Ride the Retro Wave to Mentally Healthy Habits!
5 Mentally Healthy Habits to Start Today!
I find health and wellness best approached with a simple mindset. Taking small strides and consistently practicing them results in massive gains in mental & physical health, but without the headache and stress that might disguise itself within the more 'die-hard' versions of a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes it's nice to have an extensive list of mentally healthy habits you can slowly build upon versus choosing one set thing and going all in, as you never know what a day might bring or allow. More daily habits to improve mental health that you can implement with ease equates to a more widespread, diverse network of growth, and that's the goal.
Healthy mental health habits? It might be a tongue twister, but we sure do have them. Check it out, my radical folk!
Daily Habits to Improve Mental Health
My advice? Don't overcomplicate & don't overthink. No one is perfect, and there will be days when we skip out on a habit or simply don't want to do it.
Just do your best, and remain aware of how these habits create positive change. This awareness will build a natural appreciation for these habits, and whether you manage to check off one of ten of them in a day, any effort towards growth is good.
1. Meditation: The Easy Way
Try to first recognize basic meditation as a simple daily health habit you can implement even with just a spare couple of minutes. You don't need the perfect environment, a totally sound and quiet mind, and massive time blocks to practice meditation. Although you can strive to achieve a certain level of meditation prowess, the more you practice, the more this desire is sure to build, and it's best to start small!
With countless benefits to meditation, like an enhanced positive outlook on life and lowered stress + anxiety, just a few moments of thoughtless deep breathing with closed eyes will help calm the mind and relax the body. Again, you might wish to take on mediation as serious practice after discovering this reality yourself, but don't complicate it for now. The next time you have a few moments to yourself, close your eyes, relax your mind, and take a few breaths.
The rest of your day will thank you.
Tip: Meditation can look like many things. It might be a moment of stillness and tranquility, but sometimes, our meditation can be any activity that gives our mind a break from the rush of running thoughts. So be creative in what meditation means for you! For me, it often looks like this.
2. Yoga? Simple Stretching Works, Too!
Ten to fifteen minutes of simple stretching won't just target physical health, but it's one of the best healthy mental health habits, too! And although yoga is a far more enhanced, powerful variation of this, as there's a greater focus on breathwork and a more comprehensive range of poses, all it takes is a few stretches straight out of gym class to promote mental health!
Stretching increases serotonin and stabilizes our moods. By lessening the tension in the body, we reduce tension in the mind, so don't let this simple daily habit to improve mental health slip by. You're significantly contributing to mental health with basic but consistent stretching.
Make stretching a daily habit by starting the day with a quick session before drinking coffee (or a coffee alternative!), giving yourself a few quick breaks to touch the toes during work, and ending the evening with a solid stretch.
3. Journaling. Even But a Simple Sentence
I'd love to include all sorts of artistic expression within this blog, as creative endeavors as a whole are mental health's best friend. But for many of us, busting out the paints or writing a four-page short story isn't something we can manage to do daily.
I find journaling a form of art that is reasonably accomplished every day, or at least close to it. The thing is, you can journal for five minutes or an hour, and regardless, journaling is still doing your mental health benefit.
Journaling prompts reflection, allowing you to prioritize or understand issues/concerns within your life. You might even realize that journaling is your answer to creating plans of action against said issues, whatever it is you might be dealing with. In doing so, you immediately lower stress and anxiety.
Even if it's a sentence or two per day, journaling is also a wonderful creative outlet and a perfect method for starting and ending a day with mental health in mind. And journaling doesn't mean just writing reflectively! It can also mean drawing sketches, tracking other mentally healthy habits (like healthy eating, hydration, or sleep), or writing creative stories/poetry.
Snag a pen and paper, and don't put any pressure on yourself to put something on the paper. Allow it to naturally flow as your mental health benefits from this relaxing, meditative-like activity.
4. Daily Hydration Habits
Stayin' All-Day Hydrated with our Insulated Pattern Cups!
Are you noticing the correlation between mentally healthy habits and physically healthy habits? Our bodies are a system, and one is continuously altering or enhancing the other. With that, another mentally healthy habit you can also build hugely affecting physical health is any habit related to ensuring ample hydration throughout your day.
If I told you that people who drank less water are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, you'd probably chug some H2O, right? Well, that's entirely true, and if there was ever something worth making a habit of, it's ensuring you meet your hydration needs daily.
Remember, although water is the keystone, hydration is intricate. You can utilize habits within this habit (like eating water-dense fruit or drinking sparkling water as a replacement for soda) to ensure your body is constantly negating any mental-health consequences of dehydration.
Visit my blog on how to hydrate quickly to understand hydration better and beat dehydration when your body needs it the most.
5. Perform a Random Act of Kindness
Of all daily habits to improve mental health, this is one of my favorites and an important ideology you can work to pass along to the kids, too! And why do I love it so much?
We need more kindness in the world. Simple as that. And by doing something kind, your mental health won't just benefit, but you'll also improve someone else's day!
In doing something kind, your brain will receive an invigorating, positivity-instilling rush of serotonin and dopamine from a healthy source (unhealthy sources being vices or artificially derived). These natural chemicals instill satisfaction and happiness as the feel-good hormones rush through the body, and the mood is immediately enhanced.
The thing is: there are so many ways to practice kindness as a daily mental health habit. Something as simple as sharing a compliment to a stranger will do, or you can choose to go the extra mile, such as volunteering a large portion of your time to help others when you feel like it!
Just as well, kindness doesn't always have to aim toward humans! It can also mean helping an animal or the environment, so let your creativity drive acts of kindness.
The next time you feel down, try to make someone else feel good. You'll be surprised at what it will do for your own mental health, and contributing to global positivity is a void we should all work to fill.
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Live rad, stay salty.
- Ash, Dev & The Salty Shreds Fam.