5 Things You Can Do to Be Proactive about Your Mental Health

(GoHealthier.com) – Being proactive about your mental health can ease stress and conflict in the future. While acute and prolonged situations as well as physiological conditions can cause mental health issues, there are some factors that you may be able to control to ensure a more positive mental health outlook and have some agency in your mental health experience.

If you’re prone to experiencing mental health concerns, you’re not alone: one in five adults in the United States actively experiences mental illness. This includes any mental illness, such as mild chronic anxiety, as well as serious mental illness such as severe schizophrenia, which can impact daily function.

Mental Health and Proactivity

There’s great news about your mental health, though: preventative care works! There are some basic things you can do for yourself to prevent some mental health issues from developing or worsening — and to lower the amount of stress or anxiety you might feel on a daily basis. Let’s take a look.

1. Rest Up!

Getting enough sleep is important, but so is getting quality sleep. Humans need to enter multiple sleep cycles, including critical deep sleep, to stay alert, aware, and refreshed during their waking hours. Getting undisturbed sleep can help you experience more patience and reduced irritability.

2. Touch the Grass

People are meant to spend more time in nature than most of us do. Getting in touch with nature can really help you relax and reconnect with the environment and other people. You don’t have to plan a trek to make this happen — a lunchtime stroll in the park will do. This will give you a chance to experience your thoughts and to connect. If you like to read, consider bringing a book to read outside. Don’t forget the sunscreen to protect your skin.

3. Set Boundaries One at a Time

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands others place on you, you can minimize that feeling in the future by proactively setting boundaries. When you say no to an obligation that will stretch you too thin, you’re honoring yourself and allowing yourself to be more present for everything and everyone you do have room for. Plus, it can help with other goals like being in nature and sleeping well, as you’ll give yourself enough time to do those things.

4. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the art of being aware of what you eat, what your body truly wants, and how it affects your body. For example, drinking caffeine at night might cause you to stay up later than you would like. Or, if you keep thinking about eating eggs or peanut butter, your body might need protein. This method can also help you prevent emotional eating, which isn’t always the best for our bodies and minds.

5. Follow Gut Checks

Have you ever had a voice in the back of your mind advising you that something is a bad idea, even if you’re not sure why? That’s your instinct, or your “gut,” cluing you in on something you might not have consciously picked up. While logic and emotions are important decision-making tools, don’t forget about your gut. You can set yourself up for success and stay out of some scary situations by listening to your own intuition.

The best part about these five proactive mental health habits is that they support each other. When you eat more mindfully, you have the opportunity for better rest. When you follow your gut checks, you’re setting boundaries and not overcommitting to activities that aren’t right for your mind and body. With just a few small adjustments, you can use these techniques to have more agency over your mental health experience.

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