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Mental Health

Feeling Gloomy? Try These 7 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Semester

Mental health disorders are very common, especially among college students.  Statistics say that 1 in every 5 college students have depression or anxiety.  Even if you do not fall into that category, it is always a good idea to practice things that will improve your overall mental health.  Here are some good practices to regain some control and get you through the semester

1. Keep a “mental health” journal

I know what you’re thinking… “I’m too old for a journal!” Well, you’re not. Keeping a mental health journal isn’t as juvenile as it may sound.Writing daily, or even just weekly in a journal can have positive effects on your overall mental health.

It’s easy, too! When you take the time to do it, just write down any events that happened since the last entry and write down your thoughts about them. The challenge is, write down only positive thoughts on the event.This puts a positive spin on bad events and helps you to think about things in a different way. It’s called positive psychology. An example would be if you lost your keys… You would write down in your journal that you lost your keys, but a perfect stranger returned them to you! You probably felt panicked, mad and scared that you wouldn’t find them. Instead of writing all of those negative feelings you had about it, write how overjoyed you were that the stranger found them and how relieved and happy you felt when they were returned. Writing like this works for anything that is going on in your life- big or small, plus after a few months, it’s fun to go back and reread entries. Try it out!

2. Improve your social life

I know, easier said than done, right?  If you’re like me, it may be hard to put yourself out there and meet new people or do new things, but it is a good idea.  Surrounding yourself with more things to do can help to give yourself a feeling of fulfillment, improving your overall mental health as well.  Typically, people tend to engage in rumination when they are alone, which is why being a social butterfly can sometimes be beneficial.   

3. Limit your time on social media

It seems like everybody goes on social media when they are bored and need something to do to waste time. Although it may seem like a good way to pass time, it may not be helping your mental health at all. There’s nothing wrong with spending a little time on social media each day, but too much time can actually be detrimental to your mental health. If too much time is spent on social media, you can begin to compare yourself to others, which could lead to lower self-esteem and higher anxiety and depression. Spending too much time on social media can also reduce productivity, decreasing happiness.

4. Take time out for yourself

In all the hustle and bustle of classes, clubs and extracurriculars, it’s easy to really forget about yourself. It is vital that you take at least a little bit of time out of each day just for yourself, even if it is just 10 minutes to paint your fingernails or take a hot bath with that bath bomb you’ve been saving for two years for the right time to use. It is important to take care of yourself- you’ll be happier overall!

5. Create something beautiful

Making a neat craft or piece of artwork can increase mental health… Who knew? Everybody loves watching all those cool artsy DIY videos, but does anybody ever follow through and actually make them? Well now is the time. Creating something, no matter how simple, can help give yourself an instant sense of productivity and contentment. Yes, writing papers and taking exams is very productive, but they are being evaluated by your professors. Making something for yourself is only going to be evaluated by yourself, so go crazy!

6. Compliment yourself, compliment others

Stop being so negative about yourself. Do you have a bad habit of saying negative things about yourself? If you do, try this… Every time you or someone else catches you saying anything negative about yourself, negate it by complimenting yourself! Eventually you will have totally changed your way of thinking and you will find yourself complimenting yourself. Take it one step further and try to compliment one new person each day. It will make them feel good and it will make you feel even better!

7. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone

If you are feeling particularly down for longer than a few weeks at a time, or especially anxious over little things, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. It is always a good idea to open up to family or friends, but there is only so much they can do to help you feel better. There is a lot of stigma from society towards people who talk to therapists or counselors, but there is no shame! It’s better to get help than to not feel yourself. If you are a college student, check out your campuses health center or counseling services… Many times, services are free on campus!


Statistic found from http://theconversation.com/1-in-5-college-students-have-anxiety-or-depre...


Image: https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--VZ1bMwiJ--/c_scale,...

My name is Adrienne Crist and I am a junior psychology and art major at Clarion University. In the future, I aspire to be an Art Therapist to make a difference in the lives of many people.
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