Eight Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Here are eight things you can do on a regular basis to improve and maintain your mental health.

1. Seek a professional. There's no better way to improve your mental health than by getting help from a mental health professional. They're professionals for a reason. They have the knowledge and skills to effectively treat mental illnesses and improve mental health. Therefore, they can usually help you better than you can help yourself. If you're afraid to see a therapist, read this blog post for encouragement. And remember, therapy isn't just for people with diagnosable mental illnesses. Anyone, no matter how mentally healthy they are, can benefit from therapy.

2. Practice cognitive behavioral therapy. One of the most common forms of therapy, called CBT, can be done on your own! It's very simple to learn. To summarize CBT, it is basically analyzing and changing your thoughts and behaviors to change the way you feel. One of the most basic ways to practice CBT is to think or write about all the things you're grateful for. In general, the more grateful you are, the happier you'll be in life, and gratefulness is a skill that you can learn. You can read more about CBT here. However, while CBT may be easy to learn, it takes a lot of discipline to practice. You need to dedicate yourself to CBT on a regular basis to truly benefit from it, and this goes for everything else on this list.

3. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is another popular way to improve mental health. Mindfulness is simply the nonjudgmental awareness and concentration on the present moment. The mental health benefits of mindfulness are pretty obvious. The more you live in the present moment, the happier you'll be. Mindfulness also has lot of physical benefits, such as decreased blood-pressure and improved sleep, that directly improve your mental health. There's many forms of mindfulness, including meditation that not only improves your mental health, but also improves your concentration and mental toughness.

4. Live a healthy lifestyle. As humans, our bodies and minds are very interconnected. How we treat our bodies directly affects our mental health, and vice versa. This is why it's so important to exercise daily, eat healthy, and sleep well. The better we take care of our bodies, the happier we'll be.

5. Have fun. This is pretty self-explanatory. The more you do the things you're passionate about, the happier you'll be. Whether you enjoy art, sports, travel, or reading, motivate yourself to do these things more often. The positive emotions you gain from these activities can greatly improve your mental health. Not only should we be doing what we love more, we should also take more time to simply relax. Too often, we're overworking and overstressing ourselves. Everyone, including the most committed athletes, needs time to unwind, relax, and enjoy life.

6. Challenge yourself and strive for greatness. However, happiness and mental health aren't just about relaxing and having fun. You also need discipline to improve your mental health. By working hard, learning new skills, improving yourself, and accomplishing your goals, you can gain a lot of satisfaction in life. As an athlete, you can greatly enjoy the process of improving. And after working hard for your entire career, you can be proud of what you accomplished.

7. Love others. As humans, we are social-beings. No matter how introverted you are, you still need positive relationships with others. Happiness is maximized when shared. This is why it's so important to prioritize your relationships with your family and friends. One of the biggest regrets people have in life is focusing too much on their careers at the expense of their relationships. However, happiness doesn't just come from spending time with others, but also treating them well. The more we treat others with kindness and charity, the happier we'll be.

8. Have purpose in life and practice your faith. Last and most importantly, happiness comes from transcending yourself and being a part of something greater than yourself. For religious people, this means living out your faith. As your death approaches, nothing brings more peace of mind than knowing you are right with God. If you're not religious, you still need something to give yourself to. If you only care about yourself, you'll eventually be disappointed in life.

As an athlete, your mental health is a vital component of your performance. But more importantly, mental health is an end in itself. For these reasons, you should commit yourself to doing these eight things on a regular basis. Take more ownership of your mental health and create a plan for how you can incorporate these eight things into your daily life.


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