When it comes to mental illnesses, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure for sure. A mental disorder can quickly spiral out of control and destroy entire lives. Also many mental disorders are difficult or impossible to treat, which is why it is important to try and prevent mental disorders.
A WHO report states that it is possible to prevent mental disorders by addressing issues such as work, housing, childcare and education among others. There are a lot of things that may be out of our control, but there is much that we as individuals can also do to keep good mental health and keep disease at bay.
1. Keep good physical health
There is a lot of research that points to the negative impact of poor physical health on mental health. There is also a lot of evidence to show that exercise can keep mental illness at bay for longer and that eating healthy is good not only for the body but also for the mind.
2. Challenge your brain
If your job doesn’t challenge your mind or you are retired keep your mind active by doing crosswords, puzzles, playing chess, etc. Learn a new language, train in a new skill, pick up a challenging hobby; keep your mind engaged and keep alive your problem solving abilities.
3. Learn anger management
Anger can be corrosive to health and your relationships. So learn effective anger management strategies to negate the consequence of this corrosive emotion.
4. Control and lower stress
Stress is bad for health: it contributes to heart disease and hypertension and increases risk of stroke, obesity and diabetes. It doesn’t do very much for your wellbeing either, so prioritize, delegate and make the requisite changes in life to lower stress.
5. Nurture relationships
Research has shown us that those who are in stable, long term relationships live longer, healthier lives. So work on and nurture important relationships.
6. Take time out for fun and leisure
Take time out to do stuff that you enjoy. Travel, laugh, be with friends, play, and do all that makes you happy.
7. Work on self esteem
Poor self esteem is known to have a close association with poor mental health and is known to be associated with problems such as eating disorders, social withdrawal, and isolation and so on.
8. Think positive
Think positive and don’t take things too seriously. Looking at the glass as half full and not half empty is a matter of perspective. So look on the bright side of things and try not to let life get you down too much by focusing on the larger picture.
9. Sleep well
Sleep deprivation is another known risk factor that can negatively impact physical and mental health. So prioritize sleep and get that rest!
10. Remember there is no shame in getting help
If things seem overwhelming and you find yourself losing your grip, get help. There is no shame in speaking to a therapist; it is only in the interests of your health and the wellbeing of those around you.