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There’s no reason to accept less-than-ideal mental health as the norm. These tips can help.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Stress, anxiety, and sadness don’t have to be a part of everyday life. Many people experience complex emotions throughout their lives, but there’s no reason to ignore those feelings or to try to hide them. If you are experiencing a mental health issue, it’s best to acknowledge it so you can take steps to start feeling your best once again.

Some people feel that stress, anxiety and sadness are just part of everyday life. But they don’t have to be. Many factors affect your mental health – some are under your control, while others are not. What is needed to improve your mental health is different for every person, and may even change for the same person at different times.

Looking for ways to thrive instead of just survive? Here are some healthy habits that may help you reduce stress, lower anxiety and boost your mood:

  1. Express gratitude. Even on days when things may not go your way, there’s always something to be grateful for. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative may give your mood a boost.
  2. Live in the moment. Instead of dwelling on what could have been or what will be, pay attention to what’s currently happening. You’ll be more mindful and will feel a sense of control.
  3. Do things you enjoy. Life may be full of responsibilities, but it’s important to take time each day to do something that brings you joy. Even if you only have a small amount of time, find activities that make you happy and fulfilled and make them a priority.
  4. Connect with others. If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, find ways to connect with others. If you don’t have time for a night on the town, text an old friend or take a walk with your neighbor.

“With everyone more connected than ever through the internet, isolation and loneliness have never been more contagious in our society. Physical interactions and in-person social gatherings can help with many psychological and physical ailments. If you are worried about the effects of loneliness, feel free to discuss this with a provider or one of the many great therapists in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area to problem-solve ways to find more belonging.”

Blake M. Bourgoyne, MD

5. Exercise regularly. Physical activity is a great stress buster and has also been shown to be an effective mood booster.

6. Get enough sleep. Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Feeling well-rested helps you better tackle the challenges of the day so they’re less likely to cause you stress.

7. Get help when you need it. Not every mental health issue can be improved with healthier habits. Sometimes you need the help of a mental health professional. Whether you need talk therapy, medication or another type of treatment, it’s important to get the help you need.

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, do what you need to do to turn things around. You would likely go out of your way to get your loved ones the help they need. Treat yourself the same way and take care of your needs, too – you deserve it!

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Date Last Reviewed: January 18, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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