Your mental health is a major component to the quality of your interactions with others. The healthier you are, the more rewarding your relationships will be.
Whether you are single, casually dating, in a serious relationship, married, separated or divorced, it is important to be there for yourself instead of relying on anyone else as your main support.
Regardless of your relationship status and relationship goals, there are simple, yet valuable practices you can adapt into your daily life to increase energy, well-being, and life satisfaction. Cultivating more health and happiness from within will naturally bring you more rewarding experiences in love and intimacy.
Below are ten strategies to boost your mood and enhance your emotional health:
1. Confront your negative self-talk (“I’m not worthy, I’m not lovable, I’m ugly”) with compassion for yourself. Challenge these negative beliefs (they only feel true if YOU believe them) with empathy and a non-judgmental attitude while focusing on your strengths and accomplishments. For an added health bonus, spread compassion to others.
2. Create a daily mindfulness practice to help decrease stress and increase calm. In the morning and throughout your day, take a pause to focus on your breathing and welcome any feelings, thoughts, or sensations without judgment. While taking deep breaths in and out, allow thoughts, feelings and sensations to come and go while bringing yourself back to the moment. This practice is incredibly grounding and is accessible to you regardless of where you are.
3. Get involved. Whether you are giving back to the community, beginning a new creative project, joining a book club or volunteering with shelter animals, having a sense of belonging in a community increases positive feelings and is helpful in developing healthy relationships. Bonus: If you are single, community involvement may be the means to meeting a partner with a similar passion or hobby.
4. Embrace life with a grateful approach. Research portrays numerous health benefits to gratitude and there are many ways you can include gratitude in your life. Some examples include; beginning and ending your day by thinking about or writing three things that you are grateful for, keeping a daily gratitude journal or writing a thank you note to someone inspiring or helpful.
5. Exercise and get some fresh air. Expose yourself to sunlight and maintain regular physical activity to lift your mood, beat the blues and diminish anxiety. Bonus: Feeling good about your body and getting in better shape makes you a more confident and attractive date and partner.
6. Ensure that you are getting adequate sleep and rest. If you tend to have trouble sleeping, it is helpful to develop a sleep routine and bedtime rituals that promote calmness and relaxation. Examples include reading, writing in a journal or taking a bath.
7. Proceed with caution about binging on alcohol and food. Instead, engage in healthy eating habits and be in control of alcohol intake. Focus on eating nutritious food and limiting alcohol and other drugs as they are harmful in maintaining long-term mental and physical health.
8. Get creative and use your artistic abilities. Before you say, “I don’t have any,” understand that we all have creative parts to us. Take pictures of nature and other scenes that catch your eye, draw with markers or crayons on paper, make a collage or scrapbook. You can start by adding color to your home, office or wardrobe if the idea of “making art” is intimidating. As always, leave the judgment behind.
9. Clear out clutter. Feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff commonly leads to higher stress and less productivity. Carve in some time to give away clothing that does not fit, recycle unneeded paper and clean out social media and email folders. Bonus: Giving away clothing and other items to those in need is another mood boost.
10. Keep a positive mindset about dating, love and relationships. Intentionally let go of past bad breakups, horrible dates and visualize what you want in terms of dating and relationships. Imagine meeting someone special, embracing the present and leaving the past behind you, while learning from it, of course. If you are in a relationship, make sure your expectations are realistic, be accountable for your part and create the future you want through your actions, words and choices in the present.
On a final note, many of us walk around feeling happy “enough” or find it difficult to make changes to feel happier. If this sounds like you, I understand that you may feel unmotivated to use these strategies. However, I am confident that if you intentionally practice and combine these strategies in your daily life, your level of well-being, health and happiness will reach new heights. In turn, the health of your relationships will expand in the most gratifying ways. Sometimes we do not know how happy and healthy we can be until we are.
What is your favorite mood booster?
About the Author:
Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach, specializing in psychotherapy for individuals and couples via her private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Rachel’s areas of expertise include relationships, self-esteem, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and stress management. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!