Various studies show that we are behind eight or more hours a day behind a screen. That means scrolling through Instagram, WhatApp and Facebook for eight hours and on top of that, skipping news websites and batching bingewatches. That is perhaps the reason why so many people want to improve their mental health in 2018. And we may be almost mid-January, with many more days and months to go, this is the perfect long-term project. Sounds better than a year of Netflixing, right?
1. Sleep well enough
Recent research by the World Health Organization shows that two-thirds of adults do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. Nevertheless, a chronic sleep deprivation can lead to mood disorders such as depression and other mental health problems. Therefore, try to ban all evildoers who disturb your sleep from your room. Think of that coffee or tea at bedtime and the blue light of your digital devices.
2. Do not worry about things that have not happened yet
The book ‘The Worry Cure’ by Dr Robert L. Leahy shows that in 85% of cases we are worried about things that never happen and that we actually stress nothing. Nevertheless, chronic stress is associated with a greater chance of clinical depression. In short: you worry less, is the best way to give your mental health a boost. But how do you start now? Therapy is a good option, but not the cheapest at the same time. So try to write down your worries. You immediately feel lighter and afterwards you can retrieve them to evaluate the outcome.
3. Stop dieting
Here you have already discovered why crash diets never work , and whoever tried one before can confirm that you are not exactly happy. It is therefore not surprising that people who accept their bodies, regardless of their body shape, more often have better mental health and a more satisfying sex life (and more orgasms), and are happier their relationship. If you really want or need to lose weight for your health, then follow a balanced diet in which you do not exclude nutrients, but move regularly instead of imposing endless restrictions on yourself that you never endure.
4. Take a hobby
Take this year to learn a new skill, improve a talent or do more of what you like to do. Reading has shown that it improves relationships and reduces depression, writing about emotional events helps to restore and to create something, in any sense, has been proven to help temper negative thoughts and reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Deal with your digital addiction
A digital detox may sound boring, but those eight hours a day you spend on different media do not usually do you much good. Experts in mental health and technology are convinced that Twitter makes us insensitive to gruesome events and that Instagram has a bad influence on your sleep, body image and feelings of fear, depression and loneliness. But unless you live in abandoned shacks in a forest, you probably rely on technology for your social life or work every day. Therefore do not go completely cold turkey but start with a few small steps. Look no longer for example during the meal or an hour before bedtime to your smartphone and build up quietly.
6. Move more
It is undeniable that exercise has a good influence on your mental health, but that does not mean that you have to drag yourself to the fitness every time. For example, yoga helps very well to improve the symptoms of depression and sleep disorders. Swimming, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety. If you really want to challenge yourself, you can register for the Antwerp 10 Miles or the 20 kilometers from Brussels, but do something that you really like.