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8 Ways to Increase Mental Health Wellness

What a difference two years makes, especially when it comes to our collective mental health.Between January 2019 and January 2021, KFF reporting shows an approximately four-fold increase in adult depression and anxiety. That’s a statistically important jump, and it’s mostly due to the pandemic.

Yet here’s an equally grim fact: People aren’t able to get the mental healthcare they need. Figures collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) show 93% of nations are experiencing mental health service stumbles. In other words, just when people need help most, they can’t necessarily get it.

If you want to keep your stress levels in check and improve your mental wellbeing, try to get professional care. At the same time, don’t forget that you have some control when it comes to addressing mental health issues. Below are several ways to put your mental health front and center.

1. Taper prescription medications safely.

Maybe Covid has given you a different perspective on holistic healing and you want to embrace natural depression remedies. That’s terrific. But don’t ditch your prescription drugs cold-turkey. Stopping any medication abruptly can lead to worsening mental health. For instance, many people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are prescribed Seroquel. The withdrawal symptoms of Seroquel can include anything from vertigo and night terrors to seizures and tremors.

If you want to look into alternatives to prescriptions, work with your physician. Together, you can construct a plan to wean yourself safely. That way, you don’t end up with extra health problems that could add more stressors into your life.

2. Get away from your screen.

Okay, it might sound ironic that an online article is telling you to get offline. But devices have a habit of disconnecting us from our surroundings. Plus, reading a flood of news stories can raise your blood pressure and make sparks of anxiety go haywire.

Remember: It’s not just teens who get affected by too much screen time. Adults can succumb to screen-related depressive responses, too. Put your phone or tablet down regularly. Giving yourself breaks from 24/7 input helps your brain relax.

3. Take the time off you deserve.

Many employees have spent the past year giving everything they had to their companies. After all, they want to see their employers succeed (and they don’t want to lose their positions). Sound familiar? It’s time to dust off your benefits package and embrace your paid time off.

Even if you can’t afford to take a full-fledged trip, get away from the workplace sooner rather than later. Hey, an old-fashioned staycation is better than no vacation at all. Resist the temptation to log into your work emails or ping your colleagues on Slack. Instead, concentrate on regrouping.

4. Surround yourself with positivity.

We can all use a heap of Wander Over Yonder positivity. Think of the things in your life that make you happy, from your four-legged friend to your oldest (and best) buddy. Jot those items down. Take your time: Your list might be longer than you thought.

Once you’ve constructed your list of “positives,” you can start adding some positive elements into each day. For instance, maybe listening to your favorite music from when you were a kid elicits a smile. Take five or 10 minutes each day to give yourself a song break with a blast from the past. Your brain will appreciate the opportunity to concentrate on something new.

5. Declutter your house.

A chaotic home environment can make it harder to de-stress, which can ratchet up feelings of anxiety. Of course, you might feel a bit overwhelmed at how to tame your clutter. The trick to organizing your favorite spaces is to take everything one step at a time.

Throwing away or donating a few things you don’t use can be a great start. There’s no need to tackle everything at once or in a single weekend, either. Doing a little bit every day will give you a sense of progress and self-satisfaction. Within a few weeks, you’ll see a big difference in your home. And you’ll feel the difference, too.

6. Add “no” into your vocabulary.

We all get locked into “yes” mode from time to time. No matter what Herculean tasks we’re asked to perform, we agree without thinking. The issue with always saying “yes” is that you reduce your “me time.” You also reduce your sleep time, exercise time, eating time, and friends and family time.

Learning how to say “no” shouldn’t be as hard as it is. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult. However, once you become accustomed to standing firm, you’ll find it rather empowering. You’ll also avoid overloading your schedule, which can help you stay calmer.

7. Stop your mind from catastrophizing.

As humans, we enjoy a high capacity for creativity. That’s both a blessing and a curse. Why? Our creativity can get out of control when we begin to imagine dreaded scenarios. As soon as something seems amiss, we catastrophize, picturing the worst possible outcome.

If you’re a person who naturally sees the glass as half empty—or shattered—you’re a catastrophizer. And you’re not doing your mental health any favors by envisioning terrible results that might never happen. Before allowing your mind to get too far down a negative path, reel in your thoughts. Remind yourself that you can’t predict the future. Yes, you should be ready for anything, but you shouldn’t prepare for the worst systematically.

8. Conduct emotion check-ins.

Do you regularly feel out of control and unable to figure out why? Checking in with your emotional state periodically can avoid unexpected surges of emotions. Every few hours, take a couple moments to breathe deeply. Center yourself and name your real-time feelings, whether positive or negative.

When you experience a sudden burst of powerful emotion, allow yourself to sit in it. Accept it, but don’t necessarily react to it right away. As an example, a seemingly inconsequential interaction with your partner might cause a wave of sadness. Allow yourself to feel the wave and try to pinpoint its trigger rather than lashing out. Giving yourself time to acknowledge and process emotions can improve your mental wellbeing overall.

Mental health has always been important—and it will be critical even after the pandemic passes. Developing healthier coping skills now will give Future You a mental leg up.

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