Try these tips to keep your balance healthy mental, or re-balance yourself.*
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.
Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to:
Eat nutritious meals
Avoid smoking and vaping– see Cessation Help
Drink plenty of water
Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods
Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students.
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class or support group.
Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it’s a great way to meet new people. See Fun and Cheap Things to do in Ann Arbor for ideas.
Like it or not, stress is a part of life. Practice good coping skills: Try One-Minute Stress Strategies, do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journal writing as a stress reducer. Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.
Try meditating, Mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy. To get connected, see spiritual resources on Personal Well-being for Students
Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal. Wellness Coaching, free to U-M students, can help you develop goals and stay on track.
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road-trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant. See Rejuvenation 101 for more ideas.
Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems. For more information, see Alcohol and Other Drugs.
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives. See Resources for Stress and Mental Health for campus and community resources.
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:
help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
provide emotional support and allow you to support others
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
raising your self-esteem
helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
helping you to build a sense of purpose
helping you to connect with others
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:
creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
helping you connect with other people
It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.