Many, many factors contribute to an individual’s overall mental health. Issues from childhood can play a part. Heredity is often in play. Traumas experienced as an adult can reshape a person’s mental landscape. All in all, mental health is a quite complex topic that largely resists efforts to simplify it or explain it easily. That, of course, is among the reasons a trained and compassionate therapist is often a necessary part of the process of bolstering one’s mental health.
That said, there are several factors that can contribute to mental well-being that you can control to one degree or another. At first glance, these factors may not seem directly related to mental wellness, but each can have a significant impact. As a result, they are worth exploring in some detail.
Be Sober – Sobriety and Mental Health Go Hand In Hand
Substance use disorders and mental health disorders can have a kind of chicken-and-egg relationship to one another. Did you develop a substance use disorder because you were already struggling with a mental health disorder and drugs or alcohol became a way to self-medicate? Did you develop a mental health disorder because you already had a substance use disorder and it steadily chipped away at your mental wellness? Are the two disorders so completely intertwined that it is impossible to separate them in any meaningful way?
Whichever of those situations you might find yourself in, the bottom line is the same: If you want to improve your mental health, you need to be sober. And if you are not sober, it is time to get yourself into treatment to change that.
Be Resilient – You Are Going to Need Bouncebackability
We all experience setbacks from time to time. Sometimes they are small and annoying. Other times they are huge and devastating. Frequently, our setbacks are somewhere in between those two extremes.
Resiliency is the trait that helps us brush off a setback and keep moving forward. It is an essential tool for making and maintaining gains in mental well-being. And that bouncebackability can be built up over time. Among the various ways to increase your levels of resilience are:
- Eating a varied and healthy diet
- Getting enough exercise
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Getting out into the natural world
- Spending time with friends and family
- Taking up an engrossing hobby
- Listening to music or engaging with other forms of art
Any and all of those things can underpin your resiliency and thereby undergird your mental health. Notably, each is likely to support your physical health as well.
Be Present – Don’t Get Stuck in the Past or the Future
In a certain sense, all of us are time travelers. And as most books, movies, and shows about time travel teach us, spending time somewhere other than the present can be deeply problematic. For those of us who don’t have an actual time machine, our method of time travel takes the form of ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.
Spending too much of our time replaying the past—especially when we tend to replay our mistakes and regrets over and over—takes a toll on our mental health. So too does spending significant amounts of time worrying about the future—especially if we have a tendency to worry about things over which we have little or no control.
The alternative to all of this internal time travel is to stay present in the current moment (present in the present, if you will). We can learn to do this more often and more effectively via practices like mindfulness meditation and yoga. Learning to help our wandering minds let go of rumination and worry can go a long way toward improving our mental health.
Be Assured That Peak View Behavioral Health Can Help
Peak View Behavioral Health offers personalized mental health treatment grounded in expertise, compassion, and experience. If you are struggling with anxiety, trauma, depression, or another mental health disorder, we can help you effectively address the issue and move forward.
Additionally, if you are in the grips of a substance use disorder, Peak View offers medically supervised detox services and a robust rehab program that can help you regain and maintain your sobriety. As we noted above, sobriety and mental health are closely connected, so addressing both is the best path for establishing and building upon a healthy approach to life and its challenges.