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6 Physical Activities You Can Do to Improve Your Overall Mental Health

Easing anxiety, relieving depression, sharpening brainpower, increasing self-esteem, improving sleep, and boosting energy: did you know physical exercise had such far-reaching effects? Regular activity is a lifetime investment for your mind, body, and soul. But while exercising is recommended by experts as the best antidote to battle depression and anxiety, there are six other habits you can introduce to improve your mental health.

1) Learn some strategies to deal with stress. One-Minute Stress Strategies such as deep breathing, focused breathing and ideal relaxation are simple and can make a real difference in the way you deal with stress. Other activities such as taking a nature walk, journal writing, or practicing Tai Chi are also recommended by specialists as perfect stress reducers.

2) Break up the monotony. As much as routines are reassuring, they can sometimes hinder creativity and kill inspiration. Plan a trip, embark on a new hobby, try a new restaurant, or join a dance group to break the routine and boost your mood.

3) Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs. Smoking, a wide-spread habit in the Middle East, is not only harmful for your physical health but also increases anxiety and tension, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Quitting can lead to improved physical health, fresher breath, and improved concentration. Experts estimate that within only 12 hours after quitting, the blood carbon monoxide level drops to normal.

4) Get enough sleep. Sleep regulates mental and emotional health, helping you take on challenges with more resilience while keeping the immune system strong. A nap that lasts between 10-20 minutes can give you energy, make you more alert and improve mental performance. It is also important to create a positive sleep environment: Use thick curtains to block out light and try to reduce noise in sleeping hours.

5) Eat nutritious meals and drink plenty of water. Not drinking enough water can impact your brain, producing mental fatigue, mood changes, and a premature aging of the brain. Drinking at least 2 liters of water per day will help regulate mood and emotions and improve concentration, among these seven benefits of drinking water.

6) Exercise. Research has proven that exercising is one of the most effective methods to treat depression. In fact, it is as effective as anti-depressants without the side effects. According to Helpguide, releasing endorphins and increasing your heart rate energizes your spirits and makes you feel good every day.

Did you find these tips helpful? For more useful articles about how to improve your life, visit Challenge 2 Change.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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