Here at Projectenergise.com, I’m always interested in discovering new healthy mental health habits that are practical and easy to achieve as you go about your daily life. With the world in a hectic state and a recession on the horizon, it’s never been more important to create habits that protect your mental health. You can always reach out for help but what can you do for yourself first? Are there any small changes you could make each day to improve your mood?
What does looking after your mental health mean though?
Mental health is a loose term that gets thrown around a lot these days but do you really know what that term means? For me, it’s about your mood and how you feel from day to day. Often, your mental health is a reflection of your lifestyle and the input that comes through your ears and eyes. That’s why I think that if you make small, progressive actions each day, you can lift your mood and find positive ways to live your life that benefit you and those around you.
In my opinion and experience, this can lead to good general mental health. So with this in mind, here are some healthy mental health habits you can deploy today to look after your mood and outlook. Some of these things may seem obvious whilst others may surprise you once you try to harness them as habits.
1. Stand up tall with your shoulders back
Such a simple yet effective thing to do, standing up with your shoulders back and your chest out can prepare your mind for how you want to face the world. When you organise your body, your mind will normally follow.
Start changing your posture, especially if you’re hunched over and you could find yourself feeling instantly better and ready to take on the day.
2. Wait 60 minutes before checking your phone
Wait 60 minutes before you look through your phone in the morning. This is an important mental health habit because the way you start your day is how you set the tone for the rest of your day.
Looking through your emails, news feeds and social feeds can give you an instant hit of stressful stimulus that you don’t need first thing in the morning. Concentrate on yourself and other healthy habits you could be doing.
image: pixabay3. Exercise, every day
Apparently, 30 minutes a day of exercise could reduce anxiety symptoms significantly. Even 10 or 25 minutes could do wonders. Buying a treadmill or an exercise bike might be the best investment you ever make not only for your mind but your physical health too.
I can only speak from personal experience and after using my exercise bike during the week, it really does make me feel good but it’s also just a great feeling to know you’re moving your body in some way and doing something healthy.
4. See your projects through
Anxiety and procrastination go hand in hand. You can spend most of your time worrying or contemplating doing something that you never actually do it. An important healthy mental health habit is to work on something and see it through.
If you want or need to do something just go ahead and start doing it. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll become in knowing you can complete tasks.
image: pixabay5. Challenge yourself daily
Another way to make yourself more confident is to challenge yourself every day with small habits, for example, you could aim to write 1000 words a day, jot in a journal entry, or practise gratitude. Your self-challenges don’t have to be big ones. After all, it’s the small, progressive habits that move the needle in how you feel and your general mood.
Challenging yourself each day gets you out of your head a reminds you that you are capable and working towards something, rather than staying in the same place.
6. Eat some real foods
Eating real foods and cleaning up your diet could make you feel almost instantly more positive. Not only will you have more energy but you’ll feel good knowing you’re looking after your body.
We often forget that our minds and bodies work hand in hand and there’s an increasing amount of research that shows your diet has a direct impact on your mood and mental health.
7. Educate yourself
Educating yourself is a good mental health habit, even if it means reading or watching something valuable a few times a week. When you feel like you know more, you’re able to engage with others more deeply whilst also feeling as if you’re growing.
Why not take a new class about something that is valuable in your day-to-day life? It could be physical education like yoga or mental education like a philosophy class. The idea is to keep broadening your horizons.
8. Stay present as much as you can
We often get trapped in bad moods when we’re thinking about the past. We’re either anxious about the future or sad about the past. Being present is the antidote to this. What are you doing right now? What do you want to do? Where are you and what can you see?
This is mindfulness. Practising mindfulness allows you to become present by using various mental exercises. It’s easy to try it out and it could be a real game changer for you if you’re the sort of person that’s always thinking of the next thing.
Mindfulness isn’t the same as meditation and all you need is the willingness to sit and take in your surroundings in a methodical way.
image: pixabay9. Take a cold shower
It sounds terrible in theory but taking a cold shower is a great healthy mental health habit to include in your routine. Why is this? An increasing amount of research points to the fact that a short, quick cold shower in the morning elevates the dopamine levels in your brain for long periods.
Whilst you get the dopamine hit from the cold water, you’ll also notice the experience will get you to practise deep breathing, another habit that has a positive impact on your stress levels along with your ability to be calm.
10. Jot down what you’re grateful for
If you jot down what you’re grateful for each day you’ll find yourself in better moods by default. Noting what you’re grateful for on a regular basis actually has a real-world effect on your mental health and outlook on life. It sounds like a very small thing to do but it’s very effective at altering your perspective.
11. Track your habits
I believe all of these healthy mental health habits can do wonders for you but that’s only if you do them (or at least one or two) on a regular basis. Like any habit, it’s consistency that pays off in the long run. To track your habits you can simply download a good habit tracker on your phone or print off a physical habit tracker to put in a binder.
Keeping on top of your healthy new habits makes you feel good and gives you another sense of forward momentum if you’ve been stuck in a rut.
image: pixabay12. Do something new
When you get stuck in a rut, trying something new can be refreshing. You don’t have to try something new every day. Simply trying a new activity once a week could be enough to get you out of a funk.
Trying new things is a good habit to get into because it reminds you that you don’t have to be stuck in your current ways and you are always capable of more than you realise. When you’re anxious or depressed the world feels small but trying something new opens the world up again.
13. Go to bed at the same time each day
Try getting enough sleep. Everyone is different and the amount of sleep you need might not be the same as the next person. Sleep isn’t just something you need to do to recharge, not getting enough of it can also lead to depression and low mood.
Research shows over and over again the importance of sleep for your performance and mood during the day so if you only deploy one new healthy mental health habit, make sure you take your sleep seriously.
image: pixabay14. Tidy your environment
Your environment dictates what you do and how you feel. Whenever you create a new habit it’s a good idea to look at your environment. Does it make doing your habit easy? If your house is messy and unclean, your state of mind is likely to reflect that.
Feng shui is the idea of organising your environment to suit the way you want to feel. To feel relaxed in your own home, you need to organise your space properly and methodically.
15. Limit your time on social media
Social media can be fun but too much of it isn’t great for your mental health. Worst still, it’s one of the easiest things to get addicted to. A good healthy mental habit is to set time limits for your social media use. Social media causes you to constantly be exposed to all kinds of drama that is easy to get sucked into.
In my opinion, it’s a mostly toxic drama that doesn’t serve any valuable purpose. It only exists to draw you back for more and more, creating a spiral of things like anxiety, anger and damage to your attention span in the long run.
16. Make others’ opinions less important
Do you find yourself always worrying about other people’s opinions? It’s an easy trap to fall into and sometimes it’s good to be aware of how you’re perceived, especially by the people you care about. However, it quickly becomes toxic when you obsess over other people’s opinions of you. What other people think isn’t your problem, it’s just ideas in someone else’s head. You have no control over someone’s thoughts so don’t even bother yourself with worrying about them.
Concentrate on yourself and apply the healthy habits listed in this post instead.
image: pixabay17. Resist taking photos
Probably the furthest thing from being present, taking photos of everything, in my opinion, is awful for your mental health. That’s because when you find yourself taking pictures of everything you’re living in the future, thinking about showing off your pictures to others online rather than enjoying the present moment for what it is.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal but if you can resist the urge to pick your phone out and instead live through your own eyes, you might find your day-to-day moments have much more substance rather than only being photo opportunities.
18. Be angry, the right way
Everyone needs a way of releasing pent-up stress. Stress can bubble up and before you know it, you can end up having a breakdown or becoming angry at inappropriate times. It’s okay to let out your anger in the right way. This could be boxing classes or simply exercising. If you never release pent-up energy or stress you’ll forever be walking around feeling off but never really knowing why.
Try finding a way of releasing your pent-up anger and you might just feel better in general.