Mental health is incredibly important to your well-being. It refers to your psychological, emotional, and social well-being. While certain things are out of your control, you can use self-help tools to help you improve your overall mental health.
By building a reservoir of self-help tools, you can positively affect your mental health. While each person will benefit from different tools, you can learn unique tools that help you. As a working professional, these tools can help you to manage stress and improve your effectiveness in your work.
What Is Self-Help?
Also called self-improvement, self-help is a self-guided improvement method. Self-help can include many topics, including mental and physical health. Commonly it involves utilizing information that has been taught by mental health providers previously to you or that is publically available.
Self-help has become more popular in the past few years. For many working professionals, self-help can include techniques that help improve mental health and their ability to be effective in their work.
How Self-Help Effects Mental Health
Mental health is impacted by how you live your life. Exercise, nutrition, and other aspects of lifestyle all play a role in how you feel. Self-help is a way for you to participate in your growth. Researchers have found that those who participate in treating their mental health issues are more successful in improving them.
While you may not feel like you have the skills needed to improve mental health, you do have the ability to make changes in your life. As you learn what you can do to help your mental health, you can build confidence by practicing self-improvement techniques. The change you make will be unique to your needs.
However, the act of making changes that are aimed at helping yourself will make you more committed to your well-being. When you are told what to do and how to do it, you might be less committed to the changes. However, when you participate in coming up with what changes you want to make and how to do so, you will feel more dedicated to them, believing in the changes you want to make.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to function. Anxiety treatment options include therapeutic modalities, medication, and self-help tools. While medication and different types of therapies are very helpful, self-improvement methods are also helpful.
Self-help skills for anxiety will vary for each person. However, working professionals with anxiety can benefit from improving schedules, sleep, and other health habits.
Along with anxiety, depression is a very common mental health disorder. Depression impacts your mood. While each individual’s experience of depression will vary, it can include symptoms like changes in sleep, energy, and self-esteem. Treatment options for depression include medication, multiple different types of therapy, and self-help tools.
Through self-improvement techniques, you can learn what habits will impact your depression. Getting professional help will provide you with the tools that you need to do so. You can impact depression symptoms by improving exercise, diet, and habits for dealing with stress.
Link Between Mental Health and Addiction
Mental health issues and addiction commonly occur together. When an individual struggles with both a mental health disorder and addiction, it is called a dual diagnosis.
Mental health disorders and substance abuse come with symptoms that may present differently depending on the person. However, the combination of the two often results in sudden behavioral changes, substance abuse regardless of the consequences, and the use of substances to function.
While a dual diagnosis is not something that can be treated directly, you can recover. Getting help from a mental health professional is vital. Working with a trusted provider can help you to address your history and current symptoms. Then, a treatment plan can be created, and you can receive the support you need to get relief and heal.
Self-help tools can help you on the road to healing. However, professional help is essential. By working with a mental health professional, you can learn what tools you need to build to maintain mental health and wellness.
Many tools can help you to create improvements in your life. Self-help tools are ways that you can make these changes. There is a wide range of methods and tools available, and many peer support groups include self-improvement tools.
Each person’s path will be different. As a working professional, you can choose what tools are helpful for you to improve your mental health. However, it is common for working professionals to be impacted by stress, diet, exercise, and sleep. Therefore, learning how to make improvements in these areas can help you to improve your overall mental health.
In your busy life as a working professional, you likely spend a lot of time thinking about what is happening in the future or what has happened in the past. Mindfulness, however, is the skill of noticing what is happening now. While being mindful, you will pay attention to many aspects of the present. This includes how you feel physically and emotionally, what is happening in your environment, and more.
Observing the present without judgment is considered mindful. This means that you not only notice what is occurring now, but you also notice how you feel about it. In doing so, you can be present with the environment, yourself, and your judgments about both.
Mindfulness can be used in daily tasks, meditation, or movement practices. The variety of options allows you to utilize it when it is most helpful in your life. Regardless of the type of mindfulness you practice, researchers have found it effective in improving mental health. This research shows that mindfulness can improve depression and anxiety symptoms. By learning to be present, you are less like to be hijacked by the thoughts involved in depression or anxiety, helping yourself to stay in the moment without getting pulled into painful memories or concerns about the future.
Deep breathing is incorporated into many mindfulness and stress-reduction activities. Deep breathing has many similar benefits to mindfulness and is a method of staying present with yourself in the moment.
However, deep breathing also helps to reduce stress physiologically. You have likely heard the phrase, “calm down and take a breath.” This is because breathing can help you to calm down. It is a method that helps shift the body out of fight or flight, calming your nervous system by simply taking a deep breath.
As a working professional, you are likely to experience a certain amount of work-related stress. While stress is a very normal and healthy response, continued stress does decrease mental health and impact those with a dual diagnosis. Learning to incorporate deep breathing as a self-help tool can help you to lower stress levels. It can also help you to manage cravings and triggers when in a stressful environment.
Diet and Exercise
Your exercise and dietary habits play a big role in your mental health. It is important to incorporate healthy habits that include regular exercise and a healthy diet. Researchers have found that both diet and exercise play a crucial role in the maintenance of mental health. Whether you are struggling with a mental health disorder or dual diagnosis, improving your diet and exercise will help.
While there are many fad diet and exercise routines available, the most important aspects of healthy diet and exercise habits include the following:
- Eating less processed food when possible
- Incorporating healthy proteins into your regular diet
- Eating a balance of fruits and vegetables
- Getting regular exercise
- Incorporating some strength training
- Finding exercise you enjoy so that you do it consistently
Many self-help methods can help you to learn and incorporate healthy diet and exercise routines. Whether these are new or old habits, you can make small changes that, over time, add up to a new lifestyle.
As a working professional, you likely spend somewhere between four to nine hours a night sleeping. The amount and type of sleep you get are very relevant to your mental health. Improving sleep quality and quantity will directly impact how you feel, your ability to cope with stress, and your overall mental health.
Improving sleep can feel challenging. While you can lay in bed telling yourself to go to sleep, it doesn’t mean your body will do so. However, there is another way. The body is on a 24-hour clock called the circadian rhythm. Getting your body on a good schedule will result in your body feeling sleepy and being able to fall asleep more consistently. There are multiple ways to improve your circadian rhythm, including the following:
- Getting sunlight within the first hour of waking up
- Stoping your blue light (phone or computer light) exposure one to two hours before you would like to fall asleep
- Getting regular exercise
- Doing a destressing activity before heading off to bed, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or stretching
Improving your sleep will help you to feel better mentally and physically. While there are many professionals who can aid in this field, you can also work on making changes to your schedule that help you to get more and better sleep.
Learning Self-Help Tools That Can Help You
Self-help tools exist in multiple fields. As a working professional, you have likely heard of many self-help tools for efficiency, scheduling, and more. While they do not take the place of professional help, they can help you to make many changes that will benefit your mental health.
Ways to learn methods of self-improvement will vary depending on the topic. However, the foundation for self-help methods is learned in therapy. As you work through challenges with a mental health professional, you will improve your ability to help yourself as well. Working with a professional improves your self-awareness and helps you to build new tools and methods to manage different feelings and situations.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Self-Help Tools
One therapy that is particularly helpful in learning self-help tools is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a therapeutic modality that helps you to decrease mental health symptoms. It includes methods that help to increase awareness of thoughts, feelings, and actions. Then, CBT helps you to examine these patterns. The goal is to shine a light on patterns that are problematic, helping you to disprove and dissect them in order to make changes.
By increasing awareness and examining the patterns, you create an opening. This opening helps you to change. Self-help is, at the core, a method that is aimed at you learning to make changes for your benefit. The tools that are taught in CBT help you to do so.
Self-Help Cannot Replace Professional Help
Self-help tools can greatly improve mental health overall. Utilizing self-help to make changes to your lifestyle, health habits, and norms can help you to feel better. Many self-help tools have a direct result in improving mental health. Practicing and integrating these into your life will help you feel better and be more effective as a working professional.
However, mental health disorders and dual diagnoses are serious conditions. While it will vary for each individual, professional help is often needed to find relief. Professional help cannot be replaced by self-help, but they can work together. Many skills you will learn from a professional will be helpful in order to make self-improvements after treatment. However, it starts with getting the help you need. Building a proper foundation for your mental health and taking these tools into your life will help you build the life that you deserve.
Taking care of your needs and helping yourself to improve helps your mental health. Many self-help tools exist, but finding the ones that are a good fit for you is essential. In most cases, making changes to improve your mental health often starts with treatment. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we offer mental health and addiction treatment for working professionals. We teach our clients the tools they need to recover successfully. This includes a foundation that can help you continue to self-improve as you move forward into recovery. If you are struggling with mental health issues or addiction, we can help. Call us today at (949) 426-7962 to learn more.