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How can I improve my mental health?

Good mental health is not just the absence of mental health problems or diseases, and strategies to improve mental health can be beneficial for everyone. Mental health is highly correlated with physical health, so it is important to participate in regular exercise, eat nutritious foods, get outdoors, have good sleep habits and avoid toxic substances like tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

Other ways to improve mental health include the following:
  • managing stress with calming activities including meditation
  • improving interpersonal relationships (decrease TV/screen time, spend face-to-face time with people you like, volunteer or join clubs)
  • engaging in meaningful or creative work and leisure activities
It is also important to recognize warning signs of mental health disorders (including depressed mood, excess guilt, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts). If these signs arise, seek treatment.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Here are some things you can do to improve your mental health and lengthen your lifespan:
  • Tell fewer lies! The truth will set you free. Research from the University of Notre Dame found that telling fewer lies -- even little white lies -- is connected to better health. Americans lie an average of 11 times a week. Researchers got a sample of 110 people to stop lying for 10 weeks; they noticed their physical and mental health get significantly better and saw their personal relationships improve.
  • Get some music therapy! Since ancient times, music has been used to heal both the body and soul. Now, multiple research studies have proven the effects of music on both depression and anxiety -- in addition to high blood pressure, Alzheimer's and even cancer. Listening to music, especially slow and calming music, has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. A University of Miami study gave regular, healthy adults music therapy and found lower levels of depression and fatigue after six weeks.
  • Meditate mindfully! Meditation has worked to reduce stress levels for thousands of years, so why wouldn’t it work for you?
Whatever you have to do to keep your spirits up, do it. It may just save your life!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.