Mental health issues have been on a rapid rise in recent years.
However, many of the people who are in need of mental health aid are not able to access it. There are many factors that cause this problem such as a lack of counselors in remote areas and expensive counselors that many people cannot afford.
According to research published by the Australian Medical Association, mental health and psychiatric care in Australia are grossly underfunded when compared to physical health. This prevents mental health services from reaching everyone in need.
The good news is that a counselor isn’t the only path to mental health wellbeing. Here are five ways to help you improve your mental health and regain balance in your life.
1. Commit to regular physical exercise
Your body and your brain are connected and imbalance in one leads to discord in the other.
While most people shut down when going through psychological issues, exercising can help them heal more quickly.
When you are working out, your body releases endorphins; mood-boosting and stress relieving hormones. These hormones are a powerful weapon against stress, anxiety and many other psychological problems.
For maximum benefit, shoot for exercise sessions of at least 30 minutes every day.
2. Open up to a friend
Trusting another person with our darkest secrets is usually very hard, but is a necessary first step towards moving on from a traumatic experience.
Opening up is the key factor behind group counseling, which is usually used by counselors to help people going through traumatic experiences. Sharing helps you relieve some of the burden off your shoulders. It also allows other people to share their experiences with you so that you don’t feel like you are the only one undergoing a stressful experience.
Sharing can be painful, but it’s what you’ll have to do to get past stress and trauma.
3. Go outside
While it’s easy to hold back and stay indoors when you are under stress, visiting nature has been proven to be the perfect cure against stress and other mental problems.
Recent studies show that spending at least ninety minutes in the outdoors decreases brain activity in a region of the brain called the subgenual prefrontal cortex. This region of the brain is active whenever we are pondering negative thoughts, which means that a decline in its activity has a positive effect on our mental health.
In addition, many psychologists advise that you spend time walking in a peaceful place in nature as opposed to a crowded and busy area. The added activity in a busy place such as a city heightens anxiety, meaning that it may increase the symptoms of our mental issues.
4. Educate yourself
In this internet age, it is impossible to find a field with no content written about it online.
If visiting a counselor is not a viable solution in your current state or if you prefer to do things yourself, then you should get acquainted with reading materials in the area of mental health. There are many resources to help you with that including books, online courses, and lectures. However, blogs from reputable mental health professionals are the way to go when you are just getting started or are not yet ready to read hundreds of pages on a single topic.
Psychology blogs from licensed professionals are available online, and they offer quality guides on how you can improve your mental wellbeing yourself.
5. Practice meditation
Meditation can be mistaken for time wastage by many people who don’t understand it. In fact, meditation often involves sitting and doing nothing for a period of time and it has been proven to be good for our brains and mental wellbeing.
Recent studies into meditation have shown that meditation alters the brain by decreasing neural activity in the regions of the brain associated with stressful or painful information.
This means that clearing our minds through meditation may be the best tool for prevention of mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression.