8 Simple Habits You Can Do Now For Your Mental Health

“Mental health matters” has become something of an unofficial mantra for the collective movement towards greater global mental health literacy, and probably now more than ever, people are becoming more and more aware of the value of taking care of not only their physical health, but their social, emotional, and psychological well-being, too.

The problem is, however, a lot of us don’t exactly know the right way of how we’re supposed to go about improving our mental health, just that we should. Stress management and emotion regulation, for example, are practical skills that are key to achieving mental wellness but they’re not exactly taught in school either.

So, with that said, if you are someone who’s looking to better their mental health but don’t quite know how, then you need not look any further. Here are 8 simple, easy, and psychology-backed ways to do just that:

1. Eat something healthy

There’s no arguing that mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, and when we neglect one, the other surely suffers. So if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with your mental health struggles lately, a good and easy way to get back on track is by eating something healthy. Food that’s high in protein such as meat, fish, and eggs increase our energy; while cacao and vanilla beans are rich in antioxidants and naturally boost our happy hormones or endorphins. You can also try eating some leafy greens or probiotics, both of which have been proven to help reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue (Mind Org UK, 2017).

2. Get some rest.

Similar to our last point, even if you’ve been eating right and staying hydrated, your mental health can still take a hit if you’ve been neglecting your sleep. Studies show that poor quality and quantity of sleep negatively impacts our mental health by making us more moody and irritable, less able to concentrate, less able to experience positive emotions, and respond more negatively and ineffectively to stressors (Walker & van der Helm, 2009). So why not stop whatever you’re doing for now and get a good night’s sleep to clear your mind for a change? 

3. Move your body.

Another important link between mental and physical health is exercise. It’s a well-known fact that exercise improves thinking, learning, judgment, and overall brain function while also reducing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression through the release of endorphins. In fact, studies show that people who live an active lifestyle — be it through exercise, sports, dance, swimming, cycling, or the like — sleep better, have higher self-esteem, experience more positive moods, and tend to have a better overall quality of life (insert study).

4. Talk to a friend.

In the day and age of social media and the internet, it can be easy to rely on online interactions and the safety net of a carefully crafted persona to fulfill the desire for social interaction we all have. But for us to truly reap the benefits of positive social interactions there needs to be a human connection. So why not go on a social media detox for a while and just spend quality time with your loved ones? Talk to your friends, reach out to your family, or meet new people by joining a club, organization, or volunteering program. Either way, being more socially involved and nurturing your interpersonal relationships is good for your mental health as studies show that it is the most important determinant of our overall life satisfaction (Waldinger, 2015).

5. Find a hobby/goal.

According to world famous psychologist Martin Seligmann (2012), there are six building blocks to positive well-being known as the PERMA-H model, and we’ve already covered two of them (health and relationships). Well, this tip covers three: positive emotions, engagement, and achievement. And you can experience all these things when you have a hobby or a goal in your life that you love and are passionate about. It can be anything at all that you enjoy doing, makes you lose track of time, and motivates you to excel.

crop woman playing guitar near piano

6. Learn relaxation techniques.

Relaxation techniques are often taught by therapists to those suffering from trauma, anxiety, panic attacks, and phobia, but they can benefit just about anybody. Some of the most popularly recommended ones include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, abd guided imagery — all of which you can easily learn about from numerous self-help books or online guides available. Relaxation techniques improve our mental health because they’ve been proven to decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce psychosomatic symptoms (such as heart palpitations, muscle tension, sweaty palms, or difficulty breathing). 

7. Start meditating.

Similar to the last point, another great way to boost your mental health is through increased mindfulness and meditation. And while it’s admittedly more difficult to get the hang of than simple relaxation techniques — you may have heard stories about monks and buddhists taking years to fully master it — mindfulness meditation can be a very powerful and effective tool in combating any challenging thoughts, emotions, and experiences (Teasdale & Segal, 2007).

8. Practice gratitude.

Finally, psychologists have found that optimism and gratitude are the two most important factors in a person’s happiness and life satisfaction that we can directly control (Alspach, 2009). So if you’ve been feeling down lately or if there are things in your life that have been taking a toll in your mental health, try starting a gratitude journal to cultivate more optimism in your daily life. When you make a conscious effort to practice gratitude in your life, you start to realize how much you actually have to be thankful for. 

In summary, although all of these tips seem relatively simple and easy to do, especially on an everyday basis, they’re already a huge step in the right direction towards taking care of our mental health and flourishing in life. If you suspect, however, that there might be a more serious underlying issue to these feelings, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental healthcare professional today and get the help you need to live a happier, better quality life. 

References:

  • Mind Org. UK (2017). Food and Mood: The Relationship Between Mental Health and Eating. Retrieved 2022 July from https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/2929/food-and-mood-2017.pdf
  • Walker, M. P., & van der Helm, E. (2009). Overnight therapy? The role of sleep in emotional brain processing. Psychological bulletin, 135(5), 731–748. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016570
  • Waldinger, R. (2015). What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness. Retrieved, 15, 2018.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Simon and Schuster.
  • Teasdale, J. D., & Segal, Z. V. (2007). The mindful way through depression: Freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. Guilford Press.
  • Alspach, G. (2009). Extending the tradition of giving thanks recognizing the health benefits of gratitude.

Leave your vote

2 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 2

Upvotes: 2

Upvotes percentage: 100.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psych2Go

Hey there!

Forgot password?

Forgot your password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Close
of

Processing files…