Mental health is an important component to your overall health and well-being. Many don't realize, but mental health is something you can contentiously work on.

When you’re having a bad day, there are things you can do to help pick yourself up. Try these ideas below:

Get active

Studies have shown that exercise eases symptoms of depression and anxiety. The feel-good endorphins and chemicals released during physical activity can improve your mood.

Focusing on a workout gives your brain a break from negative thoughts and other stressors, and works off some of that anxious energy and racing brain.

In addition, exercise can also improve your self-esteem and mood, and even boost your energy levels.

Connecting or disconnecting

Talking to loved ones is an instant mood booster, so calling up a pal or doing a video chat is a great way to lift your spirits and feel that much needed connection.  

Disconnecting is just as important. Make an effort to stay off your screens and electronics and be in the moment. Even disconnecting from social media for a short time and choosing to do a different activity like reading or enjoying a hobby gives you time to recharge and reflect.

Just breathe

It’s easy to overlook something that comes so naturally, but our breath can have a direct impact on our mood and mental state. When we’re relaxed our breathing is slow and deep, and when we’re stressed it’s short and shallow.

Meditation promotes diaphragmatic breathing. This means breathing deeply so that your diaphragm caves in when you inhale and when your lungs are full of air and you exhale, the diaphragm expands, pushing the air out.

According to this study, meditation can help ease anxiety and mental stress. It can help manage negative emotions such as stress, calm your mind and relax you – which are important for your overall health.  

Take a couple minutes, or use a guided meditation app to help you focus on your breathing and see what kind of effect it has on the rest of your body.

Getting back to the basics

When your mental health isn’t at its peak, it’s even more important to be mindful about what you’re putting into your body.

In some cases, staying away from stimulants (like caffeine and processed sugars) and depressants (like alcohol) can help your body regulate easier and help you relax enough to get proper rest.

Staying hydrated will also help your body and brain function and keep you from reaching for those stimulants.

If you have symptoms that won’t go away, or you have thoughts of self-harm, talk to your doctor and seek help.