on Jul 16, 18

Psychological Hacks for Better Mental Health

The brain of an average adult human processes up to 50 thousand thoughts per day. That’s a lot of thoughts! In fact, have you ever had an important thought you were considering then another thought popped into your mind and you forgot what you were thinking about in the first place? That is frustrating and can leave you feeling like a scatter-brain. But, the fact is that you are processing multiple thoughts throughout the day.

With all that activity going on in your brain, it can cause your emotions to go haywire from time to time. While some people usually have no problem balancing cognitive and emotional needs, others struggle from time to time to keep their heads clear.

Give and receive hugs

Humans are social creatures, by and large, and we take comfort in contact. Hugs are the way we give love and receive love from those around us. So, take a minute every day and reach out to give and receive hugs to your pet, your spouse, parents, or friends.

Take a walk

Exercising is often described as a way to “let off steam.” In a way, it’s true. Exercise is a way to release pent up energy that can result from the emotional upheavals of your day. When you feel nervous energy building up throughout the day, excuse yourself for a quick break and find a way to take a quick walk. It can be up and down a staircase or a quick spin around a park, it will help you clear those bottle up thoughts and give you a fresh perspective. Consider quick rounds of exercise your own personal “reset” button.

Put away your electronic devices

In addition to trying to balance all those thoughts and emotions, we have the constant pull of electronic devices intruding into our day. Cell phones ring, text alerts signal you, and emails come in as fast as you can clear them out of your in-box.

The solution here is simple. When you are feeling overwhelmed or are struggling to complete an important task or deadline, put away your electronic devices. Stick your cell phone into your purse, pocket, or desk drawer. Give yourself the gift of the time to get that job done without interruption. You will feel less stressed as you complete the task at hand.

Flash those pearly whites

When you smile, you can’t help but…well, smile! This works especially well when you are feeling depressed or lonely. A smile is like an invitation to others. It lets them know that you are accepting and welcoming of their company. This can help you connect with others, feel better, and make friends. And that can bolster your spirits in the future.

Get more sleep

You can improve your overall mental well being by making sure that you get plenty of sleep every night. Your brain performs nightly “maintenance” while you’re sleeping; it helps repair cells and signals to your nervous system to reset from the day and prepares your body for the next day.

If you are lacking sleep, it can cause psychological challenges, mood swings, irritability, and an overall feeling sluggish. Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time every night and turn off cell phones to start to train your body to sleep well every night.

Adopt a heart-healthy diet

Certain foods nourish your brain. Better brain health can help you feel better from a mental health standpoint. Typically, foods that are “heart-healthy” are also “brain healthy.” Focus on swapping out fatty proteins for leaner proteins like fish or chicken. Switch up salty, fried snacks for crunchy fruits like apples or unsalted nuts. Skip heavy meals and opt for a salad instead. These small changes can add up to a better-nourished brain that will help you keep those emotions in check.

Free your space

A feeling of being overwhelmed or even panic can arise from situations when you can’t find things that you need. Whether it’s your wallet, phone, or house keys, the frustration that you feel when you misplace your items can lead you down a rabbit hole.

Free your space of clutter. Rid your home of things you no longer use, paper clutter on your desk, clothes you don’t wear, and junk items that you intend to get fixed but never get around to. Having the space to organize your belongings gives you a sense of order and peace of mind that you cannot get in a cluttered space.

Take some “me time”

Treat yourself to some extra time to yourself. Whether you want to enjoy a long soak in a bubble bath or a run with the dog, permit yourself to take time out of your hectic schedule to make time to do something that you love once in a while. This will remind you that you are a deserving person and help you avoid feelings of low self-worth from creeping up on you.

Avoid alcohol

You’ve heard the saying, of course, that alcohol is never the solution to your problems. This is particularly true when you’re trying to amp up your psyche. It’s true that alcohol might initially give you a euphoric feeling that makes you feel better. However, that effect is short-term. In a short time, you will lose that hazy feeling. And, you may also be left with a headache from the binge. Using alcohol to escape those familiar feelings of depression can only lead to bigger problems down the road.

Mental wellness is something that we humans have to work at, each and every day. With the complexity of everything that our brains process throughout our day, we need to learn to take an active part in achieving a feeling of balance. These psych hacks will help you achieve—and maintain—that improved mental wellness.

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