Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/20/2022
Mental health is important — there’s no doubt about it.
And mental health tips are everywhere — whether in the world of self-help books or in the latest beer ad.
We drilled down to 10 tips that have been proven to work, whether you’re feeling depressed, anxious, indiffierent, melancholy, or show any other signs of mental health challenges.
Read on to learn more about mental health and how to keep yourself sane.
Mental health education is a crucial part of finding your best quality of life. To understand mental and emotional health, it’s helpful to learn a bit more about mental illness, or in other words, the absence of mental health.
The scientific community still has unanswered questions about what causes mental illness and how our mental health works. What we do know are some basics, including the fact that things like mood disorders are often caused by brain chemistry.
And when brain chemistry becomes unbalanced, it causes some of our more negative thoughts and moods to become chronic or more intense, resulting in mental illness that can affect your life and prevent you from enjoying it.
Taking care of your mental health is preventative maintenance: It’s like the fresh oil change or tire rotation of the mind.
Taking care of mental health can vary from person to person. One person may just need some exercise to stay healthy and happy, while another may need the help of therapy or medication (or both) to feel normal.
Our mental health needs aren’t our fault, but understanding them is how we take care of ourselves.
How can we boost our mental health? As mentioned above, mental health needs can vary from person to person. Certain mental health activities may benefit some more than others.
That said, there are 10 mental health tips to help you feel your best.
Mental health is another winning benefit of regular exercise. We all know that we should probably exercise more, but the good news is that even a small amount of daily exercise can have mental health benefits.
The National Institute of Mental Health advises that just 30 minutes a day of an activity like walking can benefit your mental health, and you can spread those 30 minutes out throughout the day.
For example, if you take a 10-minute stroll to grab some coffee in the morning, and then walk 20 minutes with your dog after work — you’re good to go.
While we’re on simple topics, you can also help your mental health by eating and drinking well. The only extra hustle you have to put in? It has to be healthy.
Eating a balanced diet and making sure to consume enough water is correlated with improved focus, as well as more balanced energy levels throughout the day. And of course, better moods.
As if these mental health tips couldn’t get any easier, here comes sleep as a way to improve your mental health.
Sleep is important for your mental health much how it benefits your physical health: Staying on a good sleep schedule can help you stabilize your moods and lower your risk for a mental health condition like depression and anxiety.
If you enjoy your leisure time, consider it double duty, because leisurely and restful activities are associated with better mental health.
Things like adult coloring, puzzles and journaling are all versions of the mental rest we need between stressful activities, and it’s arguably a form of meditation.
Speaking of meditation, there’s a lot of research to suggest that meditation and breathing exercises are beneficial to your mental health and preventing mental illness.
Positive emotions are much better than negative ones. Yes, it’s obvious, but remembering to appreciate the good things is an important and often forgotten part of an excellent tool for mental health: positive thinking.
This positive way of thinking is sometimes referred to as practicing mindfulness.
Just hitting cancel on negative thoughts takes practice, but it can be achieved with progress. Start with a journal to keep track of everything you have to be positive about.
That advice works for gratitude, too. While some people benefit from visualizing the best that could come in uncertain situations, others choose to reflect on everything they’ve taken for granted.
A gratitude journal is a great way to end the day by remembering to be thankful rather than resentful.
Relationships and social activities are supportive of mental health, even when you’re not having a heart to heart. Just a few extra hours with supportive friends or family with whom you have a healthy relationship can benefit your mental health greatly, and prevent feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
As mentioned above, there’s almost nothing better for your mental health than learning more about the symptoms and side effects of what you may be suffering from.
Whether you’re dealing with a range of emotions or need help identifying feelings of anxiety, here’s a shameless plug: Learn more from our free mental health resources.
Achieving your mental health goals, regardless of what they are, is likely a problem best addressed with professional support. In fact, expert support from a mental health specialist is crucial if difficult feelings are affecting your life.
If your mental health is starting to take a toll on your work, relationships, sleep, hobbies, or simply making you more stressed out than you want to handle, it may be time to take the next step in mental health care.
Mental health is a complicated subject, but one thing we can say for sure is that the most effective way to deal with mental illness, mood disorders and other mental health afflictions is to seek professional help from a healthcare provider.
A healthcare provider, regardless of whether it’s a general practitioner, primary care provider, or an existing therapist, will be able to do one of two things: help you address your problem, or get in contact with the appropriate mental health professional through a referral.
This person may eventually recommend medication, therapy or both, and depending on what’s affecting you, the final treatment may look very different, and will be tailored to your individual needs.
Taking your mental health seriously is an important step, and we can guarantee you that employing any of our tips in service of better mental health will only work in your favor. That said, there is definitely more to good mental health than diet, exercise, positive thinking and journaling.
If you’re struggling to handle a mental health issue on your own, take the next step and ask for help. You could reach out to a trusted friend, read more mental health resources, or join an online support group. Your best bet for tailored care would be to seek the assistance of a mental health provider.
A mental health professional can help you improve or maintain your mental health, whether in person or online with options like our psychiatry and online therapy services. The goal is for you to get the help you want and deserve.