When patients experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, their thoughts can seem to spiral out of control. However, with the right support from mental health providers, patients can cultivate a healthy mindset.

Building a healthy mindset is an excellent goal for therapy clients to set. However, to be successful in reaching this goal, clients must be self-motivated toward treatment and recovery.

Here’s a list of effective steps to take in promoting a healthy mindset:

Encourage Eating Healthy Diets

Research shows that a healthy diet can help reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression, and for some, improve the ability to focus [1]. Encouraging some clients to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet may have a significant impact on their well-being.

Protein-rich diets can help individuals feel fuller for longer and can provide energy as they start off their day. Experts also advise eating complex carbohydrates as it is thought to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, which gives a calming effect. It may be helpful to recommend your patients work with a dietician to make improvements to their diet that could help promote a happier outlook.

Set a Good Example by Surrounding Yourself with Positive People

As a therapist or mental health provider, an effective way to help your clients in promoting a healthy mindset is to encourage them to build a strong community. A lot of people learn from what they see. For this reason, it’s imperative that clients working to promote a healthy mindset surround themselves with positive people. Doing so encourages clients, and they know it’s possible to establish meaningful connections with family and friends.

A healthy circle of friends and family can help offset stressors in the lives of clients and help them to feel safe and supported, even outside of sessions.

Motivate Patients to Practice Gratitude

Going through emotionally difficult times can make it easy to lose sight of things that are going right. In positive psychology studies, gratitude is consistently and significantly associated with feelings of happiness. It helps individuals feel more positive emotions, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build better relationships.  Encouraging clients to practice gratitude can help them to build a positive mindset.

Here are some helpful steps to take to improve the habit of gratitude:

  • Start the day by writing down one thing you experienced on the previous day that went well.
  • Take an intentional pause to reflect when experiencing a positive emotion
  • Share feelings of gratitude with others by writing a note to someone you appreciate.

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Help Patients Rediscover their Hobbies

Hobbies can promote better physical health, improve sleep patterns, lower stress, increase happiness, and create social connections [2].

The effort that goes into work-life balance often makes individuals forget what their hobbies are or what they love. For this reason, it’s imperative to encourage clients to schedule time for the hobbies and people they care about. Some clients may need guidance to pick up a hobby. Mental health providers can do this by encouraging clients to pick up a new class or activity until they find one that makes them feel fulfilled.

If your client is finding it difficult to find a hobby, you can encourage them to find an activity that makes them forget about their day. It should be an activity that encourages relaxation and one that can help with the day’s stressors. If the individual had previous hobbies, encourage them to remember them and try them again.

Emphasize the Importance of Reflection

In your mental health practice, it’s imperative to encourage clients to self-reflect. Taking that step is the key to self-awareness, and it allows individuals to look neutrally at their emotions, thoughts, and actions. Self-reflection is an imperative part of anxiety treatment that can result in increased awareness and promote behavior change to cope with disorders.

Let clients know that self-reflection can form an integral part of better decision-making. Since it allows individuals to become more aware of themselves and helps get rid of mental clutter. Self-reflection can also help individuals form better social connections as one’s emotional intelligence grows with self-awareness.

Speak about the Importance of Exercise

Physical well-being is also crucial to promote a healthy mindset. According to a study by Knapen et al., exercise can improve body resilience, quality of life, and body image [3].

Regular exercise can be effective in releasing feel-good endorphins, which ease depression and anxiety. It can also help individuals gain confidence, get more social interaction, and cope with mental health challenges in a healthy way.

Exercise increases heart rate. Research proves that getting one’s heart rate up also changes brain chemistry and increases the availability of imperative anti-anxiety neurochemicals. Examples of these chemicals are serotonin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Use Failure to Encourage Success

Failure is never the end of the road, especially when it involves treatment and recovery. When patients begin to feel bad about themselves, it’s advisable to use that to encourage success. It’s also important that they can do that for themselves with time.

Help patients develop healthy habits to cope with failure by helping them change their thinking patterns. Please encourage them to embrace their emotions, recognize unhealthy attempts to reduce pain, and practice healthy coping skills. Some very healthy coping skills to encourage are physical activity, relaxation, and deep breathing.

Tell Them It’s Okay to Live in the Moment

Certain individuals experience anxiety due to their fear of the future. Even though it’s healthy to think about the future, it’s imperative to balance it up by also living in the moment. This term is called “mindfulness.” Mindfulness is a mental state an individual achieves by focusing on the present moment while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings.

Mindfulness improves both mental well-being and physical health [4]. It’s an effective method of relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and also improving sleep.

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As a mental health provider, it’s always helpful to spend less time on administrative tasks to improve efficiency and organization. ShareNote helps improve community health practice by providing full-featured community health practice management software. The software supports multi-specialty community behavioral health systems to power your practice.

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References

  1. https://extension.usu.edu/nutrition/research/anxiety-and-depression-can-diet-help
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9491140/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25342564/
  4. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2021/06/mindfulness-your-health