When most people talk about their health, oftentimes the conversation revolves around the physical aspect.
Of course, this is an extremely important aspect of our health.
Your physical health is what people immediately observe, and what most people strive to.
But with numbers such as 24% of young adults, and 19% of older adults grappling with disorders that affect their mental and emotional wellness, something needs to be done.
What if under the healthy physical self, lingers mental illness?
This is exactly why it is important to work at improving your mental health, in small, but realistic ways-things you can do now that help makes all the difference.
Good Mental Health – 51 Ways (plus Habits) Be Mentally Healthy
1) Make Time for Yourself
It is one of the simplest things you can do to really take control of your mental well-being. You must make time for yourself.
Always putting orders before yourself is a fast recipe for burnout and can leave you feeling unappreciated.
2) Be Social
It is said that by nature human beings are social creatures. Even the most devoted loner needs social interaction from time to time.
While the reason for this is unclear, what is not unclear is the fact that it can have profound benefits on your mental health.
Feelings of stress and anxiety are markedly reduced in people who socialize more, opposed to those who prefer to go it alone.
3) Have More Sex
Sex has real-world benefits most people don’t appreciate.
Besides the physical aspect of sex, there are mental benefits as well.
For example, not only can it reduce stress, but it can also boost levels of neurochemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin.
These neurotransmitters play a big part in fostering bonds and supporting healthy hormone levels. Healthy sex is a normal part of good relationships.
4) Get Moving
Any type of physical activity can help to boost your mood, not technically classifying it as exercise.
Even a leisurely stroll around the block or walking to buy groceries can have benefits beyond cardiovascular health.
5) Get Creative
Artistic creatives have to be amongst the most misunderstood segment of society that exists, lending itself to mental health issues other people may not be familiar with.
However, on that same note, having a creative outlet is a great way to relieve stress and express yourself in ways words may not be )able to convey.
6) Find Support
You may think that you know everything there is to know about mental health, but time after time being able to access a support network when you need it can make all the difference between you having a mental breakdown and taking it in stride.
7) Improve Your Sleep Habits
The health benefits of sleep are far too many to mention.
And it is definitely beyond the scope of this discussion.
However, with regards to your mental and brain health, sleep can help to balance neurotransmitter levels that can otherwise fly out of whack.
In addition to this, getting enough sleep will prevent you from becoming easily agitated, and able to maintain mental cognition more efficiently.
8) Don’t Dwell on the Past: Spend your Thoughts on the Present
One of the most common ways to send your anxiety into the red zone is to spend too much time living in the past.
Not only will this not change the events that have already happened, but feelings of disappointment or what-ifs can take away from what matters most – the present.
Always try to give as much as you can to the present moment, and let the past remain just that.
9) Visualize the Day in Advance
A proven way to help reduce anxiety, nervousness, and elevated stress levels is to simply plan ahead.
This does not necessarily mean that you need to put out a notepad and meticulously journal every aspect that you plan to accomplish, but rather, just being able to visualize how you want the day to go.
Doing this can help you feel more in charge of things that are going on around you and can go a very far way for your peace of mind.
10) Eat Healthy Foods at Regular Intervals
Did you know that eating the right foods is paramount to you being mentally healthy?
Before opting to try supplements and medications, choosing the right foods is the way to go.
For instance, Turkey is rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is known to promote feelings of relaxation and sleep.
Bananas and certain nuts may also be very beneficial in fostering a positive mood. You must eat healthy for a healthy mind.
11) Exercise At Least 30 Minutes A Day Including Low-Impact Activities
Exercise regularly – Get active for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week…
Experts agree that regular exercise is one of the best ways to better mental health because it releases endorphins and increases self-esteem.
This can be as simple as going for a walk or doing some stretching exercises in the morning before work.
It’s also important that you exercise regularly throughout the day and try to avoid skipping days if you can.
If you have problem joints, opt for lower impact activities, such as swimming.
Swimming is highly therapeutic and can leave you feeling refreshed and pain-free afterward.
12) Manage Stress Responsibly and Avoid It Where Possible
Stress is an unavoidable part of being alive.
The key is to manage it so that it does not feel overwhelming and to not put yourself in scenarios that are known to trigger you.
These may include places where you feel powerless or are often put on trial for your shortcomings.
13) Seek Professional Help if Needed
Contrary to what some people would have you believe, therapy is not useless or a waste of money.
And seeking out help does not make you weak, but rather someone smart enough to recognize a change needs to be made.
Professionals exist for a reason – to help you cope with the feelings you are experiencing and to foster coping mechanisms.
Other professionals may help create a customized treatment plan to support your mental health in the event therapy alone is not sufficient.
14) Change your Environment to Improve Your Mental Health And Mood
One of the easiest ways to almost immediately improve your mental health and mood?
Get yourself away from the environment that you feel is having a negative impact on you. This can include a toxic workplace, or even toxic family and friends.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your mental well-being for the sake of being amicable.
15) Manage Stress by Practicing Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is one of the most underrated techniques for the management of stress and anxiety we all have at our disposal.
It simply entails being cognizant of our limitations and triggers.
For instance, if you know that believing that big project to complete on the last day shoots your stress levels through the roof, recognize that fact and do not put yourself in a position to have that happen.
You should try to dedicate 10 minutes in the morning to practice mindfulness and see how it positively affects your day.
16) Socialize And Be Around People Who Are Positive
Have you ever heard the saying that goes “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”?
Turns out it is very much alive and true. In order to foster a positive outlook, you should be around people that think the same way.
In this manner, even if you initially did not feel the same, the positive pressure exerted on you will positively benefit your social well-being.
17) Drink Plenty of Water Every Day To stay Hydrated and Flush Toxins Out Of Your System To Avoid Feelings of Lethargy
Do you know what can absolutely derail your plans for a productive and positive day?
A lack of energy.
The most common way this occurs is not because you haven’t eaten all day but as a result of dehydration.
Dehydration not only reduces physical performance and energy but also leaves your mind cloudy and in a rut.
At the minimum, you should strive to consume 2 L of water, but more than this is optimal.
18) Practice Gratitude Daily
One of the traits of many of the happiest people on the planet has to be the fact that they practice gratitude.
It is important to be grateful for the many things you do have – health, family, shelter, and food on the table, and to not worry about the luxuries you do not have such as the latest smartphone and clothes.
19) Challenge your Negative Thoughts
It’s easy to get absorbed in negative thoughts.
After all, things don’t always go the way they are supposed to. Instead, you need to confront negative thoughts and nip them in the bud.
Do not allow such feelings to fester in your mind – doing so helps to harbor negative emotions that can have far-reaching implications on your overall mental and emotional well-being.
20) Practice Good Hygiene
They say you should dress for the job you want, so of course, this includes practicing good hygiene.
The wide accessibility of personal health products should make it easy for you to look, and smell like a million bucks.
Your self confidence is likely to benefit too, especially if you are complimented for your effort.
21) Set Boundaries with People
Some people are master manipulators – they can make you feel guilty for not giving in to them.
On the flipside, by doing what they want you feel as if you have compromised your beliefs and resent the person that forced you to do it.
This is why it is important to set clear boundaries and stand by them.
It makes no sense to put your foot down and give in after two requests to reconsider.
Boundaries set the tone to show that orders need to respect your wishes and that you respect yourself.
22) Invest in Yourself by Learning Something New Every Day or Doing a Random Act of Kindness to Yourself
We previously mentioned that you should make time for yourself, but an even better way of doing this is to ensure the time you spend on yourself is used to learn something new or to just pamper yourself.
Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and can help to keep a healthy mental state in check.
23) Give Back to the Community
If you ever feel like you have more than enough, but yet something is missing, it might be that perhaps you are yearning to give back.
Contributing in a meaningful way, either by imparting your skills, or donating monetarily to empower a community can help you achieve fulfillment in a way not many other things can.
Keep in mind, however, that you also need to prioritize yourself – as depriving yourself while trying to serve is a recipe for burnout.
24) Find a Balance Between Work and Fun
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, right?
Far too often we become completely entrenched in our work and forget that so many order things exist.
This can manifest in simple ways such as spending long hours in the office, not being able to attend your kid’s school events or having the time for recreation.
Not only will this cause you to resent your work, but you also risk alienating the people closest to you.
It is important to find time to do things that you truly enjoy, and also to have dedicated family time. Do not let a busy life at work cause your family members to feel alienated.
25) Take a Break from Social Media and Other Devices Every Day
It seems like virtually every waking moment we are attached to our phone, laptop, or some other smart device.
This is believed to be due to a phenomenon known as FOMO, or the fear of missing out.
This can refer to something as simple as seeing the breaking news as it occurs, but there is also a darker side of social media.
For instance, most people tend to put their best sides forward on their social media account, painting a picture that looks almost perfect.
This can definitely affect your sense of worth when you see all the latest trips and vacations that have been taking, along with their newest pricey gadget added to the collection, while you are barely managing to keep your head above water with bills.
This is why it is important for you to disconnect yourself from social media for periods of time every day.
This will help you to live in the reality of now, and not in someone else’s fantasyland.
26) Do Something You Love Every Day for no Reason at all!
When last did you truly do something for yourself that you really wanted?
The chances are high that it wasn’t recently.
However, this is a dangerous recipe for burnout and will adversely affect your good mental health.
Next time you receive your salary, do something nice for yourself.
If you have been dreaming about that pair of shoes for the past six months, go ahead and get it for yourself.
The psychological reward is huge and will help motivate you going forward.
27) Engage in Nature to Reduce Stress
There’s something about nature and the great outdoors that is highly recuperative and soothing.
Sure, you can definitely get an entire body workout in the comfort of your home, but being able to breathe in fresh air alone is worth its weight in gold.
There are also proven benefits of just taking a leisurely walk through a forest or any heavily shaded area with trees.
The reasons aren’t fully understood, but it’s one of those things that just work like homemade chicken noodle soup.
28) Keep Track of Your Mood, Learn about what Triggers You & Does it Hurt Your Mental Health?
Along with keeping a daily journal, you should also be logging your mood and possible triggers.
Your goal should be to maintain a positively neutral mood, one that is not angry or depressed at all times.
Yes, many people are masters at creating a façade with their emotions, but being true to yourself is one of the most essential ways to support mental health.
Avoid self-destructive traits and people that lead you down the spiral of worry, anger, or sadness.
29) Get a Pet (or visit animals at the zoo)
Many people have no idea what they’re missing by not having a pet.
If you live all alone in the apartment, away from friends and family, more than ever having a pet as a companion can make a huge difference.
Pets can help you with coping with the debilitating symptoms of depression, can offer a serious mood boost, and just make life much more fun to live.
You don’t need to purchase a bit from an expensive breeder either, as there are many pets just waiting to be adopted at your local shelter.
Just how many pets mean the world to their owners, you mean the world to them.
30) Fall in Love With Your Hobbies
When is the last time you picked up a hobby or could say that you practiced your hobby?
Sadly, many people give up on their hobbies the minute they become adults.
However, what they do not understand is the fact that they are fundamentally giving up on something that they have a passion for, or which makes them feel good.
We understand that being married, having kids, and having a high responsibility job can make life seem overwhelming, but unless you can truly say that there are things that make you happy and make you look forward to, you will go to the motions of life feeling stressed, depressed and wondering if it’s truly worth it.
No amount of material possessions can replace a hobby that you are truly passionate about.
31) Talk to Someone About Your Feelings, Even If They Are Strangers Online
The Internet can be compared to when prehistoric man discovered fire. It can be an extremely useful tool, but can just as quickly create wildfires.
The Internet can be considered a treasure trove of beneficial information, forums with like-minded individuals, and even chat groups designed so that you have someone to talk to when you need it most.
Remember, not everyone has someone that they can talk to when you need it most – the Internet can make this possible.
32) Join A Club Or Organization That You’d Like To Be Part Of
There are many people that find joy in joining a club with other members that share similar values and passions.
This can be a local committee, a sports club, or a bigger organization that can make meaningful change in the things that matter to you.
Being able to socialize with other people in itself is a major victory for anyone dealing with mental health disorders, along with getting gratifying work done.
33) Write Journal Entries, Letters To Yourself, Or Make Lists For Future Reference
Having a journal is an excellent tool for reference, especially when there are so many things going on in your life that it’s hard to keep track.
Do you find yourself having a bad day almost every Thursday?
Refer to your journal to see what are some of the possible activities that may be causing this.
In like manner, you should also document your feelings – think of it as writing a letter to your younger self.
In the future when you look back on these you will thank yourself for doing this as it helps you gain a deeper understanding of your own unconscious inner workings.
34) Get Creative – Paint, Play Music, Or Do Something More Expressive In Nature
Even the most uncreative person has a creative outlet just waiting to be discovered.
Given, it might not be as glamorous as putting to paper, but it might be something like playing music, singing, making furniture and the list goes on.
Heck even trimming the hedges in ornate patterns is creative!
Being able to make something, regardless of how insignificant it might seem, is a great accomplishment and something to be truly proud of.
Be sure to display them as your trophies, and see how far you’ve come over the years.
35) Get Outside of your Comfort Zone
There is a saying that if you keep doing what you’re doing, you continue to get what you get.
What that means is that if you are unhappy, or feel like you’re settling for mediocrity, you must push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Many people absolutely know that they should exercise, but do they actually do it?
The result is the same unhealthy feeling.
Start simple – after dinner, take a walk around your block.
Or, go up and down your flight of stairs five times.
It may seem insignificant when looking at the bigger picture, but your goal here is to cultivate positive habits.
36) Put One Foot in Front of the Other and Keep Going! (AKA walk it out)
It’s hard to get anywhere in life being in a stationary position.
You must keep going. This can be taken literally to just stay moving, or not letting disappointments destroy your motivation and define the rest of your life.
But back to walking – it really is an effective booster.
Want to make it even better? Go running.
The runner’s high is real and can make you feel on top of the world with the rush of endorphins flooding your body.
37) Give Back and Volunteer Your Time — You Just Might Save a Life!
Volunteering your time to do counseling, support groups or just positive outreach is one of the most gratifying acts you can do in your life.
You don’t have to volunteer and do this alone, any organization that makes a meaningful change in the world will do.
Volunteer at that animal shelter if you’re an animal lover, or join an environmental group with the aim of beautifying their city.
You will feel proud to have helped accomplish a goal on a grander scale than one person alone.
38) Eat Foods with Vitamins & Minerals
Eating often enough is step one, but step two is ensuring that the foods you consume are highly nutritious, and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
Take for instance the fact that B vitamins play important roles in the metabolism of food, and contribute to mental sharpness.
Minerals, such as iodine, magnesium, and iron all play a part in the regulation of mood and hormone production, which tie into a favorable mental state.
And last, but not least is to ensure that you consume sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Proteins are important for forming the covering over nerve cells, carbohydrates for producing energy, and fats being a primary component of brain tissue.
39) Set Goals and Achieve Them
- Can you honestly say that you set goals?
- Or more precisely, attainable goals?
Setting goals is great in theory, but it’s really not as simple as it seems.
Yes, ever since you were little you’ve been instructed to set your goals high above the stars, but what happens when you’re unable to meet them?
You end up (your parents, or other well-meaning individuals) feeling inadequate, like a failure or just not good enough.
Instead, it is much more practical to set extremely small goals and hit it out of the park every time.
You’re trying to get fit?
Count walking an extra block as a victory, not a failure because you really want to do five.
Every time you hit your goal, you come that much closer to hitting the next one and cultivating a positive habit.
Remember, setting the goal is just as important as attaining it.
40) Use Your Logic More Than your Emotions
It’s an argument as old as time immemorial; should you listen to your heart or your head?
Given, emotional thinkers are often viewed as warm, and easy to communicate with.
Logical thinkers, on the other hand, may seem brash and cold.
However, time and time again the ones who seem to be unfairly taking advantage are our emotional thinkers.
So what should you do?
We’re not advocating for you to turn stone cold, but every decision you make should consider both aspects.
This is especially important when you need to be the unbiased third party, who should not show favor.
41) Accept Who You Are
Accepting who you are isn’t as easy as it seems. In fact, not being comfortable with who you have to be the primary driver of insecurity, anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorders.
Feelings such as being too fat, being too thin, not having the money to possess the same things that your friends have, not being pretty/handsome enough, or more recently – not being muscular enough, cannot negatively affect mental health and pave the way for eating disorders.
Anorexia and bulimia are two such disorders that are often times hard to defeat unless an individual ultimately accepts who they are and attempts to make meaningful change.
42) Increase Privacy By Creating “Alone Zones” Where People Can Take Time For Themselves Without Feeling Self-Conscious Or Interrupted
Are there times when you feel the need to just be left alone?
There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, all healthy people strive for this.
Oftentimes, this need arises when you need to think things through, or when you feel mentally overloaded and need a break away from it all.
Taking alone time does not make you selfish, or weak, but strong enough to be able to recover without infringing on anyone else’s toes.
43) Celebrate Successes Together And Focus On What Went Right Rather Than What Went Wrong
Truth be told, there aren’t many people in the world that are genuinely happy for others’ success.
This could be because the green-eyed monster that lives beneath the shadow of each of us rears its ugly head every time, or simply because other people succeeding tends to magnify how much of a failure you are.
The key is still to celebrate success but to also surround yourself with people that are happy to celebrate yours.
This means surrounding yourself with people that are highly successful, yet not entitled or stuck up.
This way, you have a motivating social setting that can also share with you positive steps to help you achieve the same.
This is one of the ways that high-level motivational speakers squeeze potential out of attendees, by grouping together individuals that are happy to celebrate each other’s success.
44) Listen To Music That Makes You Happy
Music can profoundly affect your mood almost as nothing else can.
Depending on the type of music you listen to, feelings can range from agitated, to euphoric, to sad, or optimistic.
And yes, you don’t need to listen to happy-go-lucky music 24 seven.
It’s okay to listen to music that will help you achieve the mood that you want, or when you just need to relax and calm your overworked mind and body.
45) Pamper Yourself By Taking A Bath Filled With Epsom Salt And Essential Oils
A shower can be reinvigorating, but do you know what feels even better?
A nice long warm bath in your bathtub with soothing essential oils and Epsom salts.
Chamomile, lavender, and hints of mint are soothing and relaxing, just what you need after a long day at work.
Epsom salts not only act as exfoliating agents but to have detoxifying properties of their own when left on the body as a soak.
46) Look At Pictures Of Happy Moments From The Past Or Take Photos Of What Makes You Smile Now
Memories are priceless, but the problem is, they tend to fade over time.
There’s nothing wrong with you when this occurs.
We inherently have different memory formation patterns and tend to use retention at different rates.
This means that not because you cannot remember what color the tablecloth was at a memorable dinner, does that mean that the other attending parties are not cared deeply for.
This is why photographs are so great.
The simple visual cues can help a flood of memories cascade back; from the dusty carpets on the ground to the noisy kids that were seated behind you.
They make you laugh, they make you cry, but most of all they help you to reminisce about the precious time during which you felt happy.
47) Laughing Loudly Will Bring About Positive Emotions Instantly!
Where your mental and emotional health is concerned, laughter remains the best medicine.
Not only does genuine laughter and events endorphins that boost mood, but it also burns calories and can help open your airways.
This means improved airflow and oxygenation of cells.
But of course, depression is not the absence of laughter, so don’t confuse laughter with the absence of a mental health disorder.
48) Eat More Omega-3 Rich Foods
The importance of consuming omega-3 fatty acids has come to the forefront in recent years, pointing out the fact that most diets are severely deficient in this nutrient.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for brain health, as they are highly concentrated in brain tissue.
Omega 3 can help to stabilize cell membranes and have a positive impact on managing anxiety, depression, and sleep.
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are excellent foods to get omega-3 from, in addition to walnuts which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids too.
Maintaining the optimal balance of Omega 3 to 6 fats can also support hormonal balance and a healthy nervous system.
49) Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the most forgiving sweet treats on the planet.
Not only does the rich, creamy texture satisfy your sweet tooth, but, ensuring that you only consume dark chocolate which contains more than 70% dark cocoa solids content ensures that you receive a treasure trove of nutrients.
One of the main ones has to be a flavonoid by the name of epicatechin.
This compound strongly acts as an antagonist against cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone.
Being able to control this hormone means that the elevation of other hormones which trigger anxiety, depression, and mood swings can also be kept in check.
In addition to this, studies show that some of the chemicals in chocolate (phenylethylamine& anandamide) can stimulate feelings of emotional well-being and a positive mood.
This is because chocolate contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin for a positive mood.
50) Do Some Yoga
Yoga is a great low-impact workout that builds flexibility and patience.
Away from the hectic pace of standard workouts, yoga is perfect for helping you to destress when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
51) Keep In Touch With Your Doctor
In some cases, your primary care provider may need to recommend specific supplements or medication that can help you with coping techniques for mental illnesses more easily.
A Mental health professional will not only do that but also offers emotional support at times you may need it most.
Improving your mental and emotional health is not an impossible task, although it does require you to constantly work towards it and remain focused.
A good support system will help improve your overall well-being and having someone that understands you make you feel like you have self-worth.
Start implementing some of the tips we mentioned above- your mental health will thank you for it the sooner you get started!