It seems like we’re constantly being reminded about the importance of taking care of our bodies. How we need to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get an annual physical. But what about our psychological and emotional wellbeing? Isn’t caring for our minds just as important?

The fact is, mental health plays a key role in making good decisions, maintaining healthy relationships, managing life’s ups and downs and realizing our fullest potential. The following six strategies from The Dell Center for Therapy should help you make your mental wellness a top priority over the coming year.

Get Moving

There have been countless studies that have linked mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, with living a sedentary lifestyle. If you want to improve your mood, get up and get moving! You don’t have to run a marathon or bench press 200 pounds. Just go for a walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go outside, breathe some fresh air and get those muscles moving. You’ll  be amazed at what a difference it can make.

Get Creative

In addition to getting your body moving, flexing your mental muscles is also important. Research has shown that being creative can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, stress and coping skills while also improving quality of life. When we engage in creative activities, like drawing, cooking, photography and even doing crossword puzzles, our brains release the feel-good chemical dopamine, which is a natural mood enhancer.

Meditate

Meditation has been shown to help alleviate stress, increase focus, boost creativity and improve social activities. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a weekend at some pricey yoga retreat to get the benefits of meditation, either. Oftentimes, all it takes is just 10 minutes of peace and quiet. Not sure where to begin? Try downloading a meditation app and working it into your morning routine.

Practice Gratitude

It may sound simple, but getting into the habit of always being grateful for the little things in life can dramatically shift the way you view the world. Start by thinking about and writing down all of the things you are thankful for. Keep a journal to document every time something happens that you are grateful for. When you find yourself feeling down, go back and read through your entries. Chances are, it’ll have you feeling optimistic again.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” That’s a pretty powerful statement, and if you think about it, Mr. Rohn does make a good point. In this context, the law of averages can have a significant impact on your mental health and quality of life. When you surround yourself with others who have positive attitudes, are uplifting, and who support and inspire you, it’ll naturally elevate your mood.

Ask for Help

Last, but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you’re struggling. Whether you choose to talk with a friend or family member or make an appointment with a trusted therapist, oftentimes the simple act of giving voice to your feelings can help you gain much-needed perspective. Think about it. You’d go to the doctor if you had a physical ailment, right? Treat your mental wellbeing with the same level of importance and you’ll enjoy a much happier, more balanced life as a result.

Need help getting your mental health back on the right track? Contact The Dell Center for Therapy for a session today!