7 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health and Lower Depression
#1 Track Gratitude and Achievements
It’s important to remember things that we are grateful for in life. When we write down or think about what we are grateful for it brings the positive to the front of the brain.
This will send the negative thoughts away while we focus on the positive.
It is always a good idea to keep track of all of your accomplishments. When you’re depressed it becomes all too easy to focus on the negative. That we are failures at everything we do.
Having your achievements written down somewhere you can review them will help to remind you that you are not a failure. That you do have things you’ve successfully accomplished.
These are things that you should keep at the front of your mind and feel positive about.
Sure we will run into failures, but everyone does. Don’t focus on those failures except for what you can learn from them and apply them to your life. Having all your achievements written down will remind you that you are not actually a failure at everything, that there are things you have accomplished and should be proud of.
#2 Start Your Day With A Coffee, Tea, or Other Drink You Enjoy
With depression, sometimes the mornings can be rough. We wake up and don’t even want to get out of bed. If we do make it out of bed we might find that we only make it as far as the couch or maybe to the computer to distract yourself.
Starting your day out with a drink you enjoy can be a great way to not only relax while drinking but make you feel a bit better. The drink is something that brings some enjoyment to you first thing in the morning and has the potential to bring more positive feelings into your day.
Starting out on a good, positive note first thing in the morning can sometimes make a big difference in your depression for the rest of the day.
I find myself having a cup of tea as soon as I get out of bed and then take that over to the computer. I get some enjoyment and relaxation out of drinking the green tea, knowing it will help me a bit with my mood while I check on different sites in the morning.
This also helps me get moving for the day and gives me some motivation to actually get out of the house for the morning. Even if it’s just a couple hours that I get out for.
#3 Do Things You’re Good At
Concentrate on things that you are good at. If you are good at drawing, draw a random picture that comes to mind. If you are good at writing, start a blog or become a freelancer and do some writing. If you are good at giving advice jump onto Quora or Reddit and look for people who need advice that you have the knowledge to help with.
This ties back into accomplishments from above. Here you are accomplishing things and will increase your mood, even if only slightly. Share what you have accomplished on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media sites.
You might be surprised at the comments of praise you get from what you’ve accomplished.
I know from experience that being given compliments can be uncomfortable to receive when you are depressed. However, at the same time, it will help improve your mood a bit when you made an accomplishment that people think is great.
#4 Keep It Cool for A Good Nights Sleep
Getting a good nights sleep will definitely affect the way we feel the next day. Trying to sleep in a hot atmosphere can be difficult. It can be hard to fall asleep or cause an interrupted nights sleep.
If you have air conditioning where you live, drop the temperature a degree or two when you go to bed, or in the winter drop the heat a bit. This will keep you from getting too hot while you sleep and help give a more restful sleep.
If you don’t have air conditioning during the summer, get a fan and take off the oscillation so that the fan is blowing directly on you. This will help to keep you feeling a bit cooler. You may also want to only use a light sheet instead of a heavy blanket while you sleep.
#5 Take the First Step
Have something that you’ve always wanted to do or learn?
Take the first step and start something new, learn something you’ve been wanting to learn. You don’t need to learn everything all at once. This will only overwhelm you and probably cause you to not want to continue to pursue it any further.
Take your time and enjoy learning something new, or how to do what you’ve been wanting to do for some time. Take it in small more manageable steps that suite what you are able to do and the amount of time you have the energy to devote to this new thing.
Even if it is only five or ten minutes that you devote to doing something new or learning something new. You’ve started down that road and that is an accomplishment in and of itself.
When it’s time to take a break, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished so far and give yourself a pat on the back.
For me, I finally started blogging. It is definitely a learning experience and I have taken some courses on Udemy. I do it in small manageable chunks of time. If I can take this first step, with my severe depression, I believe you can too.
#6 Share Your Story
This is a tough one. It can be scary to share your story with mental health and your own mental illness. There is still a lot of stigma out there and it can sometimes change the way people look at you or treat you.
However, I think this is an important part to better mental health and to help with your depression. This also has two parts to it which, in my opinion, is great.
First off you get to take everything that has been and is going on with you on the inside and get it out. You get to share what you’ve been through and get it out of your system so to speak. This gives some relief, you’ve opened the bottle and emptied some of the contents.
Choosing the right person to share with is important. You want to make sure that they will listen with compassion and not judgment. This will also help to educate those around you as to why you may act in certain ways at certain times, instead of them jumping to conclusions.
Secondly, this helps to create awareness about mental health and mental illnesses. For me, I want to help create awareness about depression because that’s what I go through and what I know. Your illness may be different and can help create awareness for your specific condition.
The more that we share our stories with others the more aware others become about mental illnesses and just how it affects the lives of those living with them. This, in turn, helps to reduce the stigma.
I would like to encourage you to allow me to share your story on this blog. I can use a different name to protect your privacy or if you prefer your real name I can use that as well. Just contact me through the contact page and let me know that you want to share your story on this blog. I will create a separate category for other’s stories.
#7 Meditate or Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are both great ways to take a short break and bring yourself back to your center. They both offer the opportunity to calm yourself down if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
The nice thing about both of these options is that you only need five or ten minutes of your day. If you can spare longer periods of time you will have better results but you can still have results with a short break.
YouTube has a lot of guided meditation videos that you can use to listen to and help you get into a meditative state of mind. There are also YouTube videos for mindfulness but one app I find really useful is called Headspace.
The app is free for the first 10 days of mindfulness practice. I just keep repeating the first 10 days as I find they do the trick just fine. Another good app to use is called Aware. Again you get so many days free but you can keep repeating those days.
Please feel free to leave comments on your thoughts and anything you think would be a good addition to this list below.