7 Daily Habits to Improve Your Mental Health

Just as with the body, supporting mental health requires consistent good habits to maintain wellbeing.

Dec 1, 2019

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Everyone wants to be as physically healthy as we can. That means seeing a doctor when you are ill, eating the right foods, and exercising. Part of overall health is mental health and that is often overlooked.

Many people are dealing with mental health issues or know someone who does. Research shows that mental health disorders affect millions of people globally. While mental health has always been a huge issue, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.

Today, counseling services are often provided by community groups and even by SMS. Of course, the human brain is complex, making psychiatric diagnosis difficult to study and treat without the help of a trained psychiatrist. But with more and more public people opening up about their own struggles with mental health this raises the public's awareness and helps to lift the stigma surrounding mental illness.

In the meantime, you can all learn more about different ways to take care of your mental health. Incorporating routines with some of these daily habits can improve brain function while maintaining good mental health.

Seek Help from a Professional

First and foremost, if you experience symptoms of mental health, seek help from a trained professional. Psychiatrists provide urgent care for those suffering from serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and addiction.

Professionals who have a deep understanding of the physical and mental health can prescribe a management plan for treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know shows symptoms of mental health disorders, reach out to a medical professional right away. 

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Eat Lots of Brain Foods

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” That might seem obvious when it comes to your body. After all, when people eat too much of the wrong things, they gain weight in no time. Many people forget, however, that that same rule applies to their brains. So, to keep your brain functioning at its best, eat a nutritious diet. Doctors recommend brain foods to improve cognition including, fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids, berries help improve communication between brain cells, increase memory, and reduce neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline, and dark chocolate which can help keep your memory sharp.

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Daily Meditation

People have meditated for thousands of years. Although many forms exist, meditation generally involves training the mind to redirect thoughts. According to Healthline, science has given the tools to prove the tremendous benefits of the practice in reducing mental stress and anxiety

For those who have never meditated or with little experience, it can feel extremely difficult to get started. Guided meditation provides a good option for beginners. Start with a short meditation of just five minutes each day before expanding practice to longer periods. 

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Exercise

Working out doesn’t just make you look good. A study shows that exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood. It can alleviate symptoms of low self-esteem and social withdrawal. The study also found that increased fitness levels helped patients suffering from schizophrenia.

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to mean intense CrossFit sessions or rigorous obstacle courses. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise has sufficient health benefits. 

These 30 minutes need not be continuous; three 10-minute walks, like walking the dog, can be equally useful as one 30-minute walk. Your best bet for success: pick activities you actually enjoy so you will have a better chance of sticking to them on a regular basis.

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Really Facetime With Friends

In an age of devices, people spend a lot of time looking at screens as less in actual human interaction. Many people have heard of the reports warning of the dangers of spending too much time using devices, especially on social media. Cell phones and social media addictions can lead to psychological disorders according to a study published by EXCLI journal by infringing on face-to-face quality time. This leads to greater loneliness and less meaningful in-person interactions.

Meanwhile, face-to-face socializing reduces depression. Set up a lifestyle in which you have a chance to interact with friends regularly, whether that means a cup of tea with your neighbor, inviting your parents by for dinner, or going for a walk with a friend after work. In doing so, you’ll feel less lonely. If you live far away from friends and family, look for Meetup groups in your area and other networking opportunities. Frequent socializing, in-person, will help you feel supported and loved; all very good things when it comes to mental health.

 

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Make Big Changes with Small Steps

When you are ready to improve your wellbeing, you probably want everything to happen right away. But studies show that people have a better chance of making big changes with small steps. When making major lifestyle changes to care for mental health, have a little patience and start with small changes that lead to big success over time. 

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Be Kind To Yourself

Caring for your mental health is a lifelong process. Difficult things happen along the way. You won’t always stick to our goals. Throughout, you can get stuck in your head, repeating the same negative thought loop. Learn to give yourself a break, allow flexibility when trying new things, and expect yourself to make mistakes along the way. That’s how you learn, after all!

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.