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5 Unexpected Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Jacqueline Coombe is a freelance writer specialising in business development, marketing, and career development content.

Mental health is an issue that warrants positive attention. This is because even though we might be hesitant to discuss it, it may affect more of us than expected. In fact, according to the WHO, one in four of us will be affected by mental health disorders at some stage.

Seeking treatment such as therapy from qualified healthcare providers is important, but those with mental health concerns could be doing other things to support their wellbeing. Eating a healthful diet could boost mood, and physical activity and relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing might also help.

However, what about unexpected methods you might not have tried yet? Consider the following five novel ways you could lift your mood and improve your mental health now.

1. Pamper your skin

Our skin is our largest organ, and unsurprisingly, it plays a central role in the maintenance of life and good health. It acts as your body’s barrier against the world, helps you ward off bugs and carcinogens, regulates your temperature, and fights off UV radiation. It’s also a source of pleasure when it comes to touch. Pampering your skin with a new cleanser, mud mask, and skin cream you haven’t tried yet could boost your mood by relieving stress.

It could have a positive effect on muscle and joint soreness while relaxing you and enhancing your circulation. Other ways to pamper your skin include soaking in a hot bath and taking a long shower and applying a rich moisturiser. In the same way, regular massages from a massage therapist or a self-massage practice could alleviate stress and anxiety.

2. Declutter and clean up

Decluttering and/or cleaning up can be relaxing activities, relieving stress and anxiety. As long as the idea of cleaning up doesn’t fill you with dread, it might be a good opportunity to lift your mood by doing something tactile like washing and cleaning up. It could leave you feeling organised and giving you a sense of accomplishment.

If doing the whole house seems overwhelming, start with a small space like the bathroom or study, or even just scrubbing the bathtub and toilet. Getting down and giving everything a good clean with a brush can boost your mood. It can give you a sense of satisfaction when you see how much muck you end up removing.

3. Commune with nature

When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, communing with nature can have a wonderful effect on your mental wellbeing by taking you right out of a fast-paced environment with smartphones, apps, calls, and texts. The act of getting out of the house, workplace, or other enclosed space is a great start in itself. Get close to nature and its slower rhythms by going to the park for a stroll, sitting on the grass, and enjoying the sunshine.

Alternatively, you could relax by a waterway or the ocean. Another way to commune with nature could be holding a big rock, which according to some people can help you feel grounded, calm, and peaceful. Watching birds is another popular way to get closer to nature and feel more relaxed.

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4. Be playful

Becoming more playful could have a positive and immediate impact on your mental health. Sometimes simply being too serious and forgetting to laugh can contribute to anxiety, depression, and stress. Finding everyday ways to shift out of these emotions, by playfulness, can help counter them.

So try jumping on the bed, breaking out into song, or dancing. These are activities that could in some situations enhance mood. For some people, laughing and smiling for no reason could also be beneficial as it causes your brain to release the happy hormone dopamine.

5. Celebrate food

The next time you feel the need to lift your mood and care for your mental health, try eating or cooking something you haven’t tried before. Food, as long as it’s healthful rather than fast food, is by nature a source of nourishment. When you try something new and delicious, it could, for instance, release mood-enhancing hormones like dopamine and endorphins.

It can stimulate your taste buds and senses, engage your interest, and lift your mood. Meanwhile, specific foods like mussels and oysters contain nutrients like vitamin B12 and zinc. These nutrients can, in brief, positively impact mood and sleep quality while easing anxiety.

Similarly, cooking your own food could have mental-health benefits. Researching recipes and preparing the ingredients requires you to stop, be in the moment, and become more patient and mindful.

Also, putting together a meal can be an act of creative expression and give you a sense of accomplishment. If you’re sharing the meal with friends and family, it can bring you together, help you connect with others, and so further enhance your mental health.

Embrace the unconventional

When it comes to managing your mental health, established approaches like therapy, exercise, and meditation can each have a valuable impact on mental wellbeing and health. However, you don’t have to be directly working on your mental health with conventional methods to reap benefits.

Doing things that provide a sense of accomplishment, take you closer to nature, and bring a bit of levity to your day can also facilitate better mental health.

Acts of physical self-care like pampering your skin and massage, along with nourishing your body with delicious, healthful meals are also among the different things you could be doing to improve your mood. The best thing about these ideas is they can be unexpectedly enjoyable and easy to work into your daily schedule.

© 2021 jacquicoombe

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