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5 lifestyle changes you can make to improve your mental health
Mental Health

5 lifestyle changes you can make to improve your mental health

By Jamie Hardy PharmD, BCPS, MS, Clinical Pharmacist | Methodist University Hospital
Posted: May 27, 2020

Approximately 450 million people currently suffer from mental or neurological disorders worldwide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In the United States alone, 43 million individuals are struggling with mental health illnesses.

To break down the numbers even further — that means one in 25 Americans are living with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. Mental illness can even lead to suicide. 

Our lifestyle greatly affects our mental health. That’s why I'm sharing five changes you can make to clean up your lifestyle and make room for a healthy mental state.

1. Remove clutter

Bringing order and organization to your environment allows you to feel calmer and less anxious — so open those dresser drawers and overstuffed closets that have been screaming for you to clean them out.

Removing clutter also gives you an instant confidence boost as you restore order and even remove unnecessary items. Taming the chaos in your physical space creates harmony that can lead to greater clarity and energy in your life.

2. Get rid of negativity

Rid your life of negative people, places, and things.

If there are people that constantly post negative things on your social media timeline, unfollow them. If the places that you frequent include activities that bring down your feelings and your mood, stop going there.

The negative people must be removed from your life too. You know the people who never have anything nice to say to you or about you! These are the people who criticize everything that you do and are slowly chipping away at your confidence and self-esteem. Tell them goodbye.


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3. Make smart swaps

Start eating more nutrient-dense foods and avoid empty calorie beverage traps. It's wise to avoid sugary beverages and juices and — and instead reach for infused water as our beverage of choice. Another smart swap is using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise in salads, spreads and sandwiches.

This way you get more protein and fewer calories, and less fat.

4. Schedule screenings

Preventive exams are essential to your overall health and wellness. This includes getting your teeth cleaned, eyes examined and a complete physical. Be sure to consult with your health care provider about the recommended age for you to begin receiving an annual mammogram and colonoscopy. Early detection is the goal for all conditions. 

5. Get out in nature

Get outside and get moving. You can invite a friend, neighbor or even make it a family affair.  The point is to get outside and get active.

Walking, jogging or running outside has the added benefit of getting a dose of Vitamin D. It is naturally produced when the sun shines on your skin.

Oh, and simply by exercising, happy hormones or endorphins will be released that will help improve and stabilize your mood. 

Help is available for everyone

If your employer doesn't offer EAP services, the Living Well Network is here to help.

LWN connects people to behavioral health resources, educates people about mental health and advocates for more communication and resources for mental health.

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