Mental health refers to a person’s psychological, social and emotional well-being. Our mental health impacts our feelings, behaviors, and reaction to life events. Poor mental health may lead to many mental disorders, including anxiety and depression.

Improving and maintaining good mental health helps prevent mental illness and is crucial to preserving physical health. Being healthy mentally requires small daily choices. Here are 25 habits to help you achieve better mental health.

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1. Journaling

Journaling is a valuable tool for improving mental health. It allows you to express what is in your mind for better understanding. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you release your emotions and boost your mood. Journaling is also helpful for those who struggle with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders. (1)
You can also try to write down what you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude makes you focus on positive things in your life, which can help during challenging times.

Here are some journal prompts to help you get started:

If you are looking for a mental health guided journal, check out The Mental Fitness Diary 2023. It is a stylish, practical diary filled with encouragement, consolation, and valuable writing prompts and exercises to help you invest in your mental health each and every day. With beautiful designs and sturdy construction, this diary will be your faithful companion on your journey to better mental health.

2. Meditate

Meditation has many benefits for mental health. It helps :

  • Control anxiety
  • Increase attention span
  • Enhances self-awareness and self-esteem
  • Increase mental discipline
  • Fight addiction
  • Manage stress by reducing cortisol levels, our body’s primary stress hormone.

Meditation appears to be a great tool to improve mental health.

If you want to learn more about meditation, here are the best meditation books for your daily practice. These books are great for beginners.

3. Try yoga

Many studies have shown that yoga is highly effective in improving mood. It also boosts confidence, reduces depression, and decreases perceived stress. Besides, yoga improves sleep which is essential for mental health. (2)

Here are four yoga poses that are great for mental health:

  • Child’s pose aka balasana
  • Plow pose aka halasana
  • Corpse pose aka savasana
  • Diamond pose aka vajrasana

Learn more about the health benefits of yoga here. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, shop your yoga mat to get started.

4. Unplug from social media

Although social media is a place where we can connect with others or express our creativity, it can also be very toxic. On the other hand, social media addiction can take its toll on mental health and increase the risk of depression, fear of missing out, and even suicidal thoughts. (3)

Therefore, regular breaks from social media are essential to maintaining good mental health.
Check this guide to social media detox.

5. Walk away from toxic people

To preserve our mental health, we must let go of toxic influences, including people. Some people can trigger negative feelings about yourself or make you engage in self-destructive behaviors. Dealing with toxic people can lead to depression, anxiety, or worsen any symptoms of mental disorders you may have already. Although it can be difficult to distance yourself from toxic people, you must try your best, make yourself a priority, and cut them out of your life.

6. Avoid substance abuse

Addiction to illegal drugs, smoking, and alcohol can lead to change in the brain and increase the risk or worsen mental disorders.

If you are struggling with addiction, you can check SAMHSA’s National Helpline. It is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

7. Limit your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant found in various foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. Although caffeine has some health benefits, excessive consumption can negatively affect the brain and cause insomnia, stress, irritability, mood swing and increase your risk for depression.
If you use a lot of caffeine, you should consider reducing it gradually to protect your mental health.

8. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what is happening around you and accept it without judgment or struggle. Mindfulness allows us to be conscious of our perceptions, feeling, and self-talk. Assessing your emotions and intrusive thoughts as they arise makes them more manageable. Therefore, adding mindfulness to your daily life is a great tool to prevent or overcome mental health challenges. (4)

Related: 100 Mindfulness Quotes to Help You Stay Grounded

9. Connect with nature

Spending time in nature has been found to impact mood and emotional well-being positively. Taking a walk in nature or viewing nature scenes can reduce stress, anger, fear and boost feelings of happiness and peace.

10. Socialize

Social isolation damages mental health. It has long been known as a critical trigger for mental health disorders. The emotional support provided by social interactions gives us a sense of belonging and security. It also improves the mood the memory and fights against dementia. (5)

11. Take care of your gut health

New evidence connect gut health not only to physical health but also to mental health. Due to the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, any imbalance in gut bacteria may affect our mental health and lead to mental health issues like anxiety, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia. (6)
Here are seven simple tips to restore and boost your gut health.

12. Exercise

A lot of data suggest that regular exercise improves mental health. Physical activity triggers the production of chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals have a profoundly positive impact on mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD and boosting self-esteem and cognitive function.
If you don’t have time to exercise, there are simple ways to stay physically active every day without going to the gym. You can also get this Fitbit fitness tracker and set up reminders to encourage you to stay active.

13. Get more sleep

Sleep deprivation may increase the risk or directly contribute to mental health disorders. Besides, poor sleep and insomnia also worsen mental health problems.

Here are a few articles to help you sleep better:

14. Take a break

A mental health break allows you to step back, relax and refresh your mind. It will enable your brain to get the necessary recharge it needs to keep going. Regular breaks are essential to alleviate daily stress.
If you feel stressed and overwhelmed at work or home, do not hesitate to take a mental health day and practice self-care.

15. Be Kind

Kindness has the ability to boost happiness, energy, and mood, which can help reduce stress and improve emotional well-being.
Check these 60 Ideas of Random Acts of Kindness to spread love and make yourself and others happy.

16. Forgive

Many studies suggest that forgiving people tend to be more satisfied with their lives and have less anxiety, less anger, stress, and depression. (7)
Forgiveness is a choice, so make it part of your life.

17. Laugh

It has been proven that laughter has a positive effect on mental health. Laughter mitigates stress effects by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body. When you laugh, your body also releases endorphins, our body’s feel-good hormones. As a result, laughter is a great tool to fight stress, anxiety, and depression. (8)

18. Cut back on sugar

Studies show that sugars increase the risk of depression and anxiety disorders. (9)
Diets high in sugars alter endorphins levels and oxidative stress and therefore harm our mental health.

19. Set healthy boundaries

Creating and setting personal boundaries is an important aspect of mental health. It allows us to say “no” to what may destroy our self-esteem, self-love, and mental health. Boundaries also help ensure that we are comfortable and respectful in our relationships with others.

20. Hydrate

Getting enough water is essential for neurological function and mental health. Research suggests that dehydration may increase the risk for mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. (10, 11)

Related: 12 Water-Rich Foods to Keep You Hydrated

21. Use positive affirmations

Negative thoughts have the power to impair our mental health. To break the cycle of negativity, we need more positive thoughts. This is where positive affirmation comes in. Using positive affirmations daily promotes a positive mindset that is essential to improve your mental health.

Looking for affirmations? Here are some great ones

 

22. Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for therapeutic benefits. Many studies suggest that aromatherapy provides positive benefits for treating stress-related disorders, anxiety, and some cognitive disorders. (12)

23. Learn something new

Learning a new skill improves your brain’s health and memory. It also helps you stay engaged with life and fight boredom, which can easily exacerbate mental health problems.

24. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task we should or like to do. It is a toxic habit which left unchecked, can lead to chronic stress, low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, and depression. Learn more about procrastination and how to overcome it.

25. Ask for help

If you are struggling mentally, it is crucial to seek help. Don’t be ashamed to have mental health problems. You can reach out to your primary care doctor, who can refer you to a mental health professional. Most importantly, if you’re in a crisis and have suicidal thoughts or want to hurt yourself or others, please take action right away and call 911.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to mental health, prevention is the best medicine. Make it your priority, and start implementing these healthy habits today to take care of your mental health

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830620/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447533/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6537508/
  4. The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Maternal Perinatal Mental Health Outcomes: a Systematic Review – PubMed (nih.gov)
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/
  6. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/8/9/376/htm#
  7. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-9993-5_6
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27439375/
  9. Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study – PubMed (nih.gov)
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147771/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356561/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16599645/
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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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