May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a great time to consider the quality of your mental health and how you might improve it.
And mental health is about more than just treating or preventing mental illness. Just like your physical health depends on more than just not being sick.
It’s about being—and staying—healthy.
And no matter how well you’re doing physically and mentally, there’s always room for improvement.
Read on for 4 simple things you can do to take better care of your mental health, any time, all year round.
Have A Big Belly Laugh
“Laughter is the best medicine” sounds like a cliche, but that’s because it holds true.
A big belly laugh (or even a strong giggle) can cause a dose of endorphins to flood our system. Endorphins literally make us feel better by masking pain.
The best part about laughing to feel better is that it doesn’t even have to be sincere. Fake laughs work just as well!
Note: trying out a big, fake laugh will probably make you feel silly enough to have a real laugh at yourself. So if you need a little pick-me-up, try this out!
Have A Good Cry
Can’t find enough humor in your current situation to muster up a laugh? Go ahead and have a good cry, instead.
Crying when we feel bad helps to release dopamine and endorphins into our bodies, dulling both physical and emotional pain.
But crying can also help us feel more emotionally balanced in general. Whether brought on by intense positive or negative feelings (like a happy surprise or loss of a loved one), crying can help us reach an emotional equilibrium.
Have A Cuddle Session
Is there someone nearby that you can snuggle up to? Pull them into a long, warm embrace.
Physical contact with other people (and animals) triggers the release of oxytocin, a.k.a., the “hugging drug” in our bodies. Oxytocin helps us feel calm, safe, and connected, and even boosts our immune system.
Whether you cozy up to your significant other, an adorable kid, or even your favorite fur baby, a good cuddle session can make you feel better.
Have A Dance Party
This one is a two-fer because it involves both music and moving your body.
Music has all kinds of great benefits for our overall well-being, including triggering the release of oxytocin and dopamine (a.k.a., the reward chemical).
But listening to music can also help lower cortisol, one of the body’s main stress hormones and the chemical responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
When you add dancing to the mix, especially the vigorous, uninhibited, crazy-fun dancing that gets your heart rate up you’re basically exercising. And exercising produces endorphins, a.k.a. the pain killer hormone.
Mental Health & Your Overall Well-Being
You don’t have to wait until the month of May to do any of these activities. In fact, you should practice these all year.
Because your mental health is an important part of your overall well-being. And you want to be healthy all the time.
A healthy mind can help you maintain better physical health, but an unhealthy mind can make it harder.
Fortunately, good mental health happens through a series of small decisions and ordinary moments. If you haven’t been in the habit of caring for your mental health, today’s a great day to start.
A strong support system also plays an important role in your mental health. That support can come from friends, family, mentors, or even professional subject matter experts like therapists or life coaches.
As a life and mindset coach, I help my clients feel better by helping them reach their goals, process their feelings more effectively, and set healthy boundaries with others. I can help you do the same.
Learn more about my coaching packages, and book a free discovery call when you’re ready to get started!