Mental health is a difficult and complex topic due to the different causes and experiences of mental health problems.
Different people have different needs, but developing healthy habits can help you maintain or improve your mental health. Here are some professional tips to help Utah State University students relieve and manage the symptoms of mental health problems.
Exercise is one of the most common recommendations for improving mental health. Some studies have shown that not only does it help you stay fit, but regular exercise reduces stress, improves sleep, and reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Angela Johnson, a USU student majoring in outdoor recreation therapy, uses exercise and outdoor activities to deal with stress from school and other responsibilities. “This is the way for me,” Johnson said. “It helps me stay away from stressful things.” She also said that going out and exercising helps her to be happier and more productive.
Whether you’re walking on campus or snowboarding, daily physical activity is an effective way to build confidence and improve your mental health.
Limit screen time, especially on social media
With the advent of smartphones, the screen is almost always in front of you. According to a recent Nielsen survey, American adults talk to the media for more than 11 hours a day. Social media makes it easier to connect with friends and family, but it can affect a user’s mental health.
A study at the University of Pennsylvania tracked 143 college students and their mental health status. One group of students limited their use of social media to 30 minutes a day, while the other group used it normally. After three weeks, the group that restricted the use of social media showed a significant reduction in loneliness and depression.
As a result, the researchers in this study recommend setting a 30-minute daily social media usage limit. Self-monitoring of screen times is also thought to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Many smartphones have built-in or downloadable apps that help you track app usage, making it easier to monitor social media usage and screen times.
Find the activity you like
Nicole Fleming, a computer engineering student, discovered that art helped to cope with high school stress when she began sculpting. Since joining USU, he has begun painting to stay sane. “It needs a level of focus that just helped me forget what’s really causing stress,” he said.
Painting may not be your favorite hobby, but finding a hobby to pursue outside of school is important. Whether playing the guitar or playing board games with friends, these activities help calm your brain after a busy day and focus on other things in your life.
Watch what you eat
When you’re feeling down or restless, you can easily supplement your lunch with highly processed foods. However, studies show that people are better off eating a healthy diet, both mentally and physically.
In a Harvard Medical School blog post, Dr. Eva Selhab argued that what we eat affects our brain and how it works. She said research has shown that a diet rich in raw fruits, vegetables, fish and grains can help regulate our body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin helps us regulate our sleep schedule, mood, and more. This improved regulation will bring better physical and mental health.
Take the time to be careful
Mindfulness is a common mental health technique that has become more popular in recent years. According to John Kabat-Zin, director of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, mindfulness is “attention in a certain way, intentionally, in the moment, and without judgement.” Mindfulness is one of the basic principles of meditation and yoga.
Jessica Spack man, senior technical communications specialist at USU, found that practicing yoga several times a week helped improve her mental health. “I tend to worry and notice the difference between days and weeks when I do yoga and when I take my time,” she said.
Resources for yoga and meditation are easy to find online. For example, Spackman uses YouTube for self-practice yoga, as does the popular Yoga with Adriene channel.
Meditation apps like Calm and Headspace are also popular and include treatments that last from 1 minute to 1 hour. Many of these apps offer free trials, and Headspace offers an annual student plan for $9.99.
In addition, many free resources are summarized on the biofeedback page of the USU Counseling and Services website.