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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow 14 Healthy Habits to Improve Mental Health: From Stress to Serenity

14 Healthy Habits to Improve Mental Health: From Stress to Serenity

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
8 min read 1059 Views 0 Comments
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Discover the road to mental wellness with the help of our team

Healthy Habits to Improve Mental Health

Looking after your mental health is very important, but not everyone knows how to overcome their problems. 

Mental health is a broad concept that covers your social and psychological well-being. There are many factors that influence your thoughts and behaviors, some of which you can’t always avoid. 

Incorporating more positive habits into your routine could encourage better mental health. Simple actions, like exercising regularly and meeting with friends, can be a breath of fresh air in times of immense stress.

Keep reading to discover more healthy habits that maintain a healthy mind. 

Healthy Habits to Improve Mental Health: 14 Tips for a Happier Life

There are many steps you can take to build positive mental health. Practicing self-care and staying aware of your mental state will prevent damaging behaviors.

Below are 14 ways you can improve your mental health: 

#1 Stay physically active

A study found that regular exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s believed that any form of physical activity boosts your levels of endorphins – hormones that block the perception of pain and put you in a positive state of mind – throughout the day. 

You could go for long-distance runs or even brief morning walks. The average recommendation for exercise is 30 minutes a day, so it’s worth going out to refresh your body. 

Moreover, improving your physical health can help you feel stronger. Feeling groggy and unfit might trigger unwanted thoughts, which dampen your ability to have a positive mindset. Many people forget that physical and mental health are connected. 

#2 Incorporate more healthy foods into your diet

Following a balanced diet can positively impact your mental state. Research suggests that eating healthy food helps the brain to think clearly. Processed foods, like cereals and chocolate, can actually promote poor concentration. 

Aim to consume plenty of green vegetables and whole fruits rich in omega-3. These fatty acids contain brain-protective properties that enhance mental focus. 

On the other hand, don’t be too strict with what you eat. Creating a balanced diet is recommended, but feel free to treat yourself now and then. 

#3 Get outside

Some days, you might not feel like getting out of bed. This could be due to fatigue or mental health concerns that make you feel depressed and anxious. Of course, resting your brain is essential, but it’s also worth going out into nature once in a while. 

The great outdoors may seem intimidating to some. Even though it’s a challenging task, stepping outside of your house could be the first step to good mental health. A study found that short walks through nature can encourage positive physiological responses.

#4 Share your feelings

There’s nothing wrong with sharing how you feel. Not letting paranoid thoughts and emotions build up will have a positive effect on your mental health. You could talk to family and friends about your current mental state or even book an appointment with a dedicated therapist. 

Some people find it difficult to open up and that’s okay. Trauma can be one of the reasons for this. Being honest about your mental well-being takes time, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself. 

There are journaling apps that could help you express your feelings. Research proves that journaling has been associated with positive thinking and more self-kindness. 

#5 Stay in touch with your loved ones

Your loved ones can play a role in improving your emotional health. They are there to offer support and listen to your needs. You could arrange plans with them to get out of the house and keep your mind distracted. 

Maintaining social relationships will also lead to improved mental health. It’s a great way of living in the present moment with the people you love and enjoy being around. 

#6 Do not multitask

Doing multiple things simultaneously can make you irritable and overwhelmed. This might lead to even more stress, which depletes your mental wellness. It might be tempting to get certain tasks over with, but adding that pressure to your life could encourage negative thoughts. 

Instead, create a list of priorities to help you plan out the day. You’ll feel more motivated to complete each task without becoming too stressed. During this time, throw on some fun music and avoid going on your phone when possible. 

#7 Treat yourself with kindness

Being kind to yourself means practicing self-care and eliminating bad thoughts. You shouldn’t be so harsh when it comes to facing new problems or not being able to get out of bed one day. Remember that it takes time to feel better mentally, so take good care of yourself in the process. 

#8 Learn how to say “No”

Saying no can be a challenging task when you only want to please people. However, you have a right to turn down plans if you feel it’s best for your health. Being clear about your answer ensures you’re not overworking or forgetting how you mentally feel. 

Many people avoid saying no because they don’t want to cause conflict. If someone doesn’t respect your alone time, it’s worth considering if they are really a friend. 

#9 Practice mindfulness

You should practice mindfulness if you want to stay aware of your overall well-being. This is a soothing method that helps you live in the moment and change bad thoughts into good ones. A study found that mindfulness can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and OCD. 

Those who try mindfulness techniques can prevent self-destructive behavior. You could go out for a walk before thoughts become overwhelming or connect with friends to feel more positive. It’s a simple practice that will encourage you to accept and love yourself in times of need.

#10 Create a daily routine

Building a solid routine could save you unnecessary stress. It might feel challenging to make new changes, but it’s worth reinforcing positive habits. Consider waking up early to prevent oversleeping and set small goals throughout the day, like cooking, cleaning, and relaxing. 

Everyone has their own unique routine to help keep them in check. Don’t forget to reward yourself after completing all tasks and try to make it fun wherever possible. 

#11 Make time for yourself

There’s nothing worse than having no time to do what you enjoy. Constantly running errands or pleasing others can take a huge toll on your mental health. 

Making time for yourself is very important. Learn to prioritize free time and let others know that you want to be alone on certain days. When you do get a break, find some relaxing hobbies that can release unwanted thoughts from your mind. 

Family and friends should understand your need for space, so always communicate that with them. 

#12 Get rested

You should build healthy sleep habits if you want to feel good in the morning. Avoid drinking caffeine before bed or napping in the afternoon. These acts can disrupt a perfectly good sleeping pattern. 

Research suggests that consistent sleep can calm your mind. This could prevent a decline in your mental health throughout the day. 

It’s recommended that adults get 7–8 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy. 

#13 Limit screen time

In today’s society, most people are glued to their phones. This might be a reason why younger people struggle to be independent and form social connections. Being stuck on social media can have a huge impact on your mental state. 

To feel better in your everyday life, consider limiting how much time you spend on electronic devices. Shut them away while you’re concentrating and only dedicate a few hours in the evening to screen time. 

Learning this habit can stop you from relying too much on technology. 

#14 Stay away from alcohol

Drinking alcohol can enhance negative emotions and make you feel worse. Alcoholic beverages interfere with the chemicals in your brain that control positive feelings. Therefore, always drink moderately and never reach for alcohol when you’re low. 

Some people, when in a drunken state, feel as though they’re unlovable or that everyone hates them. This can lead to a toxic mindset that encourages them to push family and friends further away. 

How to Improve Your Mental Health

You can improve your mental health by being physically active, socially connecting with people, eating nutritious food, and finding new hobbies. The habits you choose to implement in your routine depend on your mental state and comfort level. 

There are many ways of improving one’s overall wellness. People usually enjoy hanging out with friends or gaining emotional support from a therapist. You have certain comforts and boundaries when it comes to your own health, so build a routine that feels easy to keep up with. 

For more specific ideas, take a stroll in the evening to unwind from the day. You should make time for yourself to prevent unnecessary stress and low energy levels. Also, getting enough sleep each night ensures you can focus on important tasks and have better brain function. 

How Can I Live a Healthy, Happy Life?

Living a happier life isn’t something you can achieve in one day, but you can make small changes that leave your brain feeling good. Simple acts, like going on a coffee date with a friend or walking through nature in the morning, could put a smile on your face. 

Dealing with a mental illness can drain your motivation and freedom. You might feel the urge to stay inside and avoid people due to the lack of social connection. This may be a comfortable way to cope, but it won’t help you live a healthy life and enjoy your personal passions. 

Instead, find the time to go outside and make plans with your loved ones. A study found that being cooped up in your room can increase anxiety and depression symptoms. So, even when you don’t feel like it, go for a quick walk to get fresh air and release any negative thoughts. 

A Word From a Psychologist

Everyone has a unique approach when it comes to improving their mental health. Some people might join local support networks, while others prefer to stay in a private social bubble. There’s no right or wrong way to achieve good mental health and reinforce healthy lifestyle habits.

Consider going for simple walks, practicing mindfulness, and connecting with loved ones to gain positive thoughts. One thing to mention is that too much social media can be damaging, so aim to avoid social media platforms wherever possible if you want to improve your overall health.

Remember that there are mental health apps, therapists, and friends and family who can offer reliable support. Don’t feel like you have to go through or face problems alone. If you want to book appointments with a therapist, speak to your doctor to gain more guidance and advice.

Conclusion

Incorporating more healthy habits into your daily routine can improve your mental and physical health. Even going for a simple walk could make all the difference. These habits may seem small, but they could really change your overall well-being. 

Start the day on a positive note and focus your efforts on things that make you happy, confident, and outgoing. If you need more guidance, speak to a medical professional about certain mental health conditions.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
8 min read 1059 Views 0 Comments
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