Mental health problems can be a serious burden. No matter how strong you are (or how strong you think you are) dealing with mental health problems is often stupendously difficult. Whether you suffer from anxiety, stress, depression or PTSD, there are times when life is going to get rough.
The solution to this problem is developing coping skills. By developing a set of coping mechanisms you’ll be able to deal with even the worst mental health crises says Eric – owner of Anchored Recovery Detox in Orange County, California. For example, here are ten of the best coping skills activities for mental health:
Exercise is by far the greatest coping skill for people with mental health issues. Whether you have anxiety, depression or something more serious, doing exercise which gets your blood pumping is probably the best way to deal with it. There’s a good reason for this.
Most mental health problems are biochemical in nature. What this means is that they are caused by the chemicals in your brain. The best example of this is depression, which is caused by low levels of serotonin. Exercising will alter the chemical balance in your body, feel good chemicals like endorphins are released, and this will help tremendously with your mental health.
2. Deep breathing
Breathing is similar to exercise in that it can help to alter the chemicals inside your head. Throughout the day you should pause and remind yourself to breathe deeply for a few minutes. Doing this will calm and still your mind and distract you from what is going on in your life.
Deep breathing also helps to slow down racing thoughts and is a great way to prevent panic attacks. What you should also do is go outside. Most people don’t realize how poor the air quality is inside their homes. By going outside you will greatly enhance the benefits of this coping mechanism.
3. Long walks
Long walks are an extremely useful tool for people with mental health problems. This tool combines many benefits. It’s a form of exercise which releases good chemicals, it gives you a chance to breathe deeply, and – most importantly – gets you outside. The majority of people spend far too much time indoors, which only exacerbates their mental health problems.
Long walks also give you a great opportunity to think deeply about your life, and can even be seen as a type of therapy. They may help you discover a solution to your issues, uncover their root causes, and come up with new and healthy ways to deal with them.
Speaking of meditation, this is also a fantastic tool for dealing with mental health issues. The biggest benefit of meditation is that it allows you to develop something known as mindfulness. This is basically a skill which allows you to stand apart from your thoughts and what is going on in your head. By doing this you should be able to separate yourself from any mental health crises you are going through, and ultimately reach a point where you can deal with it effortlessly.
Yoga is a great practice to combine with meditation. This ancient discipline has many benefits. Probably the biggest is the fact that yoga helps you relax and brings calmness and balance into your life. Yoga is also a great stretching exercise. This is important because when you’re stressed your muscles tense up. The slow stretching that yoga provides can help you calm down, relax and relieve tension. Ultimately, stretching is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
6. Adult coloring books
There’s a reason why these books were so popular at one stage. This is because they are extremely soothing and are a great way to distract yourself from whatever is bothering you. In fact, researchers have found that these books can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Yes, it may seem childish and immature, but the best thing you can do is give this method a try. Get yourself some pencils and a stack of coloring books. You may be pleasantly surprised at how useful they are.
7. Get enough sleep
Everything feels better in the morning, doesn’t it? This might sound flippant to someone with crippling mental health issues but the fact is that it’s true. There is nothing that a good night’s sleep cannot help with. In fact, you can even think of sleep as a way of rebooting your brain and body.
The opposite is also true. If you’re not getting enough sleep then your mental health issues are only going to get worse. This may finally result in a total inability to cope. The bottom line is that if you’re a person with mental health problems then it’s vitally important that you get enough sleep.
8. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and drugs
No matter whether it’s alcohol, caffeine, or drugs, all of these substances will affect your mood and make your mental health problems worse. The bottom line is that they should be strenuously avoided.
Many people with mental health issues abuse these substances as a form of self-medication. This is an extremely bad idea and something you must never do. If you do have to use these substances – or are addicted to them – then try to do so in moderation (and the best thing you can do is give them up completely)
9. Find someone to talk to
You need to find someone who can help you unburden yourself. Ideally this will be a psychologist or counsellor, but it can also be a good friend. Simply talking to someone for a few minutes can greatly help to relieve whatever issue you are facing, and improve your happiness and satisfaction.
Talking to a professional can help you gain insight into your problems, discover their root cause, and find a way to overcome them.
Anyone who has mental health problems should immediately start a journal. Doing this helps to get negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper. This allows you to relieve them and can provide insights into your problems. Journaling is also a great way to track your symptoms, recognize the things which trigger you, and find better ways to control and relieve them.