For the last 20-30 years we (in the west) have been obsessed with fitness, looks and appearance. But we don’t really talk much (at least not in the mainstream) about mental strength and mental issues. I know that this is a deep and sometimes scary subject to talk about, but I will be writing about this serious topic from time to time and share my thought and ideas.
I will share with you the 6 thing that I have noticed made a big difference in my life and has helped me improve my mental health. It might not work for you, since everyone is different, but I hope it will at least give you some ideas or a starting point.
OK so let’s not waste time here, let’s jump in to it:
- Unhappiness is normal
I think that temporary sadness, “down” periods, unhappiness and lack of purpose are completely normal. There are scientific studies done that show that throughout the year, we go through different moods and temperaments. They are like a roller-coaster ride (up and dawn).
Don’t discourage yourself when you are felling down, its completely normal and natural. Absolutely everyone on the planet has been there. I usually have a mini downhill session every 3-4 months for about 10-15 days straight. I used to really panic and put extra pressure on myself when this happens, but few years ago I sat down and did some research. I was just curious to see if this state that I’m in is normal? And it turns out that is completely normal.
Disclaimer: If you suffer from clinical depression please seek professional help,
2. Diet is really important
After understanding and excepting that feeling “blue” is completely normal and natural, you need to start improving on yourself and to toughen your mental health.
The first step is the diet. Most people who are feeling down and sad, have very bad diet. What you put inside your body is extremely important. It has a huge effect on your mood, hormones, sugar levels and overall health.
Here are a few quick tips that I use to have a good diet:
- Your diet plan must consist of at least one salad a day.
- Stop drinking fizzy drinks, sodas and energy drinks (it’s poison in a can).
- Drink plenty of water, often (I keep a jug of fresh water next to my work desk, so I can constantly re-full my cup).
- If needed you can buy vitamins and food supplements to get the extra nutrition that you need. I live in England and there is no sun here, so I buy vitamin D tablets and omega 3 fish oil. If your diet or environment is lacking some vitamins get it in a tablet form.
- Cut down on the cake, donuts and sugar. Think about it, is it worth it, to be unhealthy and to feel like shit just for a few minutes of sugary pleasure?
- Baking > Frying. If you can bake a food instead of frying it, do it! It will have a huge difference in the long run to your health.
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise
OK so you excepted that being sad is normal, you changed your diet. Now is time to exercise. Exercising releases dopamine (pleasure hormones) builds confidence, it’s really good for you and makes you look more attractive. Fighting sadness with exercise is a method that helps. Even if you are conscious to go to the gym (like I am) and workout with strange people who spend most of their time in the gym, you can work out at home.Buy a yoga mat, some dumbbells some other equipment, or you can do some research and see what exercises you can do without equipment. But do start exercise 2-3 times a week. It will make a huge difference.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
Now this is going to be the hardest part of them all. You will have to deal with other people for this one. Who you communicate, hang out with, are in a relationship with, has an enormous effect on who you are, who you will become and how your life will turn out.
Have a very tough and honest conversation with yourself and think who are the people who are having a negative effect on you and who are the one’s that have a positive effect on you.. My suggestion to you is to cut off the people who are having a negative effect on you. It may be very difficult to do that, especially if they are very close to you. But in order for you to move forward it needs to be done. I did it myself 7-8 years ago with a couple of friends and it made a huge difference.
5. Diversify your happiness portfolio
In investing and in business there is a saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and “diversify, diversify, diversify”. I use that mentality for happiness and life as well. Why focus all your happiness in only one thing. When you can put 1/10 of it in 10 different places.
Let me explain – if I put all my happiness and dependence in to my career or relationship what happens if that career or business goes down? Or that relationship ends? I will be crushed and I will be completely lost. I think some people actually put all their happiness in one thing. And when that thing goes down or fails, they are completely lost.
So what I have done, and what I advice you to do as well. Is to put 10% of your happiness in to 10 things. Now that doesn’t mean not to care and look after it. Care and do the best you can, but don’t be 100% dependent on it as your source of happiness.
Besides my health (it’s the most important thing to me) I have put my happiness dependency in to – Family, relationships, business, personal growth, hobbies, friendship, comedy, leisure, animals and pop culture.
6. Take time off and relax
And after all of this, don’t forget that life is nothing more than a game, a play that we are all apart of. And at the end it doesn’t matter. So be healthy, play hard, work harder and always find the time to relax and take a break and enjoy your success.
If you took that time off, here is something to watch and read:
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