Here’s how you can improve your mental health in 2020
A new science study looks at ways of improving mental health as a new decade began in the midst of polarised governments, worldwide safety risks and hate crimes and an environmentally-ridden world, and all the factors that have been under stress.
According to CNN, the following behaviours tend to improve the overall health as the mind and body are entwined.
1- Practice Optimism
Optimists have a 35 per cent less chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke and are more likely to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly’ have stronger immune systems, even live longer. In fact, a survey from 2019 found that people with the most positive outlook had the greatest odds of living till the age of eighty-five or beyond.
Research has shown that the brain can be trained to be more positive. As only about 25 per cent of optimism is programmed by our genes.
“There is research which indicates that optimism can actually be enhanced or nurtured through certain kinds of training,” neuroscientist Richard Davidson said who is the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds.
“When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes the function and the structure of their brain in ways that we think support these kinds of positive qualities. And that may be key in producing the downstream impact on the body,” Richard further added.
The “Best Possible Self” approach is one of the most effective methods of raising confidence according to the meta-analysis from existing studies. It is based on an experiment that calls for people to envision with all future problems solved, and where all life aspirations have been accomplished.
2- Start to Volunteer
Studies have shown that placing others ‘ well-being ahead of ourselves without expectations or altruistic behaviour, stimulates brain reward centres. These good chemicals inject some kind of “helper-high” into the system.
Voluntary work reduces stress and improves depression. The risk of cognitive impairment can be reduced. It can even motivate to live longer.
A new study has found that people who said they would contribute funds to help orphans were less sensitive to an electric shock than those who refused.
3- Being Grateful
One of the best ways to make thankfulness a part of your life, said experts, is to keep a daily journal. Before going to bed, jot down any positive experience of the day, no matter how small.
Middle-schoolers who practised gratitude exercises had less problem behaviour.
One of Davidson’s favourite mindfulness exercises cultivates gratefulness.
Sense of appreciation can broaden to others in your life and bolster optimism and better mental health, he added.
4- Create Social relationships
People who are personally connected to family, friends, and the community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected, said Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.
Instead of making too many mates, friendship consistency counts, which makes one happier and healthier at once.
Waldinger further mentioned that high-conflict marriages without much affection, turn out to be very bad for the health, perhaps worse than getting divorced, and however living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.
5- Find Purpose
The quest for a sense of purpose profoundly helps to make life better and healthier.
Martin Seligman, a psychologist at Pennsylvania University, said that a sense of purpose arises from a greater role. He pointed to religion, family, and social causes as ways to make life more meaningful.
It does not have to be a mainstream religion to be effective.
Lord Richard in his book mentioned that spiritual practices can range from meditation to positive psychology to cognitive therapy.
“If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful, too lonely, you are set up to fail. Instead, you need to feel you exist for something larger, and that very thought takes off some of the pressure,” he added.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)