In this article, we’re not suggesting that you can reach a permanent state called “happiness” and remain there. But there are many ways to swerve off the path of anxiety, anger, frustration, and sadness into a state of happiness once or even several times throughout the day. Check out these practical tips for maintaining a healthy mind and mood. Employ just a few of these ideas and you’ll likely feel the difference in your mental health and mood. Here are some ideas and tips to get you started. Choose the ones that work for you.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and keep a routine sleep-wake cycle. Don’t watch TV or do anything in bed other than sleep.
- Don’t drink more than one cup a day or better yet, none at all, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.
- Avoid excessive carbohydrates and processed foods. Eat a balanced diet consisting of a complex carbs with a protein at each meal, along with at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Exercise increases our endorphins – these are the “happy chemicals” that circle our brains to bring us joy. Get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day on most days out of each week.
- Try to develop connection with nature …its permanence, its beauty and power…
Walk in a park or other natural area for twenty minutes each day.
- Practice acts of kindness. Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. Happy people are more likely to help others, helping others increases your happiness.
- Nurture strong and healthy relationships. The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep and meaningful relationships.
- Laugh out loud. Just anticipating a happy, funny event can raise levels of endorphins and other pleasure-inducing hormones and lower production of stress hormones.
- Count your blessings. People who pause each day to reflect on some positive aspect of their lives (their health, friends, family, freedom, education, etc.) experience a heightened sense of well-being.
- Leave some time for leisure. Make sure you allow time in your schedule for whatever causes you to relax. Maybe it’s watching movies or completing crossword puzzles or walking outside. Make time for the things you know relax you.
- Find a good support system. Whether family, friends or something else, find a group of people who are willing to love you for who you are. This boosts resilience and helps to provide perspective in the midst of stress and pain.
- Consider getting a pet. This is a big decision, but having a pet can really help mental health. Pets love us unconditionally, keep us active, and provide us a way to care for something.
If you’ve mastered the above tips, and yet find that your moods are still out of whack, it’s time to see your doctor. Your doctor will likely start with a blood test and then offer treatment options. These can include counseling, anti-depressants, hormones, or any other medications to address a chemical imbalance that your body may be experiencing.