How To Improve Your Mental Health: 3 People With Mental Health Issues Share Their Tips & Experiences
Have you ever tried to google ways to improve your mental wellbeing? The amount of information is overwhelming and many of the results have one problem: they are great in theory - but will never work in your everyday life.
This blog post aims to show you ways to boost your mental health - based on the experience of people who actually live with mental disorders.
All of them got the same question: “How to improve your mental health?”.
Spoiler: I have a lot of experiences myself (I did therapy for 2 years & follow all the mental health blogs out there) - but those answers include incredibly helpful ways & tips around gratitude, mindfulness & everyday habits I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE.
Are you ready to learn about how “cosmic hide and seek” can help you find the answers you’re looking for and why “get to know your illness” is crucial to good mental health? Okay, let’s start! :)
1. We Learn The Rules As We Go - Seek Out Inspiration, Collect Coping Skills & Trust The Universe
Faith is a 22-years old woman who suffers anxiety since she was in 3rd grade: “Over the years I felt like my anxiety grew into its own separate being. Like it was an outside force controlling me, instead of me controlling it”. On her blog & Instagram, she writes about her past and on-going experience & proudly describes herself as Confidence Influencer & Positivity Advocate.
“You see, I am an only child so I do not quite know what it is like to have a sibling, but if I did have one I would expect our relationship to be like me and my mental health. We have our problems, we have fought, aggravated each other, our relationship grew as we did. We would have our good moments when we got along, tolerated each other, or had some laughs.
We have a love-hate relationship.
Will we have problems in the future? Probably. Can I do something to make our relationship better? Absolutely.
Each sibling relationship is different and can grow and evolve over time. So what has worked for my mental health might not be the same for you since we are all unique. But here is some inspiration to guide you and improve your relationship to your mental health.
1. Look For Inspiration
Whether it is a post, a quote, or something a teacher or peer said, I would save it or write it down. If someone seems wise to you, talk to them and ask for their advice or hear their story. If you see somebody doing something you like, dress a certain way, etc., then use them as your role model and emulate the things you like about them or try what they do. Seek out inspiration.
2. Collect Coping Skills Like Pokemon Cards
Over the years I have sought out and tried different things to help my mental health and what I learned is, they are weak on their own but stronger together. I also learned not two situations are the same, so a coping skill that worked for me a different time might not work for me then. Just start looking and collecting an arsenal of different coping skills and when you go to battle with your mental health, try throwing out different combos of those skills.
The goal here is to make it through the battle.
We might be hurting a bit during and after, but that is ok. Like the moon, we will feel full again.
3. Cosmic Hide And Seek
Assume everybody has a secret, their words and actions a clue for what they believe, what they think, and their experiences. Someone out there knows what you are going through and you might not know it. Play some cosmic hide and seek. Look with your heart, let it guide you to things that inspire you, that resonate with your soul. The answer to your issues IS out there.
The universe, like a child, likes to have fun and play games.
The game is confusing because we learn the rules as we go, but trust that the universe is not out to get you. The universe is kind, loving, brave, and can be really funny and silly. Life can be a fun exciting game. If you have this in mind and believe in your heart that your intentions are pure, a cosmic path of clues will open up for you.
The key is mindfulness. If you are not in the present moment, you might miss out on these clues that can help you. If you are not mindful all the time, that is ok, practice is key. For me, inspiration has shown up at random times in unexpected places.
I do not quite know where my path is leading me, I just know that holding onto faith, trusting the process, and holding onto these three things are helping me improve my relationship to my mental health and helping me have more fun in this game called life.” ~ Faith.
Just in case you haven’t noticed by now: these mental health tips are pure gold!
Coping skills have helped me through so many dark times (actually they do right now as writing blog posts helps me to calm my anxiety). They don’t only make hard times easier & lower your stress level but are the best proactive strategy to not start avoiding triggering situations.
If you’re looking for habits to improve mental health or things to do every day to improve mental health (which you definitely should) put these tips on top of your list!
Here are some of my favourite coping skills you can try:
2. Find A Hobby That Helps Clear And Soothe Your Mind & Do Everything You Can To Remind Yourself That You Aren’t Alone
"Hi, my name is Natalie Swatowski and I run a lifestyle blog dedicated to mental health, www.swatowski.com. My blog was inspired by my determination to overcome my depression. I battled with depression from the age of fourteen. At the end of my freshman year of college, I hit rock bottom. At that point, I decided to make a change and commit to getting better. One of my biggest challenges was overcoming the shame I felt because of my depression. My plan? To create a blog and share my experiences with the world. I forced myself to accept and embrace my history, victories, and challenges with depression. By doing so, I hope to help and inspire others to embrace their mental health as well."
These are Natalie’s tips for improving your mental health:
Exercise has played an important role in my mental health from the beginning of my journey to recovery. When I exercise, especially when I strength train, my mind clears up and I feel at peace. I always try to work out 4 to 5 times a week, which can be a lot at times. However, I’ve learned to be kind to myself and compromise when I just don’t feel like working out. My workouts can range from an intense 2 hour cardio-strength session to a quick 20-minute pilates class.
While exercising regularly may not be for everyone, I encourage everyone to find a hobby that helps clear and soothe the mind.
2. Staying Connected With Friends And Family
When I committed to recovery several years ago, one of my first steps was sharing my struggle with my college roommates and close friends. It was one of the hardest things I did, but definitely the most important.
Your friends and family love you and they WANT to support and help you.
It is true that some friends or family members don’t know how to respond and even pull away. However, realize that these reactions are not a reflection of you but rather the person’s difficulty in knowing the right way to respond. By staying connected with our friends, we are constantly reminded that there are people that love us.
Depression makes us feel isolated and it’s important that we do everything we can to remind ourselves that we aren’t alone.
3. Practising Gratitude
I would say that the length of my journey to recovery took about 1.5 years: from the day I committed to getting better to the days that I realized that my mind wasn’t clouded with sadness. However, it was a long and difficult journey. I constantly reminded myself of my small victories and achievements. To this day, I remind myself daily of how far I’ve come, both in terms of my mental health and in life.
We help ourselves stay optimistic when we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have." ~ Natalie
I couldn’t agree more with these tips!
Especially when we’re talking about activities to improve mental health for every day - exercising is a powerful habit to boost your wellbeing.
How can exercise improve mental health?
There are many scientific studies confirming that daily exercise is directly linked to mental health improvements such as:
Improvement in mood
If you’re not a born sports-enthusiast (like me) & don’t enjoy physical exercising I have good news for you: often it’s simply because you haven’t found the right discipline yet.
How about a 10-minute freestyle dance session in the morning or some vinyasa yoga before going to sleep? Keep open-minded and don’t be afraid to try new things! :)
3. Be Open-Minded For Medication & Try To Understand Your Illness And Its Patterns
Ashley runs a blog where she looks at a variety of issues related to mental health. It draws on her dual perspectives as a mental health nurse (and former pharmacist) and person living with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. She’s continuously affected by symptoms of her illness, and it’s a matter of just trying to manage as best she can.
These are Ashley’s tips for improving your mental health:
They're not right for everyone or every mental health condition, and some people have a difficult time with side effects, but for others, including me, meds can be a game-changer. I think some people do themselves a disservice by writing them off across the board for various reasons, including stigma. The most important thing is having open communication with your prescriber. I'm really happy with my current doctor, as my treatment is very much a collaborative partnership.
2. Get To Know Yourself And Your Illness
For most of us, mental health problems aren't a one-and-done kind of deal. By getting to understand your illness and it's patterns, you can get an idea of when you're on and down- or up-swing, and what kinds of supports you might need to turn to. Some of this is a matter of time; it's been 13 years since my illness first showed up, so I've had plenty of time to watch it do its thing. On a more day-to-day basis, I use a bullet journal to keep track of all things health-related.
3. Connect With Others With Mental Health Challenges
Mental illness can feel very isolating, but there are a whole lot of people going through the same kind of thing. And no matter how niche your problem may seem, someone else has got the same kind of thing going on. Blogging has been a great way for me to connect with the online mental health community, and it's been a great source of support." ~ Ashley
Ashley has some amazing points here!
When I first started to work on my mental health problems I looked everything up about how to improve mental health without medication. I was simply scared of what they would do to me, that they’d change my character completely.
Exactly as Ashley is writing, medication is not for everyone but for some they are a game-changer for the better. Sometimes we are so caught up in our problems, that drugs build the balance we need in order to be able to work on ourselves.
That doesn’t mean you should buy any products you see in online ads tho and hope for them to magically turn around your life. Research for an experienced prescriber in your area and get the meds that you need.
I created this infographic for you with all the tips on how to improve your mental health. You can save it & take a look at it whenever you need :)
Take care of yourself & feel free to DM me anytime you need further advice :) Your RainbowWarrior <3