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10 EVERYDAY PRACTICES FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH

Little things you can do any day to help boost your mental health.

Whether you suffer from a mental health disorder, or could just use a mental tune-up, we can all admit that we should probably be paying a little more attention to our mental health.

Our everyday lives are filled with unexpected turns of events, strict deadlines, stress and uncertainties. Sometimes we get so wound up by everything that is going on, that we forget to take time to make sure we’re actually doing okay.

With that in mind, here’s a list of my favorite everyday remedies to overcome any anxieties you may be having and boost your overall mental health.

1 – Listen to Music

Anxiety or not, music is *always* there for me. Now, I’m no scientist or therapist, nor did I ever study music in college, but as an avid listener of a vast range of music for the past 24 years, I know that music can have a significant impact on your mood. If you’ve ever listened to Drake or Adele, then you know how music can affect your mood.

In the same way “Take Care” and “Someone Like You” can make you want to sing and cry your heart out, there’s music out there that is so upbeat and positive, that just by listening to it, you’ll feel happier.

Need an energy booster? Put on some YG or Calvin Harris.

Wanna wake up in a good mood? Play “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.

Feeling powerless & need a confidence boost? You better put on that Beyonce!

Feeling slow and wanna get up and move? J Balvin and Daddy Yankee are guaranteed to get you moving.

These are just my suggestions, but I’m sure you know what music makes you smile, and whatever that music is, I encourage you to play that the next time you’re feeling blue.

2 – Sleep Well

Sleep plays a crucial role in being in a positive mental state. A lack of sleep can even cause you more anxiety than you had before. Sleep deprivation has many negative effects on you, such as impairing your ability to think clearly, making you unable to perform basic functions of your day-to-day life, and more.

Getting adequate hours of sleep is important, but making sure those hours are of good quality is important too! Some of my personal bedtime tricks I use to have a good night’s rest include having a nighttime skincare routine to feel fresh before bed, listening to a sleep meditation, making sure my room is nice and cool, and trying to stay off social media a couple of hours before sleep.

Speaking of social media, let’s move onto number 3!

3 – Minimize Your Time on Social Media

There’s no doubt there are pros to having and being on social media. You can connect with friends and family in different zip codes, interact with your favorite celebs, promote your business and even launch your career! Social media can be a great tool if you use it for these reasons, but there are people that don’t use it for positive reasons. Social media can be so toxic. It’s a place filled with haters, negativity, trolls, unrealistic standards and a network of people taking pride in their unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Personally speaking, the things I see on social media can really get me down. When that happens, I lean on a couple of quick tips to better the relationship of social media with mental health:

  • Don’t let social media be the first thing you see in the morning. Ask Siri to turn on some good music, do your morning routine, and THEN check your socials.
  • Turn off your social media notifications so you don’t feel inclined to check them whenever a notification pops up on your screen.
  • Put your social apps in a folder and place that folder in the last screen on your phone (i.e. remove your socials from your phone’s main screen).
  • Follow more positive accounts than negative accounts on IG & Twitter.
  • Don’t be afraid to hit that Do Not Disturb button. Mine is set to automatically turn on at 9:30 pm every day!

4 – Spend Time Outdoors

There are few things more peaceful than relaxing at the beach or enjoying a picnic in the park. Breathing in the fresh air is so good for your lungs and brings you a feeling of serenity. The fresh oxygen revitalizes and energizes you all the while decreasing your stress while increasing happiness.

Of course, you don’t have to be an outdoorsy person to spend time outside. I’m not telling you to road trip to Utah and hike throughout Bryce Canyon (although if you have the means to, I highly recommend it). If that’s what you’re into, by all means. But taking a walk through the neighborhood or cooling off by the beach will benefit you so much! If even that’s too much for you, opt to dine alfresco! Ditch the mood lighting inside the restaurant and enjoy your dinner or brunch on the patio. You won’t regret it!

5 – Exercise, not Extra Fries!

If you’ve ever had a really tough but good workout, then you know there are major benefits to exercising, and they aren’t all just about getting a 6-pack or a nice butt. Research has been done which actually proves that exercise triggers the release of certain chemicals that not only make you happy but which also can alleviate symptoms of depression and boost your overall mood.

When I say exercise, any physical activity will do. I like to do HIIT & targeted workouts at least 4-5 days a week, but that’s just me. You can do Yoga, walking, rowing, Zumba, weightlifting, CrossFit, swimming, or even Prancercise! There are so many workouts out there, you just gotta find the right one for you & get to it!

6 – Eat Clean & Feed Your Brain Positivity.

Eating comfort food will only comfort you for a little while until you start getting into a food coma, you’re all sluggish and you feel bloated.

Did you know certain foods are better for your mental health than others? For instance, Vitamin D, foods containing Omega-3s, leafy greens and foods rich in fiber and antioxidants are all beneficial in boosting moods and energy. Some of these foods have even been proven to help fight against depression. While you need to be feeding your body good foods, you should also make sure you’re not feeding your body bad things like alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and lots of sugar.

7 – Spend Time with Loved Ones

It’s human nature to want to feel love. I’m not just talking about romantic love, but every other kind of love. Love between family members, friends, and even pets and their owners. When we’re around people we love and who love us, we get happier and can even feel a sense of comfort and safety which will instinctively bring up our moods and better the state of our mental health.

The emotion “love” is connected to a chemical in our brain called dopamine, so when we feel love and are around people we love, that dopamine is activated and we feel a higher sense of happiness and appreciation.

8 – Productivity

Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than completing my daily task list. It makes me feel so good at the end of the day, knowing I actually accomplished something.

Slowly begin using a planner to make yourself some lists of things to do, and get to it. At first, you may find yourself not completing everything right away, but know that it will get better. Checking off your little empty boxes will give you a sense of pride and help you build up your productivity.

Also, here’s a tip about productivity that may help make you feel better about yourself.

Rather than making a list and checking it off throughout the day as you complete tasks, sit down at the end of each day and write down everything you did.

If you went to the gym, write it down. Went grocery shopping? Write it down. Worked a full shift AND came home and cooked dinner for yourself? Write that down! Unlike ordinary task lists that make you feel guilty by looking at all of the things you didn’t do that day, this new list will help you focus on all of the things you accomplished and see your productivity in a more positive light!

9 – Express Gratitude

Writing out what you’re grateful for can help you realize all of the positive aspects of your life. Although, at this point in time, you may be more focused on the negatives, the more you focus on the positives, the easier it will become for you to not sweat the negatives so much.

There are a bunch of other ways and exercises to help you practice gratitude. You can buy a journal specifically for gratitude or you can try out some of these exercises/worksheets.

10 – Do at least one thing you love every day

I don’t even need to explain this one since it’s pretty self-explanatory. Personally, I love photography, listening to music, going on walks, writing, watching movies and playing with puppies. When I’m stressing, I can always count on one of these things to lift my mood.

You know what you love. So, I challenge you to do one thing you love each day. It doesn’t have to be something huge like going to Disneyland. It could be small like listening to your favorite podcast or playing a game on your phone. Whatever it is, do it & your mental health will thank you for it later!

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