It’s so easy to slide into bad habits. With work, school, social events, family, your personal mental health can be the last on your long list of priorities. Whether it’s skipping a workout or mind-numbing instead of soul-fueling, these bad habits can drag down your mental health. Just as you would get your eyes checked and your teeth cleaned, your mental health needs maintenance all the same.
1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in any given year. Mental health seems to be a taboo topic in today’s society. People assume those who suffer from mental illnesses are “weak” or “attention seekers”. This blog is going to break through that stigma and reiterate the importance of mental health habits and how they are just as vital as brushing your teeth.
Here are 10 simple ways to improve your mental health in this chaotic, busy world we live in:
- Track your gratitude and achievements in a journal
- Start your day off with a cup of coffee
- Show some love to someone in your life
- Get off the grid
- Plan a getaway
- Try something new
- Hang out with your furry friend
- Practice forgiveness
- Enjoy a mindless activity
- Take time to meditate
Implementing these things in your everyday life can be painless but easier said than done with a full schedule. Starting these healthy habits can lead to reduced stress and give you the confidence to keep hustling toward your goals.
1. Track Your Gratitude and Achievements in a Journal
Every night before you go to bed, write down three things you are grateful for. You can start with the basics, family members, significant others, and every night you will find more and more things in your life and discover things you never thought of as a blessing.
Refocusing your mind on positive aspects before bedtime can be beneficial towards a good night’s sleep. This gives your mind a break from the everyday demands and allows you to focus on the good in your life.
2. Start Your Day Off With a Cup of Coffee
Coffee consumption is linked to lower rates of depression. Weird, right? I love a warm cup of coffee in the morning with my favorite creamer to get my day going, and the caffeine boost doesn’t hurt. If you can’t do the caffeine, try another go-to, good-for-you drink like green tea.
3. Show Some Love To Someone In Your Life
You’ve been told giving is always better than receiving. It turns out that’s true. According to two small studies, the pleasure we get from giving or doing things for others lasts longer than the pleasure we get from receiving them.
So leave a little note to brighten someone’s day, come home with flowers, tell your loved ones why you love them, share the love and embrace the positive vibes.
4. Get Off The Grid
Technology seems to run our lives. Email, calls, texts, social media, the list goes on. Take a break from all the tweets and tones and head out for a long walk in the fresh air. Unplug yourself for 30 minutes, with no updates or distractions. Breath in the air and take a moment to slow down, your many notifications will still be there when you get back!
5. Plan a Getaway
Grab your squad and plan a trip to the beaches or a weekend camping adventure. The act of planning a vacation and having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks.
6. Try Something New
Get your creative juices flowing by experimenting with new activities. Try painting or knitting, take a class in ceramics or photography, you could even try a new recipe. Your creative expression is linked to happiness and it’s rewarding, not to mention fun.
7. Hang Out With Your Furry Friend
Pets have the ability to cheer up mostly everyone (unless you don’t have a soul). Cuddle your fur baby while relaxing on the couch. Show them some special love and attention.
Time with animals lowers the stress hormone, cortisol and boosts oxytocin which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or hit up a local shelter.
8. Practice Forgiveness
Forgiveness will set you free. Isn’t that what they say? Hanging on to old resentments can be damaging to your attitude and feel like a weight is dragging you down. It takes more energy to hold hate than happiness.
So forgive the person who cut you off in traffic or let go of that bigger resentment you have been hanging on to for a while. People who forgive have much better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.
9. Enjoy A Mindless Activity
Take 15 minutes or more to unwind and get into some mindless fun. Start an adult coloring book or do a puzzle. Crossword puzzles and word searches are great too. This is a hassle-free way to clear your mind and tune out all those racing thoughts.
10. Take Time to Meditate
Meditation is a great way to find your inner self and refocus your thoughts. Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes to start. It may be weird at first sitting in silence. As you get more accustomed to meditating set your timer for 10 minutes. Create a grounding word to repeat to yourself when you feel your thoughts slipping back to reality. Your grounding word can be phrases like “let go” or “be still”.
You can find answers to tough decisions you are facing, new inspiration, and sometimes, you just sit there and breathe deeply. All these factors will benefit your mental health.
Your superficial body is not the only thing that needs self-care. Your mind needs self-care and self-love as well. Take these simple tips and mix them into your busy schedule. Prioritize your mental needs above those that are not as rewarding to your health. Your stress level will be reduced, and you will gain a new peace-of-mind.
How Often Do You Need To Meditate For It To Work?
Many people give up on meditation after a few sessions because they don’t feel it is worth the 5-10 minutes to sit still when they could be getting on with their day. I recommend meditation every morning, use the grounding words, breathing deeply, and try to relax every muscle in your body, starting from your eyelids all the way down to your toes.
If you’re still having trouble focusing and not just thinking about what to make for breakfast, try a guided meditation found on free apps or on YouTube. The more you meditate the more you will discover about yourself.
What If I Am Still Struggling Mentally After Trying These Tips?
Some may need more mental health attention than others. Just as a certain body type may need more exercise to lose weight. These tips may not work the same for everyone, they are stepping stones to guide you to a more positive and happy lifestyle.
If you need more help reach out to your doctor or visit mentalhealth.gov. Remember it’s okay to talk about mental health. Our lives depend on it.
Sources. Mental Health America