Your psychological health is just as important as having a healthy body. Good mental health also makes it easier to stick to your diet regimen. Here are four tips to help you improve your psychological health.
1. Keep a Journal
You don't have to be a writer to write every day. Studies show that the practice of writing is very therapeutic. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you to arrive at greater clarity. If you are experiencing relationship issues, a tough time at work or financial difficulty, you may be overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. Writing about these feelings often helps you to sort out the emotions and gain greater insight.
Meditation is not just for the religious. At its simplest, meditation is the practice of allowing yourself some time to be still and quiet each day. When you live a busy life with many obligations, it can be difficult to unwind. Meditating daily gives your mind and body a break.
Design a daily meditation practice that feels right for you. Choose a time of day when you can limit distractions. If you have kids, for example, wake up earlier than they do in the mornings so that you have some quiet time. When meditating, focus on breathing deeply. It is natural for thoughts to pass through the mind about things you have to do or places you have to be. Just notice each thought and let it pass.
Some people find it helpful to play music in the background while they meditate. Others find an uplifting word, or mantra, that they repeat to help them focus internally. The impact of meditation is that it is relaxing and allows both sides of the brain to work together. It is not uncommon in the midst of meditation for people to find solutions to complex problems or experience relief from anxiety.
Exercise is good for both the body and the mind. When you exercise regularly, your body releases endorphins, which improves your mood and your psychological health. Exercise is great for relieving stress and helping you to see the lighter side of things. Be sure to choose a fitness activity that you find enjoyable and can do at least several times per week. The enjoyment factor is important for staying motivated and consistent.
4. Enjoy the Outdoors
Spending time in nature has a therapeutic effect. Hanging out in a garden, walking along a body of water, hiking up a mountain or sitting on a beach can help to elevate your mood. When engaging in these activities, be sure to pay attention to your surroundings. When you are stressed out, it's easy to stay lost in the mind. When you're outdoors, really allow your senses to take in the smell of the flowers, the sounds of the birds, the color of the ocean and the feeling of the breeze on your body. Letting your senses take over is often helpful for relieving stress and letting go of repetitive thoughts.