20 Ways to Holistically Improve Your Mood:
Happy Mental Health Awareness Day
Mental health may have become one of our latest cultural buzzwords, but what actually is mental health?
Read-on for our list of 20 ways to holistically improve your mood!
Mental Health, Defined
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”
We all have mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health, but how well we’re doing can change over time depending on a variety of factors taking place in our lives like our level of stress, major life changes, health related issues, or our level of coping skills.
Busy Days, Busy Lives
Mental health hygiene tends to be one of the first things to fade into the back of our lives and yet our life, our work, our relationships, even our faith, are all projected from how well we’re doing mentally. In the rush of busy days, many of us fall into the flow of our busy lives without taking the time to step back and reorient how we’re really doing that day and what led to the current mindset that we’re in.
Seeking Guidance from Counsel
- Being able to express your true thoughts and feelings without judgment
- Learning how to communicate and manage difficult emotions more clearly
- Gaining coping skills and strategies to find relief from anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
- Improving interpersonal skills and relationships
- Gaining deeper self-awareness and a stronger sense of self, which can help increase self-esteem
- Working on habits you’d like to change or setting goals to practically work toward
One of the things we advocate for at UHSM, is moving towards a perspective of holistic care:
That being said, here are 20 ways to reclaim our minds toward overall wellness this Mental Health Awareness month!
Holistic Approach on Living as a Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Beings
The truth is that taking care of our minds means developing a holistic support system for ourselves –a system that cares for our mind, body, and spirit, which all relates back to our overall mental health, wellness, and fitness. All humans are bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings, meaning that our experience is made up biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors.
Biologically: Our brain functioning, and structuring, neurochemical activity, hormones, and nervous system can all play a role in our mood and behavior.
1. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR FOOD INTAKE
We have something called the enteric nervous system which is also known as the gut-brain connection where there is bi-directional communication from what we’re digesting creating the building blocks of nutrients and neurochemicals being relayed to our brain. In fact, many refer to the gut as the “second brain” for this reason. That being said, having a lack of essential nutrient sources such as found in greens, proteins, and fatty fish (omega-3’s) or energy depletion because you haven’t been eating, can both be immediate reasons your mood has been feeling off.
2. ADD MORE MOVEMENT INTO YOUR WEEK
Whether you get your movement through fitness, dancing, or a moderate walk, it’s important to get your blood flowing and add a quick boost of endorphins to your brain throughout the day.
3. MEDITATION & PRAYER
Meditation and prayer are both important components of feeling renewed, grateful, and thankful for both the good and the bad aspects of one’s life. Let’s face it, we cannot have a perfect life all the time, but we can meditate and pray away the pain. We can give our burdens to God and if we learn to do this regularly, we will release the feelings of hurt we may be holding onto throughout the day.
4. GET OUTDOORS MORE OFTEN
Much of our population works indoors today and we may be missing out on the essential nutrients that sunlight helps synthesize on our bodies like Vitamin D, which plays a role in the production of serotonin- a neurochemical known for its regulating in our mood. That being said, stretch out your body, take a step outside to get in a moderate walk outdoors and soak in some Vitamin D (don’t forget the sunscreen!).
5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep is our body’s most natural healing and recovery system. A full night of rest is designed to restore our minds and bodies to a more stable functioning, including our nerves and brainpower. If you’re having an off day, consider taking a nap if you can or committing to go to bed earlier and eliminating screen time an hour before bed.
Psychologically: Our mental framework and perspective of how we’re entering our days can be shaped by our experience, how our thoughts are interpreting the events around us and what we’re letting have influence over our minds regularly.
6. MINDFUL MOMENT
Take a mindful moment in the morning to journal through your present thoughts and feelings to gain a clearer frame of self-awareness.
7. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Schedule a time with a counselor or therapist either in-person or virtually to work through current mental obstacles and difficulties.
8. MENTAL RESTING POINTS
Take intentional mental breaks from the hyperactivity of social media or too much negative news.
9. GRATITUDE & THANKFULNESS JOURNALS
Practice gratitude each day by simply listing 5 things you appreciate and are grateful for.
10. SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
Practice emotional boundaries by recognizing that you are an individual with your own thoughts, feelings and convictions and are allowed the separate space to process these things without automatically taking on the opinions and attitudes of those around you.
Sociologically: As humans, we are wired for healthy connection and having positive support in our lives can make all the difference in how we move through difficult situations in life.
11. SOCIALIZE WITH YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE
Make time to meet with a friend and commit to a date in your schedule.
12. OPEN UP & FEEL FREE TO BE YOU
Spend more time with those you can fully be yourself around.
13. TALK WHEN YOU FEEL SUPPORTED, SAFE, & LOVED
Allow yourself to be supported by challenging yourself to reach out to someone you feel safe talking to instead of withdrawing.
14. LOVE OTHERS THROUGH ACTS OF STEWARDSHIP
Practice a random act of kindness or consider volunteering this season.
15. GO LOCAL, JOIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Attend a seasonal festivity in your community!
Spiritually: It’s absolutely needed to be grounded in core beliefs, those founded on the truth of God’s Word –and the hope of who He is and who He’s created us to be—can help keep our mind and soul rooted when life feels hopeless, overwhelming, stressful, or too mentally, physically, or emotionally tough.
16. BIBLE VERSE TO AFFIRM & GROUND YOU
Create a list of scriptures to affirm and ground yourself in daily and place it in sight light by a bathroom mirror or at your work desk.
17. FIND LOCAL INSPIRATION THROUGH FAITH-FULL MOMENTS
Lean into events or gatherings in your faith community that encourage or inspire your faith.
18. MAKE TIME TO BE SILENT WITH NATURE
Get out in nature and soak in the existential beauty of creation and to be grateful in God’s creation.
19. PODCAST, SERMON, OR INSPIRATIONAL WISDOM
Tune into to a sermon in person and / or online.
20. SURRENDER TO GOD
Get in the rhythm of surrendering your worries and burdens to God (1 Peter 5:7), asking for wisdom (James 1:5), and making your requests known (Philippians 4:5-7).
When life feels too burdensome or it becomes difficult to function through daily life, work, and our relationships then it may be a sign to seek more professional help, as a way of navigating and finding relief from mental health challenges. None of us are called to carry our burdens alone.
God hears us, holds us, & cares for us, always.
Proverbs 11:14 reminds us that in the multitude of counselors, there is safety:
This is your reminder, there is no shame in getting the help we need, and we are all worthy of being supported when we need it most. We are God’s children, and we are always seen by Him. And we can find both peace and comfort in knowing that God knows our path, our future, our plans before we do.
You are Worthy Enough, Always!
What are some things you can do to practice better mental hygiene to feel more peace, grounded-ness, and joy in your life?
Life may not always be perfect, but sometimes it’s the small actions that can add up to our overall direction and sense of life.
About the Guest Author:
UHSM Ambassador, Mental Health Author, Lifestyle Content Creator, & Faith Advocate
Ambassador of UHSM, Brittney Moses is a mental health Author, Lifestyle Content Creator, and Advocate over integrating faith, culture, and wellness into one’s life. A mom and Los Angeles native, Brittney walks in-faith, using an informed approach to mental health. She is deeply seated in compassion for those she serves, from churches to youth non-profit ministries, Brittney Moses is a NAMI-certified Support Group Facilitator and Crisis Textline Counselor. Brittney Moses encourages others through a variety of mental health crises, and helps others through practical, holistic, and an evidence-based approach. Her latest publication and book, Worthy, helps others to focus on clarity and peace every day.