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Take Charge and Improve Your Mental Health in 6 Simple Steps

When you want to improve your physical health, it’s a pretty straightforward process—you exercise and adjust your diet. You can lift weights, take supplements, optimize your fitness routine, and draw from a wealth of scientific knowledge to fully optimize your body. When you put in the work, you will see results in the form of bigger muscles or a more desirable physique.

But for most of us, it’s not so clear how to improve your mental health—or why it even changes so much over time. We struggle with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that seemingly come from nowhere, and when we do take action to make positive changes, it’s hard to measure progress.

The good news is that improving your mental health is possible, no matter your background or past experiences, and no matter your age.

This simple guide to improving your mental fitness can help you get started on what will be a rewarding, lifelong journey. Keep in mind, your approach to managing your mental health can and should evolve as you learn more about what works for you. It’s always best to seek an assortment of management and prevention practices to add to your toolkit.

Let’s discuss what can cause changes in mental health as we age. We’ll also give you some simple steps you can take toward a happier, more resilient inner world.

What Does Mental Health Mean?

Mental health encompasses your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. While a lot of people tend to use the term as a way to indicate the absence of a mental illness, mental health means so much more than this.

“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

While good mental health helps individuals enjoy their lives, poor mental health creates roadblocks that can deter one from living their life to the fullest. Poor mental health can manifest in the following ways:

  • Depression (feeling sad, lonely, guilty, worthless, etc.)
  • Anxiety (paranoia, worry, stress, etc.)
  • Rapid shifts in mood
  • Social withdrawal

Why Is Mental Health Important?

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It affects our potential in achieving fulfillment and enjoying our lives.

Prolonged moments of sadness, worry, and stress can alter the way we approach our day-to-day activities. Not to mention, these continuing feelings can lead to physical health problems.

Here are a few key reasons why mental health is vital to your wellbeing:

  • Mental and physical health are interconnected. For example, those with depressive symptoms have a 64 percent greater chance of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). When the body experiences depression, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, which reduces blood flow to the heart. Similarly, older adults living with debilitating physical health conditions, like heart disease, generally have higher rates of depression than healthy people.
  • Mental health affects how you handle stress. When stress overtakes the body, it generally has a more difficult time returning to a normal state. This can lead to depression and anxiety. A good mental state can enable you to adopt healthy coping methods to get you through stressful moments.
  • Mental health affects how you make choices. Poor mental health can drive people to engage in unhealthy behaviors (e.g., poor diet, greater alcohol/tobacco consumption, sedentary lifestyle, etc.). Moreover, suffering from mental health conditions like anxiety can cause a disruption in the prefrontal cortex, which can make decision-making more difficult.
  • Mental health affects your relationships. Mental health conditions don’t just affect you—they also affect those around you. When you don’t feel like yourself, this can make connecting with others (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) difficult.

What Can Cause Mental Health Changes?

Mental health can change over time. There will always be factors beyond our control that may affect our emotional, psychological, and social well-being for better or worse.

Consider the following factors:

  • Economic pressures: Financial strains cause a lot of stress that can wear you out emotionally and physically.
  • Adverse life experiences: Traumatic events (witnessing violence, child abuse, sexual assault, etc.) can create a stress response that may cause various physical and mental symptoms.
  • Life changes: Moving to a new city, retiring, losing a loved one, and taking care of a sick child or parent can bring a lot of changes into your life, which can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed.
  • Biological factors: A family history of mental health conditions can put you at higher risk for experiencing mental health issues.
  • Health conditions: As discussed earlier,chronic illnesses can make you feel weak and unable to withstand the pressures life brings. This rapid change can harm your mental health.

Aging and Mental Health

Physical and life changes are inevitable as we age. Our bodies may not be as strong as they used to be, and we may begin to lose loved ones. These shifts and events can bring on unwanted feelings of loneliness and sadness. The important thing is to acknowledge your emotions and take steps to address them.

Unfortunately, poor mental health conditions like depression are often overlooked among older adults. The reason is these conditions tend to occur simultaneously with other health conditions. Five to seven percent of the world’s older population experience depression, and 3.8 percent experience anxiety disorders.

As you face unique health and life challenges, it’s important to take adequate measures to stay conscientious of your mental health and do something when you don’t feel right. With good mental fitness, you’ll have more fuel to live your life the way youwant to and realize your full potential.

Can You Improve Your Mental Health?

Yes! Just like you’re able to strengthen your muscles and memory with good daily habits, the same goes for your mental health.

The key is to be consistent and patient with yourself. Progress isn’t linear—there will always be setbacks, but rest assured, there are ways to get back on your feet and keep moving forward. And the good news is we’ve got a few simple ways to get you started on the right foot.

6 Simple Steps to Strengthen Your Mental Health

Here are six steps to improve your mental fitness. Since each person’s mental health experience is different, we encourage you to customize each tip to help you look after yourself in the best way possible.

1. Talk About or Write Out Your Feelings

Expressing our emotions has often been seen as a sign of weakness, but keep in mind, invalidating and suppressing feelings can become toxic to your mental health over time.

Repressed feelings don’t just disappear—they build up. This can cause you to feel overwhelmed, so it’s crucial to acknowledge these emotions by talking to someone you trust. Just having someone listen can be comforting, and opening up can help you create space for healthier emotions.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone yet, start by writing your thoughts down in a journal. Journaling can be a great way to let out and explore your feelings. Don’t think too hard about it—just write down whatever comes to your mind and what’s bothering you.

2. Get Moving

Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and other negative feelings. This is all thanks to endorphins.

When you work out, your body releases endorphins—neurochemicals that act as natural pain and stress relievers. This boosts your mood and helps you feel good. Research also illustrates the positive impact exercise can have on depressive symptoms and anxious behavior.

If you’re someone who doesn’t exercise very often, start small and work your way up. For example, begin by walking around your neighborhood for 15 minutes. When you feel comfortable enough, increase this duration to 30 minutes.

If you feel like you can do more, go for it! Whether that means picking up the pace and going for a jog or a moderate hike, do what makes you feel good.

3. Eat Nutritious Foods

Never forget—you are what you eat. What you consume affects your body, and this includes your brain.

The brain and nervous system rely on nutrition to function properly, so be sure to nourish them by boosting your diet with the following:

  • Complex carbohydrates: Carbs help fuel the natural development of serotonin in our bodies. But before you reach for that good-looking piece of thick, Texas toast, it’s essential to consume the righttype of carbs to win these benefits. In other words, opt for complex carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Lean protein: Choose chicken, fish, eggs, soybeans, nuts, and seeds. These foods contain fatty acids, which play a vital role in promoting cell membrane health and initiating communication between brain cells.
  • Vegetables and fruits: Research illustrates a high intake of fruits and vegetables can fuel “higher levels of optimism” and self-efficacy and decrease psychological distress.

4. Take Breaks

Be easy on yourself. If there are moments when you feel overwhelmed or feel it’s especially difficult to get certain tasks done, take a break by engaging in activities like:

  • Breathing exercises: Try the 4-7-8 breathing method. This simple but powerful technique can bring your heart rate down and foster a sense of calm.

Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and exhale through your mouth. Then:

  1. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose, counting to four.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  3. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for a count of eight.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 as needed.
  • Reading: Take your mind off of your worries by indulging in a book. Research shows reading can minimize stress by roughly 70 percent and is more effective than having a cup of tea or listening to music. Also, reading makes your brain stronger, which might help reduce your risk of developing dementia.
  • Cooking: Creating something healthy and delicious for yourself is a great way to practice some self-love. Using our recommended foods above, put together a nice meal for yourself and loved ones.

The important thing is that you do something that makes youfeel good and a little bit more like yourself again.

5. Do Service for Someone

Taking time to give back to others can help you feel good. Altruism has been linked to mental and physical well-being. Research also illustrates people who give money to a charity activate their “pleasure centers” in the brain. Additionally, helping and being kind to others is a great way to build your self-esteem and stay connected to a community.

6. Incorporate Supplements into Your Diet

Last but not least, incorporate supplements into your diet. Supplements can ensure you’re nurturing your body and mind with the nutrients they deserve, helping to maintain your overall mental well-being.

Keep in mind, everyone’s bodies and circumstances are different, so we recommend speaking with your doctor before taking these supplements.

GABA Supplements

GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid that’s produced naturally in the brain. Its primary role is to minimize the number of neurons in your brain and central nervous system, which balances out your mood.

Incorporating GABA supplements into your diet can help you better manage stress and anxiety and gain a healthy night’s sleep.


L-Tryptophan is another amino acid, which the body converts into serotonin—a hormone that stabilizes our mood (it’s often called the happy chemical).

Taking L-Tryptophan supplements can promote:

  • Normal circadian rhythms
  • Healthy sleep patterns
  • Healthy serotonin levels
  • Mood balance

Organic Ashwagandha

Classified as an adaptogen, organic Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb. You can take this supplement to help your body manage stress and provide brain support you may be lacking.


L-Theanine is an amino acid that’s commonly found in green and black tea and certain types of mushrooms. Known to reduce stress and anxiety, L-Theanine supplements can help you navigate through trying circumstances with a bit more ease.

Take Charge of Your Mental Health with Superior Labs

Remember, you are a work in progress, so be easy on yourself as you take steps to improve andmaintain your mental health. The good news is, you don’t have to endure this journey alone. You can lean on Superior Labs to help you get through the changes life brings. Be sure to add our supplements to your cart today.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. Stephanie Nishek, ND, for accuracy. See her credentials in her bio.