There is an old saying that is often evoked to describe the human brain: "use it or lose it." There is some truth to this old saying, as it's been indicated in studies that the more we use our brains the longer they remain sharp and active.
And for those who suffer from mental illness or disorders, certain activities can improve their overall outlook on life and mental capacity. Here are some activities that may improve mental health.
1. Sculpting with clay relieves stress and promotes creativity. It is very satisfying to knead and work the clay, and is a good way to channel negative energy and feelings. Creating something with the clay is a creative outlet that helps channel and focus the mind.
2. Yoga and other contemplative exercises are very helpful for mental health. The body responds physically to the stretching, and the mind responds to the meditative qualities of yoga. Practicing yoga helps you focus and release energies so that your mind will be clearer and calmer.
3. Art therapy is actually a recognized treatment for mental illness. Doing crafts and creating works of art can be very healing and therapeutic. It helps get your thoughts and feelings – which may be a confused and overwhelming jumble – out onto paper, clay, or whatever medium you are using.
4. Regular exercise is important for mental and physical health. Try to get a half an hour of cardiovascular exercise every day, such as walking, biking, or swimming. These activities will also get you out with other people, making new acquaintances and learning new things about people. This kind of interaction builds self-esteem and is good for the mind.
5. Sleep is important for your mental health. Make sure to get enough rest in general, and at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. Lack of sleep have both short and long-term consequences for your mind. And don't begrudge yourself a little leisure time. Letting your mind just "go" during some down time is healthful.
6. Get a pet to look after if you don't already have one (or more). Having a pet gives you a sense of responsibility and provides mental stimulation. If your pet is a dog, you will have to get out and walk him or her, which will help you with exercise and meeting new people.