Friday, August 5, 2022

Your Mental Health and 5 Stranger Things to Improve It


Your Mental Health and 5 Stranger Things to Improve It

Do you often feel blue, as if there is nothing that brings you joy? Being sad and anxious is normal as soon as there is a reason behind the emotion. Defining what breeds the ground for this feeling allows you to dive into your inner self better and understand what needs to be changed. But if you are constantly feeling like in a rabbit hole of worry, be sure your mental health requires some special attention. 

Mental disorders may take many forms such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and many others, that affect both physical and emotional well-being. The WHO reports that in 2020, the estimation shows a 26% and 28% outgrowth of the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression related to the pandemic. According to Mental Health America, the equivalent of 50 million adults is affected by mental illness. 

Though some risk factors depend on genetics and social environment, adopted emotional skills and healthy behaviors give the potential for prevention and improvement. Following the basic principles of a healthy lifestyle such as restful sleep, sports activities, yoga, nutritional-reach food, getting social support, meditation, and many others will help you to take care of your emotional and physical well-being.

But let’s look into some unusual ways for wellness promotion that you would not probably think about in the first place.

Be a Nature-Meditative Explorer

Breathing exercises are not working for you and making you even more nervous? Here is a simple alternative for nature lovers.

According to a new study by the Boston University School of Public Health, increasing green space in cities helps to recover from stress and encourages socializing with friends. But don’t miss a chance to enjoy a solo walk. It can open your eyes to many new recreating experiences to shift attention and thus give your mind some room for rest from the busy daily thoughts. Many have discovered the art of such meditation without even knowing it. The key idea is to activate your sense organs. You can observe one aspect in detail, or notice all of them.

Here are some ideas you can adapt to different places:

  • Spy on nature creatures and objects, such as birds flying, ants doing their job, or leaves falling.
  • Close your eyes and feel the senses on your skin like the sunlight, the breeze, or the rain.
  • Study the clouds and make associations with what they look like.
  • Feel the smells around you and try to guess them.
  • Listen to the sounds, whether of birds singing, water flowing, or wind blowing.
  • Set a goal to find a certain color, shape, kind of trees, flowers, or animals. 

Luckily, we do not need a USB port to connect with nature. Just be creative and scan for different experiences to find what responds to you best. 

Do Regular Head-Keeping

Does it often look like you are doing nothing, but at the same time you are constantly absorbed in thoughts? Try separating them from yourself to have a look at what is filling your mind. 

The 2019 research published on PubMed Central reported the benefits of expressive writing in terms of stress reduction. Previous studies declare that it improves the treatment of depression as well as many other physical health conditions including asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, etc.

Do Regular Head-Keeping

Journaling is easy as all you need is just a pen, a paper, and at least 10 minutes. It’s not only about keeping a diary of your thoughts and life experiences. You can direct your attention to highlight the necessary aspect of your life to gain some deep insights. So, what these topics can be?

  • Write the story of your life in a daily or weekly diary.
  • List the things you are grateful for today or throughout your lifetime.
  • Describe your big dreams and small wishes, and the steps you can take to achieve them.
  • Outline all to-dos you have done through a certain period, even if it’s about cleaning your teeth daily.
  • Celebrate your strength and the biggest achievements of your life. 
  • Take out all your negative perceptions and write the opposite to them.
  • Try freewriting, let out all your thoughts without previously reviewing them.
  • Track your habits and describe the impact they make on you.

Luckily there will be no one to check your grammar and spelling. Just keep writing and listen to your inner voice on your journey to self-discovery. 

Become a Songbird 

A 2017 study suggests that singing in low-stress performance situations decreases the amount of cortisol. Other studies show that it is useful for breathing, better posture, and muscle relaxation and acts as an additional pain reliever due to released β-endorphin. Singing is especially therapeutic in a group as it activates the pleasure endorphins and the dopamine way in addition to expanding our social connections. It’s an effective and accessible way, indeed, to relieve stress and color your daily routine.

So how do we introduce this therapy into our lives?

  • Let your voice out to the pleasing acoustic environment of your bathroom.
  • Travel in a car with your radio on or invite a friend for a “Carpool Karaoke”.
  • Inspire your children to sing with you.
  • Get a private lesson to improve your skills.
  • Join a group or a choir nearby.
  •  Get a karaoke application on your phone.
  • Attend music festivals and concerts.

So, train your vocals regularly and do not let anyone embrace you. Even if it appears that your voice is worse than your problems 

Start your herbal discovery

Is there anything we can learn from the experience of our ancestors? The answer is “yes” as many remedies are extracted from plants. 

Recent research shows that herbal meds are getting more attention and widespread use for treating various diseases. Though most of them have been known for thousands of years the healing properties they hold are still studied by scientists. 

Here are some popular approaches to healing your mind and body with the help of natural extracts: 

  • Herbal teas are highly appreciated for their sedative effects though it usually takes from 2 to 4 weeks for effects to be seen. Valerian is known for improving sleep quality. Components of chamomile produce a calming effect. Ginkgo is widely used to prevent memory loss and acts as an antioxidant. Other popular ingredients of such teas are lemon balm, hops, and passionflower.
  • Essential oils show an anxiety-reducing effect as they support the production of serotonin. Lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood are known for researched-backed results showing improvement in depressive symptoms. Ylang-ylang and rose perform a relaxing effect. Oils can be scented, dispersed into the air, added to a bath, applied to a body, or used during an aromatherapy massage, which was proved to be even more effective than inhalation.
  • Spices are another delicious way to boost your brain. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamon contain components that improve memory and sleep and cease stress. Turmeric is recognized for its anti-oxidant impact. The compounds of sage nourish your cognitive functions like attention and learning.
  • Cannabinoids are historically known for relieving chronic pain. In addition, in a 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics, the use of medical marijuana was validated as an effective treatment for a wide spectrum of anxiety disorders. Other research outline positive impacts such as lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation as well as many other physical disorders. It goes without saying, the treatment has to be approved by a specialist for qualified cases whom you can address on

These methods are not a cure-all, and they should be taken with caution to side effects and risks. However, many herbs are a great alternative to traditional medicine If you take into account their proven effectiveness and safety issues.

Try Old-Fashioned Breaks

Are you addicted to in-bed social media surfing? Roughly 70% of people do the same. Moreover, as a result of the pandemic, lots of us increased our usage of virtual resources for communication, pleasure, and work life. Though widespread “gadgetization” and social media interactions benefit people in many ways there are lots of challenges connected with this phenomenon. According to a study from Jama Psychiatry, people who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media are at higher risk for mental health problems. 

Try Old-Fashioned Breaks

The main negative side-effects are:

According to the University of Bath study, a week-long social media break leads to vital improvements in people’s well-being, depression, and anxiety. Though it’s not so easy to refuse this guilty pleasure we can still try to limit the time to 2 - 3 hours per day with long breaks in between.

Here are some ideas of alternatives to go “analog” during your digital detox: 

  • Meet your friends, visit your parents or spend time with your children jumping on a bed.
  • Play sports outdoors, go jogging, ride a bicycle, or have a walk.
  • Get a massage or a beauty procedure.
  • Read a book or a journal.  
  • Enjoy the meal without staring at your phone.
  •  Relax with painting, knitting, embroidering, or any other hobby that you sympathize with.
  • Attend a master class you have always put off for tomorrow. 
  • Visit a theater or any other form of modern performance. 

Though with all the technologies incorporated into our life, we are already considered cyborgs, there are still lots of things to do in the real world. 

Tips to Consider

It is not rocket science. Taking care of your health just needs some enthusiasm and consistency. Positive change often happens slowly, and it might seem it’s not happening at all. Schedule an hour of regular time for yourself every day rather than a complete day off once a week doing everything at once. 

Here are some easy suggestions to keep you going all the way:

  • Pick one or a couple of habits at a time, it’s rather hard to incorporate new practices all at once.
  • Share your intentions with your friends, and ask them to take some mild control over how things are going. At least, you will feel ashamed to tell them you gave up.
  • Promise yourself a present if you are consistent over a certain period.
  • Write a list of reasons why you are doing this and address it every time you feel low motivation.

So, get inspired to make the first steps. Once your practice turns into a habit you will reap the fruits of the results that won’t be far behind.

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