For the last few years, I have struggled with maintaining healthy mental health. There are no quick fixes for life’s biggest challenges. But when it comes to healthy mental health there are a few things you can and should be doing in your everyday life that will have a noticeable impact. I’ve put together 10 amazing and really easy healthy habits to improve your mental health. You don’t have to do them all, but the more of them you do the more of an impact they will all have.
Limit Your Caffeine
You may not realize it because coffee and caffeine, in general, is a socially acceptable addictions, but your caffeine intake is having a negative impact on your mental health. Not just because of the addiction, though there are some who would argue you should stop drinking it for that reason alone. No, I have other reasons in mind like the fact that it increases your anxiety and if you have a panic disorder you are more likely to have a panic attack.
Drink More Water
Chances are you aren’t drinking enough water. Most of us aren’t and it is having an impact on our mental health. Studies have found that drinking water has a noticeable impact on our depression and anxiety, which is to say that depression and anxiety go down when you are drinking enough water. It can also help regulate mood swings, help with difficulty concentrating and reduce panic attacks. All of these things can be caused by simply being dehydrated and drinking enough water, I aim for 8 cups a day, which can make it easier for your body to combat these problems.
Practicing gratitude isn’t always easy, but studies have shown that those who do have better mental health while also generally being happier in their lives. Why? You’re shifting your way of thinking and focusing more on the positive which in turn means that the negative has less of an impact on you. I recommend a gratitude journal to help you get started on your gratitude journey.
Are you working out every day? Enough to build up a sweat? You should be! Physical activity is a great way to work out frustrations and for many, it can be a form of meditation. It also helps you be more in tune with your own mind and body which means that it is harder for negative emotions to sneak up on you.
Take Care of Your Gut
It might seem completely random but it turns out that our gut biome plays an important role in our mental health and not just because sitting on the toilet on a bad day is soul-destroying. Your gut bacteria helps produce serotonin and helps fight depression, anxiety, and stress. How do you take care of the bacteria in your gut? Eat yogurts and other foods with probiotics, stop eating sugar, eat more fermented foods, and stop eating anything that gives you an upset stomach.
Ignore the Joneses
In the 90s we thought the idea of keeping up with the Joneses was at its peak, we had no idea about the social media disaster that was coming our way. While people don’t really say the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” anymore it has never been a bigger issue. We see people on social media with the things we want, living the lives we want and it is causing huge problems with depression. The easiest way to avoid this? Avoid social media, especially platforms like Instagram which is all about showing off what you’ve got or what you’ve done.
Learn Something New
Our brains crave new things. This is why you will sometimes get the urge to just completely rearrange your living room or why sometimes you just need to go for a drive on a rainy day. Your brain is craving new data, new stimuli. One way you can help with that is by constantly learning something new. It might be a new language or maybe you want to learn how to do underwater basket weaving. Try out a bunch of different things! You might be surprised by what you find out you enjoy.
Learn to Say No
One of the hardest things to do can be saying no and sticking with it but it is SO IMPORTANT! Trust me, I know how hard it is. People who can’t say no are constantly being pulled into doing things that they have no desire to be doing and they often end up neglecting themselves to do it. If your friendship/relationship isn’t strong enough to survive you saying no from time to time then it wasn’t a very good relationship, to begin with, and you are better off without them.
Have a Sleep Schedule and Keep It
Reliably getting sleep every night is no easy feat no matter how comfortable you are in life. But those that do manage to have a regular sleep schedule are better off for it. Not only are you making sure that you get enough sleep which helps with things like anxiety and depression, you’re also helping your brain better remember the positive memories you’ve made. Good sleep and good mental health go hand in hand so don’t neglect your sleep!
Get More Sun
Do you find yourself getting a bit more depressed during the wintertime? It isn’t just your imagination or depression caused by dreary weather. Not getting enough sun really does negatively impact your mental health and in the winter there is simply less of it. Getting sun can help fight anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders. There have even been some studies released that have shown a connection between Vitamin D, which your body primarily gets from the sun, and schizophrenia. People who live in areas of the world with less sunlight are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than those who are regularly getting sun. 15 minutes every day is all it takes to make a difference!
Listen, healthy mental health is not only important for your body but for your overall wellbeing. Get healthy mentally, you will thank yourself later!