When people think about their health, it’s likely that they are thinking in terms of physical health only. This would be a mistake though, as our mental health is just as important and we should all be taking the necessary steps to improve mental health.
Just as our bodies benefit from a fitness routine, our minds can benefit from a routine as well. There are plenty of activities that we can make a part of our day that will act to positively improve our mental health.
Some potential benefits of taking care to ensure our minds stay healthy include the following:
- Increase in productivity
- Longer lifespan
- Improved immune system
In order to attain these amazing benefits, continue reading for 15 habits you can make a part of your daily routine. These will have a positive impact and improve your mental health and, in turn, your overall health and well-being.
1. Go For A Walk
Going for a walk at least once a day is a great way to maintain and even improve mental health. A recent study found that by going outside and taking a nice walk, our mental well-being may be improved significantly for over 7 hours afterwards! The study found that participants felt happier and were in overall better moods after going for a walk.
This is great news because walking also offers us numerous physical health benefits! By simply going out for a 20-minute stroll in the morning, you’ll likely end up in better spirits for the majority of the day!
2. Stay Connected
People that are more connected to their family, friends, and their community are much happier and end up living longer lives than people with fewer connections to others. Conversely, those who are less connected to others end up with a higher risk of depression and cognitive decline as time passes. Knowing this, if you find yourself feeling out of touch with your family and friends, it may be time to make a change. Make time for loved ones and take part in community activities, and your mental health will thank you!
3. Lift Weights
Lifting weights offers us so many benefits both of the body, and the mind, that it truly is a mistake to miss out on this daily habit! Recent research observed participants who displayed symptoms of depression and had them complete resistance training. The results showed that those who followed a weight lifting routine benefited from improvements in their mood and a noticeable reduction in their symptoms of depression!
The authors of the study were able to rule out other factors such as age, general overall health, exercise frequency, skill level, and strength as factors resulting in the positive mental impact. Regardless of any of this, all participants were able to realize relief from their depression symptoms to some extent.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
Going outside for even just 15 minutes has positive mental and physical benefits. Brief stints in the great outdoors result in a noticeable boost to your brain’s serotonin levels, which brings an improvement to your mood. Going for the aforementioned walk outside, or just parking a little further from work so you have to walk a little more are both easy habits you can adopt in order to maximize your outdoor time!
5. Find Something To Laugh About
Try to get in the habit of finding something to laugh about a few times a day. Laughing may benefit your mental fitness due to the release of many feel-good chemicals in your brain. This results in an overall better mood, reduction in stress, short-term memory improvement, and increased ability to learn new tasks and information. Try to make an effort to laugh every day; listen to some funny podcasts, watch a humorous movie, and stock up on funny pictures for when you don’t have internet access so you’ll always have something to laugh about!
6. Try Meditation
Meditation is a great habit proven to offer numerous benefits to your brain’s health! By simply taking a little time out of your day to relax, breath, and focus your attention on the present, you’ll likely notice some startling mental effects! Whether or not you manage to accomplish textbook meditation or not, just sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing will likely bring about positive benefits.
7. Try Journaling
Try starting a journal to reflect on the day’s events. By jotting down what you are thankful for and what good things have happened throughout your day, you’ll start to realize that although your mood might not have been the best, lots of good things do still happen on a daily basis that are grounds for feeling good.
By giving yourself an outlet in order to vent emotions in a healthier way, journaling will likely result in less stress and an overall eased mind.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep time is often a neglected part of our days but not making it a priority is a huge detriment to both our physical and mental fitness! Not getting enough quality sleep leads to many negative side effects including stress, depression, anxiety, weight gain, heart disease, and many more!
Try to ensure you’re getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every day. Additionally, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, regardless of the work week. Sleep is the time where our bodies can best make the necessary repairs to our bodies and minds, which ensures we are functioning at our best.
9. Plan Fun Activities
Research has discovered that planning something fun such as a vacation can be just as beneficial as the vacation itself! Planning a fun new activity doesn’t even have to be as extreme as the next family vacation; even just making plans to go out on the weekend to try a new restaurant or go for a hike with friends is enough to notice real benefits.
10. Eat Nutritious Foods
Diet has a profound effect on both our bodies and our minds. Making a daily habit out of healthy eating is a great way to improve yourself overall! Many specific foods have been linked to improvements in brain health; studies are now coming out suggesting that different types of foods may reduce symptoms of anxiety as well!
Ensuring that you’re meeting your daily vitamin and mineral intake requirements will help to keep your body and mind functioning at peak capacity, and will likely result in you feeling both physically and mentally healthier overall.
11. Do Something For Others
Try to do something nice for others every day. Not only will it benefit the recipient of your kindness, but you’ll likely feel better for it as well! Recent research discovered that people who regularly commit acts of selflessness in order to do nice things for others resulted in a decreased occurrence of social avoidance, reduction in symptoms of anxiety, and an overall better mood! The acts don’t have to be anything crazy either; simply holding the door for someone or being polite can provide positive benefits!
12. Learn Something New
Make it a habit to continuously seek out and try new things. Reading about something new that you aren’t familiar with or trying a new hobby are both great ways to keep your mind abuzz, which results in overall improved feelings of well-being.
It is typical that as we age, we are less likely to branch out and pursue new interests and learn about new topics. This is a fault though, as it is important that we keep trying to expand our scope of knowledge. Doing so results in a better outlook on life and positive mental growth.
13. Keep Good Posture
A recent study found that those who frequently sat in a slumped over or hunched position felt more fearful, slow, quiet, and hostile than when they sat up straight, with proper posture. Maintaining good posture is a great way to improve one’s function physical and mental health; you’ll be in a much better mood with your head held up high!
14. Question Your Thoughts And Beliefs
Constantly question the negative thoughts that occur in your mind. By making it a habit to questions the negativity swirling around in your head, your mind can benefit by returning to a more peaceful, awakened, and calm state.
Just because a negative thought occurred in your head, it doesn’t make it true or a reality. Internalize this, and the next time something negative pops up, question its validity and you’ll likely find it’s grounded in falsehood. In realizing this, negative thoughts will have a weakened effect on your mood; your mental health will be the better for it!
15. Limit Social Media Exposure
Social media is an amazingly convenient way for people to keep in touch with family and friends. For many, however, it ends up being a drain on their minds. New research coming out has discovered a link between high-frequency social media use and symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Teens and adolescents are especially prone to the negative effects of social media; take action to limit social media exposure in order to avoid its negative mental health effects.
Taking the steps necessary in order to improve mental health should be a top priority! There are so many different habits we can adopt that have positive effects on our minds, and there’s really no excuse to not get to it!