Your toolbox for better mental health
Here you will find methods that have been proven to help when everyday life feels a little extra heavy.
These strategies are like a savings account for our mental health, so when the road of life feels extra bumpy, which it will sometimes do for everyone, we can extract some of what we have accumulated in this account. Spend some time on these actions every day. They will give you extra-strength when your everyday life is a little darker.
1. Be grateful
You’ve probably heard of gratitude lists before, and that’s because they actually work. Reminding oneself of everything one has to be grateful for increases activity in the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls the body’s functions, such as eating and sleeping – and can thus improve sleep, optimism, relationships, and mental health. Write down one thing you are grateful for every night and put your note in a jar of happiness. She reads the notes when she is down or when the jar is full.
Someone keeps a gratitude diary or has a folder of pictures of things one is grateful for on their mobile. It removes stress and difficult things from your life but puts things into perspective. It is impossible to just say to yourself that everything is fine when life storms around you. But an appreciation diary lets you see a glimmer of light on an otherwise dark day. The more you practice gratitude, the more often the brain begins to look at it.
2. Back to nature
Two hours spent in nature a week is enough to boost your mental health and happiness. It does not have to be two hours continuous, nor does it have to include exercise. Just sitting on a bench in the e
n park with a good book may be enough.
Research shows that 15 minutes of intense activity a day can reduce the risk of depression by 26 percent. If you don’t want to go to a fitness center, you don’t need it. Find a way to move your body that feels good to you. You will never feel worse afterward.
4. Build yourself up
Keep track of all achievements and try to build self-esteem so that you – those times when you do not feel you can do anything – can take a look at that book full of achievements and things you have achieved.
5. Find your flow
Getting into a creative flow can trigger an avalanche of brain bliss (like dopamine). Get into this flow by doing an activity you like, which requires technique and concentration, such as yoga, painting, gaming, sex, skiing – or even working. It’s just about finding the perfect place between something that is too difficult and stressful, and something that is too easy and boring.
6. The little things
Focus your attention on the small moments of joy or pleasure in everyday life. Hot water running down the shower, the feel of the sun on your face, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, lying in a soft bed with freshly washed linens, the love your dog shows you when you get home. We all have these small moments of positivity – try to focus on them and enjoy them. It is called “Savoring” and is a technique that gives increased pleasure.
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7. Get infected
It is a phenomenon called infectious joy. You don’t have to do anything special, just let the joy of others spill over to yourself. Look at little kids playing, a dog running after a ball, or a funny YouTube clip – it boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the body and allows your head to relax a little. Afterward, the mood will be lifted a few notches.
8. Fight for a cause
Involving yourself in a cause that worries you is beneficial to both society and yourself. Doing small things in everyday life can give everyday life extra meaning and boost both body and mind.
Ask questions of your own thoughts by imagining them as clouds. Seeing them float past helps you to understand that they have no power over you. Many negative thoughts have nothing to do with reality.
10. Be generous
Giving to others brings joy. Then you get two for the price of one, and nothing is better than that. We even feel happy because we have done something good for others, and they feel happy because they have experienced that someone else is kind.