.
- According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there’s a clear harmful link between tobacco and mental health. Patients with a mental illness considered severe, such as schizophrenia, have a smoking rate of up to 85%. In fact, 8 out of 10 people with the disorder smoke.
- A brief review on the effects of marijuana in different aspects found that daily recreational use of cannabis may increase the risk of psychosis and, likely, depression.
In conclusion, do not use substances that can lead to a mental health disorder or worsen an existing condition. When faced with temptation and an irresistible desire to consume, go back to the first tip and talk to someone.
4. Practice mindfulness
This is neither a trendy tip to take care of your mind nor a cliché for World Health Day. Mindfulness really can contribute to our well-being.
This is a practice with no age limit. Studies reveal that children and adolescents can benefit from models tailored to their abilities to connect with their surroundings. At the other end of life, older adults experiencing stressful situations have less risk of depression when they record a high frequency of mindfulness practice.
You don’t have to be a meditation expert right away. It takes time to learn how to connect with your surroundings with mindfulness. Start with a few questions, in a controlled environment with no external disturbances:
- What do you feel right now?
- What are the smells around you?
- What sounds are in the environment around you?
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5. Do things you love and do new things
Doing what we like always seems good. So why don’t we do it more often?
Routine, busyness, stress, and excuses often separate us from what we truly enjoy. And maybe we just need a better organization or a firm decision to return to that sport, that artistic expression, or those encounters with others that gratified us.
Hobbies are healthy escape routes from stress and anxiety. In addition, they often allow us to contact with a group of belonging, which contains and supports us.
But let’s go a little further. Let’s try new things, without the obligation to do so and without the pressure to “get it right”. New experiences help you take care of your mind because they diversify your brain’s attention.
6. Eat well and exercise
A review published by the University of Cambridge made it clear that nutrition plays a key role in taking care of the mind. Among several findings, they found that following a Mediterranean diet is a protective and preventive factor against mental health disorders. By the way, if you want to know more about how to elaborate such a nutritional plan, we have a complete article about it.
On the other hand, exercise has the ability to improve mood, as some scientific studies have concluded. Physical activity is supposed to be anti-inflammatory and that is an essential point for it to be effective against anxiety and stress.
But that’s not all. Eating well and exercising are habits that improve our cardiovascular, pulmonary, and digestive health. In addition, they prevent the development of different types of malignant pathologies. Why not do it? Moreover, why not take advantage of World Health Day to start on the road to wellness?It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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