Did you know that 792 million people have some type of mental disorder? And that 264 million have depression and 284 million anxiety disorders?
Certainly, mental illnesses and mental health concern us all. However, if you are prone to suffering from mental illnesses, then you must know there are a few things you can do to improve your mental health. For example, changing your daily habits.
Don’t know where to start? Here is a list of good habits for your mental health.
Good Habits for Your Mental Health
Although it might seem like simply writing a diary, when done effectively, journaling can help your mental health by promoting mindfulness, thankfulness, positive thoughts, and healing. However, there are different types of journals that can fit your needs.
Writing a journal is a simple habit you can do every day for better mental health. Yet, for journaling to be effective you must:
- keep your journal to yourself – it is supposed to be private
- journal with frequency
- use prompts to guide your journaling if you need them
- practice honesty with yourself
Meditating means different things for each person. Although the practice came from eastern culture, nowadays people all over the globe adapt meditation so it fits their own needs and purposes. For some people, it means doing breathing exercises. For others, it is emptying your mind.
However, whatever type of meditation you do, the point is to become aware of the present moment and to relax. For example, taking 5 to 10 minutes daily to meditate is one of the good habits for your mental health. By implementing this daily practice you could experience:
- better focus
- reduced stress
- improved self-esteem
- lower level of anxiety
- more self-awareness
Working for your future goals and the drive to achieve greater things is important. Yet, sometimes, that can distract you from the valuable things in your present. Ultimately, keeping your constant focus on the future can make you feel unhappy right now. To live happily and to improve your mental health, it is essential that you take a pause to appreciate what you’ve got.
Similarly, the Greater Good Magazine states that “people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed”. You can make this a daily habit by taking a few minutes to meditate about the things you are grateful for or you can use a gratitude journal too.
I get why people hate exercising. After all, its benefits have been linked with the arduous task of losing weight. Also, a body that stays motionless is a body that wants to continue motionless. However, losing weight is only one of the multiple benefits of exercising. Even doing light cardio, like walking 20 minutes, three times a week can:
- reduce anxiety
- reduce depression
- improve your negative mood
- improve self-esteem
- stress relief
- increase mental alertness
Putting everything back to its place
This simple yet significant action can save you copious amounts of stress and anxiety. Leaving things in random places sums unnecessary stress to your daily life. For example, you’ve probably been late to work once or twice just because you can’t find your car keys.
A simple habit that can help you to keep your mind sane is to put things in the same place always. For this, you need to have a specific place for your keys, for your personal documents, for your make-up… You get the point.
A cluttered space is mostly a reflection of a cluttered mind. However, this goes both ways. In other words, even if you let your mail “casually” pile up on the counter and the dishes in the sink, eventually, this messy view will have a negative effect on you.
For example, according to science, in a cluttered space not only you can’t find the things you need, but you also have difficulty making decisions and focusing. In short, a good habit for your mental health is to keep your surrounding space as neat as possible. Your mind will thank you for that.
Sleeping enough time
No. There is no excuse for sleeping only four hours a day. Unless you form part of the small percentage of people that only need 4 hours of sleep, that amount of rest will never be enough. Sleeping is so crucial, and yet so underrated.
Lack of sleep can literally make you go crazy! Watch the movie Awake on Netflix if you don’t believe it *joke intended*. No, but really, science shows that sleep deprivation:
- increases stress
- affects your memory
- increases moodiness
- affects your quality of life
- affects your ability to think
- develops physical illness on the long run
Having a hobby
What do you do to release stress? – This is an important question you need to answer yourself. The current world is so stress-oriented that people think feeling stressed all the time is normal.
However, if you don’t do anything to release some of that stress, then what do you think will happen? – Exactly. You’ll get sick. This is why it is so essential to have a hobby. In fact, the main purpose of a hobby is to release stress, improve creativity and boost your mood.
Certainly, all of these things contribute to your well-being. If you don’t have a hobby yet, you can try:
Read more about the best low-stress hobbies in this post.
Limiting time on social media
Honestly, I think social media is like a drug, not only because it is addictive, but because you only see the effects of it in the long run. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve said this a few times already, social media is a great tool. I use it too! Yet, social media can be poisonous for your mental health.
From making you feel stressed to lowering your self-esteem, social media can cause or contribute to mental health problems. In other words, taking a break from your phone is one of the good habits for your mental health. So, if you are a fan of social media, you might want to cut back on the time you use it.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Assertiveness is basically that. Many people keep their thoughts and needs to themselves. However, this is the source of a lot of problems, stress, and definitely a lot of anxiety. Although this might be difficult, being able to express your thoughts clearly makes a huge difference in your life.
In fact, assertiveness is probably the best habit for your mental health. Not sure how you can do it? A few simple tips are:
- plan your response ahead of time
- don’t feel guilty about stating your opinion
- set boundaries and don’t give in because of guilt
Uncertainty is the source of stress and anxiety for many people. For example, constantly solving problems at the last minute just because you forgot is probably one of the worst things you could do to your mental health. Therefore, to minimize the stress and anxiety that comes from the things you can’t control and those that you can, you need to plan things out.
Either with a digital planner or a physical planner, a good habit for your mental health is to plan your month ahead of time. In fact, by making this a part of your daily life you reduce your decision fatigue and you take control of the things you can actually control. Therefore, in that sense, you’ll feel relieved and more relaxed.
Trying new things
One of the things that make your mental health crash is getting stuck in a boring routine. Although this can happen without you noticing it, for sure, you will feel the effects of it. Why? Well, you are not a robot. You aren’t designed to do the same thing over and over again.
Therefore, a good way to get out of a routine and keep your mind fresh is to learn something new. For example, learning new things can:
- boost your self-esteem
- increase your self-confidence
- help you to connect with other people
- stimulate your creativity
- help you release stress
So, if you suffer from stress or you feel unsatisfied with your current life, try to make a habit of learning new things to improve your mental health.
Coloring is not just for children. This confusing idea is the reason why people say the word “adult” before the term coloring book. However, either if you use a “children” coloring book or an “adult” coloring book, including this activity in your daily routine can have great benefits for your mental health.
In fact, according to some studies, coloring relaxes the brain and helps you stay focused and present. As a result, you feel less stress and anxiety, since your mind doesn’t wander back and forth between your current problems or the things you have to do.
Sadly, something that should come naturally, is something that you might be forgetting to do: laughing. It has been scientifically proven that laughing improves your mood, relieves stress, and soothes tension.
And, as awkward as it may seem, you can actually make laughing a daily habit to improve your mental health. But, how?
- watch TV shows and movies that make you laugh
- exchange memes, funny videos, and tik-toks with a friend
- get together with a friend that makes you laugh
- go (or watch) stand-ups comedy
- read funny comics or books
Getting some sun
Your body needs Vitamin D for a lot of reasons. The easiest and faster way to get it naturally is by getting 15-20 minutes of sun exposure. However, most people nowadays spent too much time in interiors. For example, if you work in an office or from your home, you might have a deficiency of Vitamin D.
Although that might not seem like a big deal, science shows that Vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms similar to depression, like:
- loss of interest
- trouble sleeping
- mood changes
- suicidal thoughts
In short, if you want to practice a good habit for your mental health, go outside and get some sun. As I said, 15-20 minutes, three times a week is usually enough. But, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.
The habits that are good for your mental health
Finally, keeping good mental health is important for keeping a healthy life. Right now, the statistics about mental illnesses constantly grow around the globe.
But, there are daily habits you can do that are good for your mental health. Remember, the small actions you do in your daily life can have an impact on your wellness. In short, choose to modify your habits to lead a life of more smiles and fewer frowns.