Being healthy is important, and we’re not just talking physically. Emotional and mental health are just as important and often can be placed on the back burner when life gets busy. A work deadline is looming, a school project has you staying up late, or you’re feeling pressure from your peers. Stress is unavoidable, but it can be managed and in healthy ways. There are plenty of ways to improve your mental outlook — and they don’t have to take a lot of time or effort.

Be Mindful of Your Body

Listen to what your body is saying. What is it telling you? They say you are what you eat. This, in some ways, is very true. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind! Research has proven that proper diet and exercise improve our mental capacity and longevity. In a study conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. The risk of depression increases roughly 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. In a nutshell, cut out the sugar and processed foods, switch to a whole food diet with more vegetables and fresh fruits, and maybe join a gym or create your own home workout routine. 

Find Your Tribe 

Associate with positive people. Spending time with the right people can do worlds of good for your mental health. You eventually become who you hang out with, so pick the right crowd who’s going to support you and encourage you to live healthy. If family and friends tend to be negative and unsupportive, find better people to spend your time with. This doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with important family members just because you cannot seem to agree and get along, just increase your network of friends with those who get you. Damaging mindsets can take a toll and ultimately hurt your emotional state of wellbeing.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you’re worried about your mental health and how you’re feeling, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.This doesn’t necessarily have to involve professional counseling or treatment, however, this might be a good option if you believe your condition is serious. You can reach out to friends, family, or support groups for advice and help. In fact, Mental Health America found that 71 percent of people surveyed turned to friends or family in times of stress. If you have open and honest conversations with people around you, you’re sure to find solutions to help alleviate the problems you’re experiencing.

Relax More

This is a big one! Are you constantly on the move? Maybe your professional career is taking off or you are balancing life and raising kids. Time seems to fly and you’ve barely had a moment to catch a breath. It’s easy to do and all of this can make it difficult to carve time out of our busy schedules and see to our own mental health needs. Even if you can squeeze in just 30 minutes of alone time can make a world of a difference. Listening to music, reading a book, journaling, taking a walk to clear your head, or watching your favorite t.v. series are all ways of taking care of yourself. If you don’t have 30 minutes, consider setting a time to meditate for a brief few minutes every day. We can’t be productive for others if we are unable to care for ourselves. Self-care is real and it is important.

Learn How to Communicate Better

It’s important to learn how to talk about what you’re feeling. The more you talk about your feelings and emotions, the easier it is to identify what could be causing them. It can be frustrating for friends and family who are trying to help you if you are unable to explain what you’re going through.