Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health in College

dallas college students talking

Staying healthy in mind, body, and spirit is crucial for being your best self. Mental health is discussed more openly than ever, but it remains a concern for college students. As you plan your semester, follow these tips for maintaining good mental health. Your overall wellness will benefit greatly.

The Importance of Good Mental Health in College

What Does Mental Health Mean?

Mental health refers to the way you feel, think, and behave, both internally and externally. When you're taking care of your mental health, you have the energy and perseverance necessary to make it through daily life and special events, both the ups and downs.

Why Mental Wellness is Key in College

College students should be invested in good mental health as much or more than older adults. Historically, research has shown that college students' demand for mental health counseling increased by 40% between 2009 and 2015. Since 2020, between 60%-75% of college students report at least one mental health-related problem. It's not hard to see why. As a college student, you face a unique set of demands and challenges. Academically, you take on a rigorous workload while planning for your future career goals. Socially, you're living in a new space with new people. Emotionally, you may be far from trusted loved ones and your typical support system. While these changes are exciting, they can quickly become overwhelming.

Struggles with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders are some of the most common mental health concerns for young adults. Studies show that students who ignore mental health concerns or who don't feel supported in addressing their mental wellness are at higher risk of dropping out of school. If you leave mental health concerns unchecked, you'll likely struggle to maintain your grades, employment, and extracurricular obligations. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prioritize your mental wellness.

Tips to Maintain Mental Health

Good mental health tips should always include a reminder that avoiding negative feelings or attitudes is not the goal. Rather than learning how to eliminate these obstacles, tips to improve mental health should focus on dealing with and working through them.

Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness

Each piece of your wellness is connected, so taking care of your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs will, in turn, support your mental health. Create an exercise routine that fits into your busy schedule, making you less likely to skip a session. Working out at the DBU Fitness Center is one of the most convenient options. Prioritize time with friends and family alongside your attendance at Chapel, Bible study, and church. Be proactive and address any obstacles early on. Meet with your DBU Academic Advisor if you're struggling with courses, reach out to mentors for spiritual advice, or book a personal training session if you need a new workout routine.

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health

Maintaining your mental health takes awareness, patience, and planning. Here are several ways to incorporate self-care into your routine to help you hone these skills and improve your mental health.

  • Start a daily journal to note your events and feelings throughout the day. You'll become more aware of any patterns you should address.
  • Set and maintain boundaries with your free time and learn to say no to new obligations that interfere.
  • Go to bed at a consistent time to ensure adequate sleep; put alarms on your phone to help you stick with this goal.
  • Plan a purposeful time for fun! It's easy to fill your entire schedule with studying or required activities, so be proactive and include slots for hobbies or weekly campus social events. Also, include watching something funny and inviting a friend!
  • Begin and end each day with prayer and other quiet activities to ease your mind.
  • Practice gratitude. Find one thing to be grateful for each day. A posture of gratitude helps put things into perspective and helps us remember correctly.
  • Create a positive, uplifting praise and worship playlist to help you redirect your thoughts during those difficult moments.
  • Remember God's truth. When we find ways to remember what God has done and will do, we are more likely to seek help. If we struggle to remember God's truth, ask a trusted person to help point things out. Consider finding ways to remember God's truth each day, whether through a picture on a wall, scripture written out, or writing on a stone something God is showing you.

Outside Resources and Professionals

Sometimes, your own dedication and techniques are not quite enough to help you feel in control of your mental health. Whether you need additional help for a season or a lifetime, reaching out to others for counsel and assistance is a sign of maturity and commitment to your own well-being. Many resources and professionals in the community can help you develop a plan for your mental wellness and work through any obstacles. Church mentors and leaders, residence hall advisors, and trusted faculty are all great options for support. Speaking with your family doctor, staff at the DBU Counseling Center, or an outside therapist can also help you identify the best next steps in your journey toward wellness.

Taking care of your mental health takes perseverance, but it's just as important as physical health for your overall wellness. Invest the time in maintaining your mental health to succeed in your college journey and throughout life.

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

Explore More

male engineer working on an engineering project with coworker How DBU Prepares Students for Careers in Engineering

Dallas Baptist University’s Associate of Engineering program provides the foundational knowledge for a career in the fast-growing engineering industry.

college student trying to study at a table in Dallas, Texas 7 Strategies for College Students to Prevent Procrastination

Procrastination is a common difficulty for college students. These seven strategies can help you decrease the habit of putting things off.

college students meeting in a coffee house in Dallas having a conversation with a book on the table Six Leadership Strategies for College Students

Dallas Baptist University students have multiple leadership activities available. Here are six ways they can develop their leadership skills.