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15 Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Mental Health

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During lockdown due to COVID-19 in early 2019, mental health-related issues have taken a steep rise.

With the spread of COVID, which eventually resulted in the death of millions of people, mental health problems became a major roadblock in everyone’s lives.

This was something, which was beyond anyone’s control.

Without wasting any further time let’s dive into the topic,

“Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Mental Health”.

Courtesy – YouTube

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our psychological, social well-being and emotional.

Our mental health condition affects how we feel, think, and act. 

It also helps determine how we relate to others, handle stress, and make choices. 

Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

If you experience mental health-related issues throughout your life, your behaviour, thinking, and mood could be affected.

What are the Seven Types of Mental Disorders?

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Depression.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and phobias.
  • Bipolar disorder.

What are the Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Mental Health?

Accept Who You Are.

Some of us make people who are good in science, some love history, few know how to remain happy, and others can cook delicious meals. 

Some of us share our lifestyle with the people close to us, and others live very differently.

We’re all different.

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It’s much healthier and essential to accept that you’re unique and different than to wish you were more like successful people enjoying success in social media.

Feeling great about yourself helps boost your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends.

Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

“Being happy with who I right now mean I enjoy living in the moment.”

Be proud of who you are. 

Recognise and accept what you are not good at, reconcile with your limitations, but focus on what you can do well and can alone win that particular race.

Work out if there’s anything about yourself that you still want to change. 

Are you realistic regarding your expectations from your life’s goals and the outcome? 

If they are, work towards the change in small steps.

Talk and Express About Your Feelings

It’s not always easy to express how exactly you’re feeling. If it feels awkward at first, give it time.

Talking and openly expressing your feeling can help you stay in good mental health. 

It will also help you deal with tough times when you feel down and depressed.

Expressing or talking about your feelings and thoughts is never to be confused as a sign of weakness.

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It’s part of taking charge of your personal wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. 

Just being listened to can help one feel supported and less isolated. And this formula works both ways. 

If you open up with your family members, it might encourage others like your spouse, kids and parents to do the same.

You don’t need to make your loved ones sit down for an extensive conversation about your professional and personal wellbeing. 

When such conversations develop naturally, many people feel more comfortable – maybe when you’re doing something together. 

Seek help from family or contact iCall Helpline.

Sharing Life Experiences With Others!

Caring for others souls close to you is often an essential part of maintaining relationships with people in a positive sense. 

It can even bring you closer together with your family members and friends.

Why not share your skills more widely by volunteering for a local charity?

Helping out people around you can make us feel needed and valued, which definitely boosts our self-esteem.

“Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street and supporting them uplifts me.”

Friends help us see the world from a totally different angle. This can also help to put our problems in perspective.

Caring for a pet can improve your mental and emotional wellbeing too. 

The bond between you and your pet can be as strong as between people. 

Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day and link to other people. 

Lots of people make friends by chatting with fellow dog walkers.

Eat Healthy. Eat Well.

There is a strong correlation between what we eat and how we feel about ourselves. 

For example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect.

But food can also have a long-lasting impact on your mental health.

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.

A good diet for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

A healthy balanced diet includes:

  • plenty of water.
  • lots of different types of fruit and vegetables.
  • dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • oily fish
  • lots of fibre
  • wholegrain cereals or bread

Eat at least three meals each day and drink plenty of water. 

Eat regular portions of meals or snacks after a fixed duration. After dinner, give a break of at least 8 to 10 hours. 

Try to limit the amount of high-caffeine or sugary drinks you consume every single day.

Avoid consumption of too much alcohol.

Please Note: The advice on this page may not apply if your doctor or dietician have given you specific dietary advice, e.g. if you are a kidney patient or a diabetic.

Take Regular Breaks

If you are working for longer hours and struggling to get everything done and other time management relation problems, taking short but regular breaks throughout the day brings benefits. Ranging from lesser stress to improved Mental Health. 

Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the requirement for a long recovery. 

Relaxing and social breaks are particularly beneficial. 

A relaxing break can help facilitate recovery by returning your mental and psychical functional systems to their baseline or point zero. 

Social breaks, such as chatting with your peers, have also been beneficial. 

Social interactions allow you to share your experiences and feel part of a group. 

This feeling of relatedness shows a positive association with feeling recovered after a social break. 

Taking breaks is essential in recovering from stress, which can, in turn, improve your performance. 

Recovering from work stress can restore energy and mental resources and decrease fatigue, sleep disorders, and cardiovascular disease. 

Get Outside

In a Journal of Workplace Behavioural Health study, workers were asked to head outside for 10 minutes “outdoor booster breaks” and focus on natural elements such as clouds, bird’s sounds, or the grass beneath their feet.

At the end of the four-week study, they felt significantly less stressed than those who took indoor breaks.

Sound Sleep/ Nap Happy

Enhance memory and learning.

Sleep is critical to your learning capacity and your brain’s ability to process memory. 

The issues related to sleeplessness or insomnia have been extensively covered in the article “Are You Struggling With Sleeplessness or Insomnia?“.

scientific proven ways to boost mental healthNaps can help to root newly learned information in the brain and improve memory recall. 

One study found that a 60-90-minute nap can aid in learning a whole night of sleep. 

Between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm, we experience a slight dip in core body temperature (a signal to the brain to release melatonin, the sleep hormone). 

Taking a 10-minute nap around this time is ideal for working around this natural dip. 

Research has found that a short power nap can help boost productivity, mood, alertness and even improve memory recall. 

And research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap

Mid-day sleep, or a ‘power nap‘, means more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency, and better health.

Make Time for Prayer

Spending lots of time online puts you at risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Pain, tingling, and stiffness felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons.scientific proven ways to boost mental health

Try the following prayers stretch once or twice a day as a preventive measure. 

First, place your palms together at chest height in a prayer position. 

You are keeping your palm connected. Slowly lower your hands until your arms reach a 90-degree position. Hold for 10 seconds. 

Then hold each of the following positions for 10 seconds. 

Tip your hand to the left; tip your hands to the right; move your hands outwards, so your fingers are pointing away from you; finally, place the backs of your hands together with your fingers pointed down.

Kawaii To Go

Kawaii is a Japanese word that translates to “cuteness”. 

Researchers from the University of Hiroshima found that viewing kawaii images – specifically cute kittens or puppies – had a fantastic effect on workers. 

They not only felt happier, but they also performed tasks better than before viewing the images. 

Japan’s ‘Yami kawaii‘ culture breaks down mental health barriers. 

Eye patches and fake blood, bandaged limbs, and images of slashed wrists — a fashion trend is helping young people in Japan communicate feelings they would otherwise be unable to voice.

Writing Helps?

Writing is a way to put the suffering out. And you can do that, but the agony out of you, like using the paper as a trash bin and keeping to purge it out in some part.

scientific proven ways to boost mental health

Or it can be a way to put them out so you can process it and re-assimilate as something more digestible for the psych and understand it, have some grip over it and transform at least part of it into something useful! 

This is the healthiest way to use writing or any art you create, but some people have this ability, and others don’t.

Being able to speak, write or understand symbolic characters like the alphabet is a cornerstone to many complex identity processes, emotional processing, communication, creativity, and many human brain complex capacities that people may get by granted.

Still, when people don’t learn to speak and write at the due age, they may contact a lot handicapped in adulthood.

The ability to speak and write is responsible for us having a mental space that we use to process and think our emotions, so we can decide the best way to act or minimize or hold intense emotions without impulsivity.

Give Green a Chance

In addition to improving air quality, interacting with potted plants can do wonders for your wellbeing. 

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that subjects who re-potted a houseplant felt soothed and stress-free. 

Experts say that smelling or touching plants can produce similar de-stressing effects.

Courtesy – YouTube

Meditate

Research shows that mindfulness meditation can lower stress levels, improve your ability to cope with pressure, and boost concentration, memory, and creativity.

However, more companies, including Google and Apple, advise employees to give on-the-job meditation a go.

To start, use a guided meditation app to help transport you from tense in seconds.

Courtesy – YouTube

Make Exercise a Fun Part of Your Everyday Life

You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into long, monotonous workouts to experience the many benefits of exercise. These tips can help you find activities you enjoy and start to feel better, look better, and get more out of life.

Courtesy – YouTube

How can exercise boost Mental Health?

You already know that exercise is suitable for the body. 

However, did you know it can also boost your mood, improve sleep, and help deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and more? 

According to researchers at Stanford University, taking a short stroll could help you experience that eureka moment. 

They found that a short walk helped boost creativity in participation by an average of 60 per cent.

What are the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise?

Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. 

Sure, exercise can improve physical health and physique, trim waistline, improve sex life, and even add years to your life. However, that is not what motivates most people to stay active.

scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. 

They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. 

Furthermore, it is also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.

Regular exercise can profoundly positively impact depression, anxiety, and ADHD. 

It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. 

Moreover, you do not have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. 

Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. 

Irrespective of age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.

Reaping the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise is Easier Than You Think.

You don’t need to devote hours out of a busy day to train at the gym, sweat buckets, or run mile after monotonous mile to reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. 

Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough. 

Furthermore, even that can be broken down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions if that is easier.

Even a Little Bit of Activity is Better than Nothing

If you don’t have time for 15 – 30 minutes of exercise, or if your body tells you to take a break after 5 or 10 minutes, for example, that’s okay, too. 

scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Start with 5- or 10-minute sessions and slowly increase the time. 

The more you exercise, the more energy you will have, so eventually, you will feel ready for a little more. 

The key is to commit to some moderate physical activity—however slight—on most days. 

As exercising becomes a habit, you can slowly add extra minutes or try several types of activities. 

If you keep at it, the benefits of exercise will begin to pay off.

You do not have to Suffer to Get Results.

Research shows that moderate levels of exercise are best for most people. Moderate means:

  1. That you breathe a little heavier than usual but are not out of breath, for example, you should chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
  2. That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.

Getting Started with Exercise When You Have a Mental Health Issue.

scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best times.

However, it can seem doubly tricky when you feel depressed, anxious, stressed, or have another mental health problem.

This is especially true of depression and anxiety, which can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation.

You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed you of the energy and motivation you need to work out.

Or your social anxiety means you cannot bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or running through the park. 

Courtesy – YouTube

Exercise and Depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side effects, of course.

scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. 

In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent relapsing.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. 

Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of brain changes, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. 

It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in the brain that energize spirits and make you feel good. 

Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise and Anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. 

It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through endorphins release. scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Anything that gets you moving can help but will benefit more if you pay attention instead of zoning out.

Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, the rhythm of breathing or the wind’s feeling on the skin. 

By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on the body and how it feels as you exercise—you will not only improve physical condition faster but may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.

Exercise and Stress

You have ever noticed how the body feels when you’re under stress? 

Your muscles may be tense, especially in the face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain or painful headaches. 

You may feel a tightness in the chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. 

You may also experience insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhoea, or frequent urination. 

The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can, in turn, lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. 

As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. 

Since the body and mind are so closely linked, the body feels better so, too, will the reason.

Exercise and ADHD

scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Exercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood.

Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. 

In this way, exercise works in much the same way as ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

 

Exercise and PTSD & Trauma

Evidence suggests that by focusing on the body and how it feels as you exercise, you can help the nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. 

Instead of allowing the mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in joints and muscles, even your insides, as your body moves. 

Exercises that involve cross movement and engage both arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, or dancing—are some of your best choices.

Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing (downhill and cross-country) have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Even if you are not suffering from a mental health problem, regular physical activity can offer a welcome boost to mood, outlook, and mental well-being. 

Exercise can help provide: Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins make you feel better and help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.

Higher Self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in the mind, body, and soul. It can foster a sense of self-worth and make you feel strong when it becomes a habit. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you will feel a sense of achievement.

Better Sleep. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep. Even short bursts of training in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns.

More Energy. Start with just a few minutes of exercise per day, and increase your workout as you feel more energized. Increasing heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go.

Stronger Resilience. When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you build resilience and cope healthily, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviours that only worsen the symptoms. Regular exercise can also help boost the immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

Cardio or Weight Training

It is a cardio exercise that delivers most mental health benefits; you don’t say what the routine’s makeup is, but try spending less time on the weights and more time on the treadmill.

Not Exercising When Stressed

Exercising when you are stressed can raise aggression levels. 

Contrary to widely held belief, the best way to get rid of anger or aggression is not to punch something or ‘vent’ it in some other way – by pushing yourself in the gym, say. 

It is much better to use some stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga – even if it is just for 5 or 10 mins before you work out – so that workout can be about you and your body.

What should be the “Time Gap” between Exercise and Sleep?

Exercising too close to bedtime will disrupt your natural sleep, and sleep is an even more critical factor in good mental health than exercise. 

Try a different time of day – when you get up, say, or at lunchtime. 

We aim to put at least 4 hours between finishing your workout and bedtime.

Be Careful With Social Media

Newspapers internet is full of cases where people have lost their mental peace due to social media trolling, online stalking by so-called lovers and the list is very long.

If you want to avoid accidents on road, then the best option is to stay at home.

Therefore, the best option is to be careful and avoid avoidable incidents.

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