Mental health has become a serious concern in recent years, with worldwide depression and mental illness rates climbing. Mental health is a vital component of a happy and healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be neglected or forgotten. Here are some affordable (if not free) ways to stay on top of your mental health, so you don’t fall victim to one or more mental health conditions.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is a great (and cost-effective) way to monitor your feelings and habits. It also acts as a way for your mind to unwind and express itself in complete privacy. Journaling has been an effective way for millions of people to manage their mental health, and it can be as simple as writing one sentence each morning.
Whether you choose to write one sentence or several pages, the bottom line is that you’re writing. Write what you’re feeling, and be honest with yourself, even if you’re ashamed of those feelings. It’s better to write them down, face them, and make peace with them, than to keep them locked away in your mind where they compound and grow.
Journals are affordable (as long as you don’t need a leather-bound notebook) and can be as simple as a dollar-store notebook. With a cost of less than $5 and incredible benefits, journaling is one of the best cost-effective ways to stay on top of your mental health.
Online Forums & Chat Rooms
There are plenty of websites that deal with mental health, and online chats and forums exist to provide a community of resources and people to confide in. The best part is that you’ll be completely anonymous if you don’t use your real name; so none of your inner-most feelings or fears will be used against you or discovered by loved ones.
Many of these mental health forums are completely free to join, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out cash just to get support. Try sites like Beyond Blue and join a community of thousands looking to make improvements in the areas of mental health and wellness.
Diet & Exercise
It’s no surprise that diet and exercise would be on this list; in fact, diet has actually been linked to an improvement in overall mental health, and exercise is simply the best thing you can do for your mind and body. Staying active and eating right has numerous benefits, not the least of which is improving and maintaining mental health.
When you eat right, you’re providing your mind and body with the proper nutrition to function at max capacity. When you eat large amounts of sugars, fats, and carbs, you’re actually slowing things down and making it more difficult for important organs like the brain to get the nutrition it needs. On top of all this, a sedentary lifestyle can actually help increase the risk of conditions like depression, so exercise is a must as well. Both exercise and diet are cost-effective!
Something you can do for your mental health that’s absolutely free is to set goals for yourself. A bored mind isn’t a healthy mind, so you’ll want to keep yourself active with challenges. Set short and long-term goals to keep yourself busy and to achieve a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
With goals in place, you won’t feel stuck. This feeling can actually cause depression to arise, as feeling like your life isn’t headed anywhere or has no meaning can have a serious impact on mental health. Do something great with your time here, and keep yourself busy!
Surround Yourself With Good People
Last, but absolutely not least, is surrounding yourself with quality people. The people in your life will have an enormous impact on your overall mental health, and if you’re surrounded by anger, sadness, regret, and other negative emotions, it only makes sense that you might begin to feel the same way. Negative or unhappy people often have a way of spreading their unhappiness (ever hear term “misery loves company”?) and all of that negative emotion can begin to seep into your everyday life.
If you have friends and family that aren’t supportive of your goals and aspirations, are constantly putting you down, or generally make you miserable, it’s time to take a closer look at who you spend your time with. There’s a saying that goes, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Who do you spend the most time with? Are you happy with being the average of those five?
Make no mistake; who you include in your life will determine your overall happiness. Surround yourself with supportive, healthy, happy people, and you’ll find that your mental health and your life in general benefit from a better attitude.