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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illness is a common condition in the US. Almost one in five adults in the United States are living with a mental illness based on 2020 statistics. Caring for our mental health has become more socially acceptable in recent years. This has started the positive trend of people raising their emotional awareness and receiving treatment for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Whether or not you’ve been officially diagnosed with a mental illness, we all need healthy methods for maintaining a balanced mental state. If you’ve been looking for effective ways to improve your mental health, here are some helpful suggestions.
You may be able to focus your mind on positive and beneficial thoughts by practicing gratitude. You can do this by meditating on the things you’re grateful for each morning. Keeping a gratitude journal can also help alleviate feelings of depression. Each day, challenge yourself to write down at least three things you’re thankful for. Even if you have to repeat some of the things on your list for more than one day, this can remind you that there is always a reason to say “thank you.”
Spend Your Mornings Intentionally
If possible, spend your mornings planning out your schedule and setting your intention for the day. For instance, waking up about 15 minutes earlier can give you time to enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite song. Coffee has been known to reduce symptoms of depression and music helps to stimulate your mind and evoke positive memories.
Try CBD or Medical Cannabis
You can try out medical cannabis or CBD to see if this would be a good option to improve your mental health this year. If you live in the Portland area, you can find quality cannabis products at your local Maine dispensary that can help reduce fatigue, muscle pain, and feelings of anxiety. Medical marijuana is now legal in 31 states and nine states have legalized recreational marijuana use. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, over 2.8 million people in the US are using medicinal cannabis. Marijuana has a calming effect on the body and mind because it impacts GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce anxiety. GABA levels are also impacted by benzodiazepines, a classification of medications that are often prescribed to treat anxiety.
Take Some Time Away
Sometimes, spending some quality time with family and friends can improve your mental health significantly. A change of scenery can also invigorate your mind and reduce stress. Studies show that you can experience a mental boost from vacation for up to 8 weeks. So, in addition to strengthening the bonds you have with the people you love, you can also experience an improvement in your mood for a couple of months after vacation!
Prepare for Bedtime
One of the ways you can protect your mental health and improve your concentration during the day is to get a good night’s sleep. You may want to lower the temperature in your room so you can sleep comfortably. Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 degrees F. It’s also a good idea to make your room as dark as possible to make it easier for your brain to relax at bedtime. Avoid using mobile devices about half an hour before bed to prepare your body for sleep. Playing relaxing music or white noise can also lower your stress levels and help manage insomnia. If you want to try non habit-forming supplements such as melatonin or lemon balm to help you get to sleep, you can take these supplements in capsule or tea form to soothe your body and lower your stress levels before bed. Following these tips will ensure that you’ll get quality sleep even if you don’t get as many hours of rest as you’d like every night.
There are several natural treatments that can make a difference in your mental health, but it’s also a good idea to make time to connect with people who can help you maintain mental and emotional stability. Whether you have a standing lunch date with a trusted friend or you decide to visit a therapist, working through your feelings in a healthy way can contribute to your mental health and provide you with the tools you need to live your most fulfilling life.