We are all aware of the importance of taking care of our health, but what many tend to neglect is giving the same amount of attention to their mental health. A day is only made up of 24 hours and if we want to get everything on our plate done, sometimes our own needs have to take the backseat. However, the consequences of this stretch far beyond feeling a little tired at the end of the day. Our bodies are delicate systems where everything is connected in one way or another. Neglect your mental health and you will have a slew of other problems knocking on your door. The first step to avoiding this scenario is understanding all the things that can affect your mental health, both positively and negatively – some of which you might not expect. So, read on to learn about these things.

Your sleep habits

We are constantly told that sleep is important, yet it is always the first thing that we cut when we need just a bit more time for something else. Considering that lack of sleep affects your hormones and metabolism, it shouldn’t be that surprising that it can indeed, interfere with your mental health as well. However, not skipping sleep is not the whole story. You might not notice, but your sleep is also affected by light if your room does not have proper drapes or blinds (let alone if you leave the TV on), and in fact, this problem can also be a precursor for depression. So, going to bed on time and in complete darkness will ensure that you wake up in a good mood!

Dancing and moving

We hear all the time that exercise is important, and many have pointed out that it affects your mental health positively as well. But what if you’re simply not a sports or gym person? The good news is that there is something that produces even better results – dancing. Dancing can not only improve your shape, muscle strength and coordination, it benefits your mental health as well by relaxing you and relieving stress. Just like other forms of physical activity, it prompts your brain to produce those happy hormones that keep depression at bay, with the added bonus of being much more fun. In addition, it has been shown that dancing improves not only your mood but your brain functions and memory as well. All in all, it has everything you need for a healthy mind and body.

Taking care of your gut health

While you might be aware that your mental state can affect the behavior of your gut, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that your gut health can affect your mental health to a great degree as well. In fact, we can even go as far as to say that our gut is the center of our whole organism. But how does it affect your mental health? Experts at Evergreen Doctors say that just like signals from the brain can affect the gut flora, hormones from the gut enter the brain and influence its functions. This goes to reinforce that only with a healthy diet can you expect your mental front to stand strong. Consuming probiotics regularly can, thus, benefit you in more ways than you previously thought.


Before you say “but I don’t have time for another hobby” or “but I have a brown thumb,” hear out all the positive ways in which this activity can affect your mental health. First of all, obviously, you’re going to be spending time outdoors, in nature, which, in itself, is already a huge boost to one’s mood. We are part of nature, even if we have forgotten this fact in today’s modern world, and reconnecting with Mother Nature and spending time surrounded by greenery relaxes us. Hobbies are also great for your mood and growing your own produce gives you an incredible sense of achievement, even if you are clumsy at first. Not to mention that as an added bonus, you will even have healthy food to put on your table. Add to this the fact that soil contains bacteria that have similar effects as antidepressants, and the benefits of gardening are more than obvious.

Ample amount of sunshine

It’s not a coincidence that during winter, seasonal depression seems to sweep the entire world. Shorter days mean less sunlight, and sunlight has positive effects on our psyche in more than one way. Doctors always recommend that you spend a reasonable amount of time outdoors to get ample amounts of vitamin D that will help keep your bones strong and healthy. But that’s not the only role of this vitamin. It also contributes to brain function, among others, and helps the production of serotonin. Vitamin D deficiency can manifest in fatigue and a depressed mood, so it’s essential that you try and get your dose even when the hours the sun is up are shorter. The best thing about this is that all you have to do is go outside – which you’ll have no trouble doing if you take up gardening as suggested earlier.

All in all, there are more factors that affect our mood and mental health than it would be possible to list. Everyone is different and reacts differently to outside stimuli, but some things are universal, and the aforementioned things affect all of us, even if you do not notice. Try to implement these changes and you will see the difference!

Author's Bio: 

Nina is a lifestyle blogger passionate about a healthy lifestyle. She loves reading and sharing inspiring content.