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Alexander has been contributing for THS for over a year! While he attained a major in communications at SFU, he also recieved a minor in Psychology. Despite those accomplishments, Alex has also never had a full cup of coffee (crazy right?!). Alex is a lifelong sports fan and will defend his Seattle Seahawks to the death, especially if faced against a 49er fan. While Alex's long-term goal is to become a marriage counsellor, he also has a strong passion towards writing that he looks forward to exploring.

3 Ways to Improve and Boost Your Mental Health

{Image Credit: iStock}

“How are you doing?” is a question you might get asked several times a day. It’s possible you might respond with an in-depth answer about how you’re actually doing, but the answer to that question might more often just be a shrug or generic response about how you’re fine. However, as you go through life, it’s only part of being human that you are going to come across challenging moments that leave you feeling very far from fine.

In these difficult and stressful situations, it’s understandable your mental health may be something you find yourself struggling with. But you’re not alone in your struggles — there are support methods available that allow you to take care of your mental well-being.

As we move into the colder seasons, Seasonal Affective Disorder starts to creep in during every holiday and plays on our live in ways we cannot fathom. But to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to continue thriving as an individual, there are ways to make sure you are aware of your mental health to make a profound difference in helping you live your life as a healthy and confident individual.

Reach out to others

In a report by the Canadian Mental Health Association, 14 percent of young people (identified as children or youth under 18) are suffering from issues related to their mental health. Such a statistic makes it abundantly clear that those who suffer from mental health issues are not alone, though they usually feel like it. Which is why one of the most influential things you can do is making sure you are reaching out to those around you. It’s never too late to develop this skill, but learning this as at a young age can have positive ramifications on how they develop as adults. It can be intimidating to reach out to those around you, but it is also a great way to hopefully be reminded of the people in your life who are there to support you.

The CMHA also mentions that upwards of 70 percent of mental illnesses can manifest itself before you turn 18. But the recommendation from the CMHA is that engaging in interpersonal therapy or support groups can be influential in helping make a difference. By interacting with adults who are passionate about helping youth and children in a safe and professional environment, parents can be given the peace of mind that their child is being taken care of.

Reach out to community

{Image Credit: iStock}

Similar to the recommendation for the CMHA to look into group therapy or support groups, is advice to look to your community for assistance. Depending on your area, there is no shortage of programs designed around assisting you with your mental health. It’s stated by the HomelessHub that 30 to 35 percent of people who are homeless are also struggling with mental health issues.

The site identifies three factors behind homelessness: disaffiliation, poverty and personal vulnerability. Which also means that you might find yourself not having a strong support system of people that you know personally. But there are several amazing companies that work tirelessly to help those who are suffering. This includes potential employment and housing agencies, as well as organizations which help tackle other issues like addiction to drugs or alcohol that can be having a negative impact on your life. By being open to receiving help from these amazing places, you will set out on a path that leaves you feeling more optimistic.

Engaging with your community by participating in events being held around your city can also be significant in helping you make the connections you need to start feeling better, as well as being a lot of fun.

Reach out to yourself

The support of those around you and your community can be paramount in making a difference, but you must also not downplay the importance of checking in with yourself. It’s important not only to be aware of the emotions that you feel throughout the day, but that you allow yourself to embrace them. Not all feelings are going to be positive, but if looked at the right way, they can be the building blocks you need.

By doing self-reflection you can hopefully also begin to identify different activities that you might enjoy which can also play a big role in helping improve your sense of self. The next step is then making sure you take the time out of your life to engage with those activities.

One of the best things you can do to gain a stronger sense of yourself is also by engaging in physical activity. This does not necessarily have to be in a gym setting, but spending time exercising has been academically linked to several benefits including an improvement in your sense of confidence, a reduced sense of frustration, and better sleep — all of which will improve your mental health.

* * * * *

As you continue to develop as an individual, it’s going to come along with some difficult moments. But if you are able to take care of your mental health, you are able to try and frame even the most difficult moments as opportunities to learn and better yourself. You don’t have to do this alone though. By utilizing the people around you, your community and through checking in with yourself, you can genuinely say you are taking the steps you need to become a healthier individual. In doing so, you also become a stronger source of support for the people in your life that you care about.

How do you like to take care of your mental health? Share with us in the comments below. 

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