Usually, when everything in life starts to fall apart, we tend to neglect our mental health. In the past two years, one thing that I learned to do is to continually improve my mental health. Because I improved my mental health, I wanted to share how you can also improve your mental health.
A little back story of Emmerance’s mental health journey
In 2015, I had the biggest acne attack, and that’s when my hormonal acne started. There was so many negative thought that was going through my mind.
All I wanted was to hide because my acne made me feel ugly. However, I had to go to class and work at my part-time job. “Thankfully,” at that time, I thought, “there’s makeup.”
So I covered myself with a lot of makeup and hid my face with my hair. I cried a lot because the acne was getting worse, and it made me feel ugly. In short, I wasn’t happy. One day, I realized that the makeup shopping was eating away the little money I had. From that time, I decided to find a cure and stop hiding from it.
Not everyone knows that they’re depressed, and that’s okay, but…
Yes, sometimes, we’re not aware that we’re depressed. Therefore, if we’re not aware of it, would it be easy for our family, friends, or colleagues to know what we’re going through? The answer is not really.
The first step in improving your mental health is to know when you’re falling down. There are some days where it’s just a bad day; you don’t feel like doing anything. That’s alright.
However, when it becomes consistent that you find yourself having a bad day every day, you have to ask yourself if something is wrong.
I was 19 years old when that event happened to me. It was my finances that pushed me to fix the issue, not my awareness. I was spending so much on makeup that I had to pause and find a cure.
I’m telling you this because if I was aware that I was depressed, I wouldn’t be finding myself depressed again a few years later. I guess life realized that I didn’t learn my lesson. So it decided to bring me into another extreme depression state that lasted almost a year to heal.
You learn a lot after you overcome your major depression. I say major because you have a good chance of falling into small depression again. However, when it happens, since you’re aware of the signs, you can now maintain and improve your mental health.
4 ways that you can improve your mental health:
So here’s how you can improve your mental health. Please note that this is based on my personal experience. I encourage you to find what triggers your depression and find a way to overcome it as quickly as possible.
Finding peace with yourself is a way to improve your mental health.
When people reach out to me about their mental health issues, I realized that most of them are so damn hard on themself. If you want to improve your mental health, you have to do yourself a favour and stop being so hard on yourself.
What do I mean by “being hard on yourself”:
Always thinking that you’re lacking:
One common thing with people that come to me for advice is that they don’t think positively of themselves. My advice is to stop the noises and change your narrative. I shared some tips in the How to Turn Self-Criticism into Self-Love post.
We all know that hard work pays off. However, when this starts to impact your mental health, you have to stop and relax. Take a full day off, go to the spa, watch your favourite show, don’t do any work. Have a “me day” once in a while; this should help improve your mental health.
Not detoxing your body/taking care of your physics:
One of the things that I started doing that tremendously improved my mental health was working out. Sweating makes me feel good, and knowing that I’m able to jump, squats, lift some weights motivates me. I tell myself; if I can do this in my workouts, I can do anything in life.
So try working out 3 to 5 times a week, and see the benefits for yourself. Not only you’ll be looking healthier, but your mental health will improve.
Not taking enough hours of sleep:
sleeping is one of my favourite medicine. It’s not because I want to ignore my issues, but because every time I sleep for 7 to 8 hours, I feel refreshed and energized. That’s why I do my most important tasks in the morning.
Sometimes, you need to take naps during the day. Naps aren’t only good for children; they’re also good for adults. I’m sure you had your own experience with it when you were a child. However, it’s good to take naps here and there to recharge.
Comparing yourself to others:
Something I’ll never go back to doing is comparing myself to others. My reality isn’t the other person’s reality. The same goes for you. Suppose you spend your time on social media comparing yourself or your accomplishments to other people. In that situation, you will only sink into negative thoughts.
There’s no good in comparing yourself to others. Other people are also comparing yourself to you. That’s just how life works, but save yourself some time with this one; it’s no good for your mental health.
Not being able to forgive:
Forgiveness start with you. The only way you can forgive others is by forgiving yourself. If you’re not used to it, start by practicing forgiveness. Forgive yourself for being depressed or anxious. Know that it’s completely normal to feel that way because you’re human. Our brain is very complicated, but we can learn to know how it works and work our way around it.
Therefore, practice forgiveness by forgiving yourself first. Forgive yourself for the things you did in the past. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s liberating—little things like being lazy or late on an assignment or hurting someone else. Don’t hurt yourself by being negative, but forgive yourself and move one.
All these suggestions on how you can be at peace with yourself is a lot, I know. However, you don’t need to take them all with you and improve overnight. This takes time and patience. Therefore, remember that you’re one day ahead of improving your mental health when you do one thing today.
Accepting reality helps you improve your mental health.
Some of us spend time asking ourselves questions when something is happening or happened to us. We ask ourselves questions like, “why me?” When you spend your time complaining about what you’re going through, finding it unfair brings you into an illusion state.
The reason why I say illusion is because everything in life happens for a reason. There are no answers to “why is this happening to me.” The only way you can help yourself is by facing reality and say, “this happened to me; now what?” What can you do to improve yourself?
When you face reality, I believe that everything becomes clear. You’re aware of what’s going on. You will look for a way to improve your situation. By asking yourself questions like “how can I improve my situation,” your brain will find the answer for you.
Here are some realities that we have to face in life:
Life is not easy, and it’s not easy for everyone else:
We all go through hurdles in life. Even the people that have money struggles. Nobody has it more comfortable than others, there’s always something we won’t be satisfied with. Therefore we should accept that life is simply challenging and focus on what we can do to make it easier.
Not everyone will like/love you:
Forget about your social media likes or people who leave comments about how great you look. Know that people have their own intentions when they do something. Don’t get me wrong here. Some people are genuine and will be there for you and take a moment to help you. However, don’t expect that everyone should be happy for you or clapping on your success.
Learn to accept the way you are:
God, the Universe or however you call it made you in a very unique way. You were made for a purpose. So accept the way you were created; love yourself that way. Then, improve yourself, challenge yourself every day to be better.
Some of us spend time telling ourselves that we’re enough or we’re beautiful. That is true, but you still have to work to maintain it. You’re evolving; life can’t stay the same. Be careful of what you consume because it affects how you grow. Pick activities, a diet that will help you improve your well-being because you have to maintain good health.
For example, I read many self-development books, and I try to apply them every day. I also learned how to get to know myself better. Just by observing my thoughts and past experiences. Doing so is good for my mental diet; as I grow, my mental health also improves.
Controlling your environment when it affects your mental health.
In today’s time, we have a new way to interact with people. Thanks to social media, some don’t need to check up on others or remember their birthdays. However, this way of living might affect your mental health and here’s how.
We have the chance to follow pretty much anyone on social media, from celebrities to public figures to influencers. Then we have our family and friends. When we follow just anyone on social media, which is part of our environment now, we consume many pieces of information within seconds.
We consume people’s beliefs, their way of thinking, lifestyle, and what they consume. This can affect your mental health drastically:
- It affects the way you see yourself.
- You start living like they’re living (even though you don’t make the same income to match their lifestyle).
- You begin to think that there’s something wrong with your life.
Unfollow anyone that’s not helping you improve your mental health.
When I went through my second and biggest depression in 2018, I had to delete my social media. When I came back a few months later, everything was the same. You see, some friends that are still drinking alcohol, partying and “living their best life.” You see celebrities posting things only about themselves, and some other accounts that really didn’t help me in any shape or form.
Here’s what I did; I unfollowed anyone that wasn’t good for my mental health. I unfollowed most celebrities on Instagram. I created a new Snapchat account and added people that I was close to. And I left Facebook open only for blogging and networking purpose.
If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, trying to be like them or envying other people. You should try unfollowing them. If they’re your family members or friends, and all their posts are negative, you can mute them on Instagram. I promise you, there’s a low chance that they will realize it.
What about face to face conversations?
I’m aware that muting or unfollowing friends, family or colleagues on social media only stops you from seeing their content. So what to do when they’re in front of you or texting?
You choose what conversation you want to have with them. You can set boundaries and make the other person follow them. It’s not okay nor fair to you when you’re around someone, and they’re always talking negatively or gossiping.
You can tell them that you’re not interested in that conversation. Also, you can change or have shorter conversations. This method works; I’ve done it many times.
The most important thing to remember is to not entertain negative energy. Don’t get into unnecessary arguments; that’s bad for your mental health.
Reduce your interaction time with social media.
Last month, I watched many documentaries about social media. I learned that you’re the product and that the companies showing you their ads are the buyers. Technically, social media will do everything to keep you scrolling and liking so that they can offer you as many ads as possible. That’s how they’re making money.
Since social media is a part of us and we have to be present there to have a little bit of credibility, we don’t really choose. However, you can reduce the amount of time you spend on it. You can also deactivate notifications to help you reduce the time spent on social media. You don’t always have to check your phone because you received a few likes or messages.
You should surround yourself with people who want what’s best for you. Follow people that will help you improve your mental health and know what triggers you. Spend less time on your phone and give more time to yourself.
Putting your spiritual health as a priority also helps your mental health.
In the post “Let’s Talk about Prayers,” I described how prayers are powerful. When you’re going through a hard time, it’s important to pray for guidance, healing or encouragement. Having faith that you’ll be alright, knowing that “this too shall pass” will open up countless possibilities.
If you’re still trying to tap into your spiritual life, you can try these few tips that I do, which helps my mental health:
Journaling and writing down my prayers:
Writing is a part of me; I love doing it. Sometimes I write a letter to God, to my spirit or to myself. Recently, I was feeling anxious; I didn’t know why.
So I took a day off and stayed in bed. Then I jumped out of bed and started writing down my thoughts. I was thinking about my 2018 experience with depression, where I came from and how I’ve changed. It came to my mind that I should take out my 2018 journal and read it. As I started reading the prayers, cries, thoughts, I realized that I have come from a bad place, and now I was in a better place. That most of my prayers back then were now accomplished.
Writing down prayers and reading them later can help you. It can motivate you when you reread them. You can see your improvements, and it will encourage you to keep going.
Meditation or guided mediations:
There are two ways to meditate for me. You can either read your bible and think about its wisdom and how you can apply them in your life. Or you can do guided meditations with a mantra.
My favourite guided meditation is from Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, which I highly suggest if you want to tap into your spirituality. He has a YouTube channel and a Spotify, which you can go to and practice meditation.
The benefit of meditation is that it calms your mind, brings you to the present moment and motivates you. It unstresses you and helps you think better. So, I do recommend meditating here and there. I used to do it every day, but now I only do it when I feel anxious or not present.
This is so important because thankfulness helps you see the world as it is. You’re grateful for what you have and have faith that more will come your way.
Just like journaling, you can write down three to five things you’re grateful for every morning. This improves your mental health because, again, you see what you have, and you humble yourself.
That’s all, folks!
It looks like I had a lot to say about improving your mental health! I’m surprised myself. Just yesterday, I felt anxious, and I couldn’t get myself to write. Today I had everything in my head, and I went 3 hours straight to finish what I started.
How did I bounce back so quickly? When I feel anxious, I know that I can’t let it happen more than once. It started the day before, and I was about to go for three days with it. I couldn’t allow it.
So, yesterday, I said it’s okay to not feel inspired right now (forgiveness). I opened myself up to the person I was interacting with. One of my sister’s friends told me how my blog post was inspiring her (environment). Even though I did these two things yesterday, I had to work. So I focused on the present moment. I gave my energy to my work and did other tasks for my blog (spiritual health).
To finish, you should know that you will have moments of depression, anxiety, negative thinking. It’s all good, but you’re bigger than that. You can find yourself again, face reality, control your environment, and take time to tap into your spirituality.
If you’ve read this far, I want you to know that I understand what you’re going through. Again, find ways that better fit your mental health. If you have tips that can help others, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Hoping that I helped at least one person through this post!