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4 Creative Ways to Get a Mental Health Boost When You Need It Most

Updated on December 7, 2016

Stress, anxiety, and depression are pervasive in today’s society. From worries about money to marriage strife, the challenges of raising children, difficult co-workers, traffic jams, and more, it seems there are stressors coming from every angle. It’s so common that many people have resigned themselves to the idea that being constantly stressed and aggravated is just a way of life, but you don’t have to live this way. Here are a few unique ways to get a mental health boost when you need it most.

Volunteer to Help People in Need

Doing something generous for someone else can provide a tremendous mental health boost not only for the recipient, but for you as well. Studies show that volunteers benefit from lower levels of depression and improved overall well-being. There are endless ways to volunteer your time and energy or donate to a worthy cause, so it’s easy to find a charitable effort that touches your soul in a unique way.

If you find that there are no efforts in your local area working toward a charitable goal you have in mind, start your own initiative. Organize a charity run, plan a fundraising event, or coordinate the efforts of your local community to bring some good into the world.

Be Kind to Your Partner

While getting involved in charitable work is incredibly beneficial for your mental health, you can also get a boost just by being kind to your partner. According to Live Science, “couples with children who reported high levels of generosity with one another were more satisfied in their marriages and more likely to report high levels of sexual satisfaction.”

What’s more, working toward a strong, healthy committed relationship is a valuable mental health booster, with studies indicating that people in the early stages of new relationships often experience a drop in depression and a short-term boost in overall happiness. In addition to being kind and giving to your partner, you can get the same effect by being a nicer person at work. It’s true: According to a study published by the American Review of Public Administration in 2013, people who make helping others in the workplace a priority report higher levels of overall life happiness even 30 years later.

Organize Your Environment

It probably sounds counter-intuitive, but organizing the environments that you live and work in can offer a tremendous mental health boost. Research shows that a cluttered office, family room, or other space can make it difficult to focus and impact your ability to process information. Set a day (or two) aside and get organized. Donate your gently used, no longer needed items to charity. You may even consider hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service to help you keep things in order.

Getting organized and donating things you no longer need gives you feel-good vibes from doing something to help someone in need. If you donate items to an organization like the Salvation Army, you can get a receipt to deduct the value of your donated goods from your taxable income, saving you some money at tax time. Plus, there’s something really satisfying about turning a messy, cluttered space into a well-organized masterpiece.

Let the Creative Juices Flow

Now that you have a de-cluttered space, your creativity will flow, which also provides mental health benefits. CNN reports that creative pursuits have positive effects ranging from reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease to relaxing and stress-relieving effects similar to that of meditation. So, if meditating isn’t your thing, try another creative endeavor such as painting, playing the piano, knitting, sketching, or journaling.

The reason these types of creative activities can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is that they keep the mind active and engaged in problem-solving and critical thinking, which have the added bonus of distracting you from the stressors of daily life and providing a productive, positive outlet for the negative energy produced by stress.

These simple activities are easy to implement and in some cases, require little to no planning. It doesn’t take much to think of something nice to do to make your partner’s or co-worker’s day go a little more smoothly, and you can de-clutter some spaces in a short time. Instead of struggling with down mental health days, implement one of these simple strategies to give yourself a boost.

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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 12 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      These are great ideas for reducing stress and giving yourself a mental health boost. There is something about helping other people that makes us feel better about ourselves. I also like the creativity option. When I am involved in creative endeavors, my feelings of self-worth definitely increase!