Your mental state is often a reflection of the world you live in. Though this is not always the case, people battling with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, or other mental health disorders often have some aspect of their life that feels hopeless or out of their control. It’s important to recognize that this aspect may not always be readily visible – even the people who seem to “have it all together” may be facing a silent struggle that cannot be seen on the surface.
If you are struggling to regain (or maintain) mental health, I urge you to take a close look at the various aspects of your life. See if you can identify a certain aspect that may be contributing to your poor emotional state, and make a plan to improve that situation. Even though they may not seem obvious at first, I promise you – you always have options.
By taking control of your world, you can do away with negative situations that are not making you happy. While all of these may not apply to you specifically, here are a few examples of the different lifestyle changes you may wish to implement.
1. Start Exercising.
Exercise is a powerful way to improve both your physical and mental health. As we have discussed before, exercising releases endorphins, which are the chemicals in the body that contribute to happiness and other positive emotions. Exercising also improves your physical image, which in turn may improve your self esteem. If you do not already make exercise a regular part of your life, I encourage you to devise an exercise plan and stick to it as much as you can. It doesn’t have to be a lot – even going for a 20 minute walk each day will help!
2. Start Saying No.
How many times do you catch yourself saying “yes” to something or someone, just because you don’t want to be rude? You may have a to-do list a mile long, but if someone asks you to help them out with a project, you’ll smile and say yes (even though you don’t want to). Does this sound familiar? If so, it may be time to start learning to embrace the word “no.”
It’s not your job to save everyone. You are not responsible for making other people’s lives easier, and taking care of yourself is never a rude thing to do. Next time someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, simply say, “I’m sorry, but I have a lot on my plate right now. I don’t think I can sign up for anything else at the moment. I wish you the best of luck, though!” Once you have said no, remove yourself from the situation. There’s no need to make things harder on yourself by listening to the person ask for help again and again.
3. Change Your Job.
Job satisfaction and overall happiness are closely interconnected. Though it may seem like you should be able to leave your work-related problems or frustrations behind once you clock out, doing so is often much easier said than done. If your job is making you unhappy, don’t assume you are locked into your position. There are countless different ways to make money. If you are willing to open your mind to other possibilities, I am confident that you could find an alternative situation.
4. Leave An Unhealthy Relationship.
Is your relationship causing you heartache, constant frustration, or pain (physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise)? There are countless different reasons people stay in negative relationships – fear of being alone, not wanting to break up a family, fear of the consequences of leaving, etc. It is not my place to tell you how to handle your relationship, and I certainly don’t mean to seem insensitive. However, if you feel that your relationship is unhealthy in any way, I encourage you to seek support from an online mental health therapist or shelter (depending on your situation). You don’t have to face your struggles alone.
How Do You Plan To Improve Your Lifestyle?
If you want to improve your mental health, the best place to start is often to look at your lifestyle to identify areas you can improve it. You may find that focusing on external changes is much easier than trying to improve the way you process thoughts or emotions.
If you would like support in your journey, please don’t be afraid to reach out to an experienced mental health counselor. I offer exclusively online counseling and would be honored to assist you however I can. For more information about the benefits of online therapy, visit my website or contact me directly.
Samantha M. Ruth, Transformational Psychologist
Located outside of Michigan? Contact me via Better Help.