Improve Your Mental Health With These 4 Tips
What are the causes of depression?
How can we reconnect with happiness?
Want to feel happier? Today, many people are open about suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems. However, we don’t often hear about the real reasons for these afflictions, nor the potential cures required to improve your mental health.
In our latest podcast episode #21 Let’s Get Happy by Ride the Vibes, we loosely cover points made in the book Lost Connections by Johann Hari. He reveals nine reasons why people feel depressed and ways to feel happier.
This blog will cover a few of those reasons, but if you want to know the other reasons that won’t be covered in this blog, they are: childhood trauma, disconnection from status and respect, meaningful values, and the real role of genes.
Disconnection from Meaningful Work
Are you happy with your job? Many polls like this one conducted by Gallup, show that more than half of the population is dissatisfied with their work and their bosses.
The better question might be, why? Part of it is having control over the work you are doing. People tend to feel happier when they have some level of autonomy over what they are doing and believe what they are doing has a positive impact on other humans or the world—hence having meaning.
If you feel like you have no control over your job or feel like it doesn’t reflect your personal values, it might very well be a source of anxiety or depression in your life.
How to be Happier
You can start by taking an honest self-assessment. Are you happy with your work? If not, maybe it is time to set some goals and improve your mental health. How much money do you really need to make each month? What do you really want to do? Why are you afraid to change jobs?
We are happier with jobs that align with our own values and our own goals. A job you accept just to make more money probably won’t make you happier unless your goal is to save more money for a specific purpose. If you have some level of control over your work and it benefits other people or the world, it will be more likely to bring you meaning.
Disconnection from Other People
This one is a no-brainer in a world where people spend more time on their smartphones than they do interacting with other people. Having a healthy social life and being a part of active communities are critical to mental health, and yet, we live in a very individualistic society where we are told that “only we can help ourselves,” “you create your own success,” and so on.
In short, there is just so much pressure to get rich, to become successful, to compare ourselves to others, to always push for more, and all the while, we are supposed to remain happy. How?
How to be Happier
Having a community and defining your own goals and your own versions of success are important to restoring your mental health. Having a supportive community with whatever you do, whether that be learning a language, creating art, or trying to educate yourself, etc., is important. It’s hard to accomplish anything without people who support you and help you along the way.
The other tip to define what you want. If you want to be the strongest person in the gym, you will need to spend a disproportionate amount of your life working out, and you will always be comparing yourself to other people. Figure out exactly what you want to get from your daily activities and set your own personal goals to improve your mental health. This will make them a lot less stressful. Comparing yourself to others and their goals is usually a recipe to feel more miserable.
Disconnection from Natural World
As the world has become more industrialized and more technological, our connections to the natural world have become severed. Most of us have jobs that have nothing to do with the natural world, and we often live in giant cities where there is more concrete than wood.
All of us need to have some sort of connection to the natural world. Some of us need more nature than others, but separating ourselves entirely from nature is a surefire way to increase your anxiety and depression.
How to be Happier
This can be hard, especially if you really love the outdoors. Try to build some outdoor time into your schedule. If you are lucky enough to live near nature, take a morning or evening walk. If not, spend some time on the weekend on the beach or on the trail.
Get houseplants. It is a nice and easy way to insert more green into your home life without having to travel. You can also pick up a natural hobby. Learning to fish, hike, swim, and so on can be a good way to get away from the distraction of your computer and the city.
Disconnection from a Hopeful or Secure Future
My final reason for poor mental health is not believing your future is something worth living for. Maybe you hate your job, maybe you are sinking in debt, or maybe you just have no idea what to do with your life.
A lot of young people feel this way. They have student loans, graduate, then enter a poor job market. For some people, being able to pay the bills and attaining basic sustenance isn’t certain. These problems lead to financial stress and a lack of identity since we don’t feel like we have the power to improve or change our lives.
How to be Happier
This is probably the hardest reconnection to make. After all, there is an element of luck in how wealthy your family is, how educated they are, and how you grow up.
That said, relieving people of money-related stress is one big way to restore mental balance. When you are able to save money and cover your living expenses, there is a huge weight taken off your back.
I would personally recommend learning about personal finance, gaining new skills, and changing your job if need be. Forming better financial habits as soon as possible will give you better options for the future, leaving you less likely to feel as though you are stuck in debt, a bad job, or in poverty.
Hopefully, this blog has offered you some valuable insights. If you feel depressed or have anxiety, don’t hide it. Get help and start trying to fix it. Everyone deserves a chance to be happier, and if we work together to tackle mental health issues, it might be possible.
If you feel like time is a stressor in your life, read our blog on how to boost productivity improve your mental health now.
1. affliction (n.)
Def. a cause of persistent pain or distress
Ex. This affliction will likely cause him to lose many of his memories.
2. poll (n.)
Def. the casting or recording of the votes of a body of persons
Ex. We took a poll to see how satisfied people were with the president.
3. autonomy (n.)
Def. self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
Ex. Countries prefer to have autonomy rather than be ruled by another country.
4. self-assessment (n.)
Def. the act or process of analyzing and evaluating oneself or one’s actions
Ex. This self-assessment will help you pick a career.
5. align (v.)
Def. to bring into line or alignment
Ex. You need to align your work and family time better.
6. interact (v.)
Def. to act upon one another
Ex. She is afraid to interact with strangers.
7. disproportionate (adj.)
Def. being out of proportion
Ex. You’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time away lately.
8. concrete (n.)
Def. relating to or made of concrete
Ex. They built this building with concrete.
9. surefire (adj.)
Def. certain to get successful or expected results
Ex. Being too loud is a surefire way to make other people dislike you.
10. debt (n.)
Def. a state of being under obligation to pay or repay someone or something in return for something received
Ex. This student loan debt never seems to go away.
11. sustenance (n.)
Def. means of support, maintenance, or subsistence: living
Ex. Most people refuse to eat insects unless they need to for basic sustenance.