1. Control The Media You Consume
Whether its staring at the news feed on your smartphone, watching Youtube videos, using dating apps or posting on Instagram - if you really think about it, it is undeniable that most of us have been part of this crazy social consumption frenzy for the past 10 years. And we didn't even notice 📱
Just what percentage of your life is spent consuming different types of media? And have you noticed how it influences your mood, well being and mental health?
I regularly do a “clean up” of the Instagram accounts I follow and “weed out” my friends/business pages/groups list on Facebook and other social media platforms.
I stopped following celebrity Instagram accounts that made me yearn for something I didn't have or made me feel bad about the way my body/face looks in comparison to theirs.
A lot of things you see there are not real, and even if you realize that - getting your head filled with unattainable beauty standards and feelings of being inadequate will begin to compound over time.
So my advice in regards to this is always be aware of what kind of media you consume. That includes news sites, videos you watch, movies you watch, people you follow and interact with.
Only follow accounts that inspire you and make you feel good about yourself! Or accounts that you support! Good vibes only as they say and nothing more!
Last but least - limit yourself to not more than 1.5 hours of media consumption per day. Any more than that is simply a waste of time and you know it 😉
2. Don't Be On Your Phone While Eating
If this doesn't sound like you - keep it up! But for all of you having breakfast, lunch or dinner while scrolling your screen without any particular reason - please stop! Especially if you are together with your friends and family - that just makes it plain rude and disrespectful 🚫
Don't forget that eating itself is a very pleasurable activity - food is meant to be enjoyed with all your senses, not only your taste! Food is also what keeps you alive and what keeps you healthy, so it is important to treat it with respect.
In order to that, it is important to be present and focus your attention on the process. Food should not become secondary.
So put your phone away and be grateful for the food on your plate and the many benefits it gives you 🙏🏼
3. Spend At Least 30 Min/Day Outdoors
Although I know you might have heard this tip a million times before, I am going to repeat it again - try to spend at least 30 min of your day outdoors 🏃🏼♀️
There are a number of scientifically proven benefits of going outdoors, but to mention a few:
- Being outdoors boosts your energy & immune system
- Natural sunlight helps mitigate pain
- Your vitamin D levels rise
- You'll get more exercise
- Improves concentration
- Enhances creativity
Whenever you feel lack of energy at work, instead of reaching for the 2nd cup of coffee that day, why not go outside for a quick walk around the block?
Or instead of taking the bus - why not go to work on foot? It might take a while longer to get there, but it will positively benefit your mental and physical health in the long run.
Although we are all busy running errands and living our lives - I am sure that there is a way for you to get outside everyday!
4. Sweat It Out
A good 30-45 min workout (at least 3-5 days a week) can do wonders for your body and your mental health.
When it comes to your physical health - exercise is the ultimate way of being on top of your game! It helps you control your weight, strengthens your muscles & bones, reduces risk of heart disease and different cancer types, regulates blood pressure, improves your sleep and the list goes on!
Exercise also plays a vital role in your mental health and emotional well-being.
During exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. In addition to that, your body also releases proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain. This keeps your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age.
If you are having a crappy day at work or you can't seem to concentrate on your assignments - try going for a run or do some quick exercises in between! It can really turn things around and boost your energy levels significantly!
Exercise has always been a big part of my everyday life, so I am the biggest advocate for the many benefits it offers. I run at least 4-5 miles a day (I am always aiming to get 10k steps daily) and I regularly go to the gym to work on my upper and lower body muscle groups 💪🏼
Another major benefit I would like to point out is that exercise helps you improve your self-esteem, which is another huge factor that affects your mental health.
When you begin to exercise regularly, you start to gain confidence. And as you become more confident, you develop a more positive outlook of life and are always ready to face new challenges.
So what are you waiting for? “Just Do It!”
5. Have Sex
Sex may not be a cure-all for everything (though I wish it were) — but it can definitely have a measurably positive impact on your mood, mental health and physical health all at once.
Just like exercise, sex (or sexercise if you will) can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase your overall levels of happiness 🙌🏼
While the levels of feel-good hormones and chemicals that get released during sex (dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin) increase, the level of cortisol, the primary stress hormone - lowers. More sex = less stress! Isn't that great?
Sex is also a great way to take your mind off things that are currently happening in your life. In other words - sex makes you more present in the moment and connected with your partner in a much more intimate way than on a regular basis.
If you are single, partnerless or saving yourself for marriage - no problem! Masturbating comes along with pretty much the same set of benefits. Plus, since you’re getting it on solo, you won’t risk unplanned pregnancies or contracting STDs.
Is there anything else I need to say to convince you?
6. Organize Your Living Space
“A tidy home makes for a tidy mind” they say and there are many reasons why this life philosophy actually works 🧹
Although I am the type of person that tends to get messy from time to time, I have noticed how differently I feel and can perform (I work from my home most of the time, although I guess that is what everyone is doing these days anyways) if the environment around me is well organized instead of being unpleasant and messy.
If you are constantly surrounded with an overwhelming amount of clutter, your mind will start to mimic the physical space you are living in. Having too many items crowded around you can also be very distracting, thus, you will need to concentrate harder to get a task done.
In its essence - being messy is a habit. One that is very hard to break.
Your bad habits can put pressure on the relationships with people you live with (e.g. your family, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend), especially if they feel like they need to “pick up after you”.
Being messy can also put pressure on you, as anytime there are sudden guests coming over, you are stressing out and trying to clean the mess in a mini-panic mode because you don't want to feel embarrassed about your messy home.
It is also good to keep in mind that if you have children, they will probably pick up on the bad habits you have formed over the years. And that's something you don't want to happen, do you? It works out much better if you teach your kids about the importance of a tidy home from an early age by showing a good example, not a bad one.
So remember - your home should be a serene place of sanctuary which is always organized, calming and relaxing. Never underestimate the power of a clean and organized environment - positive effects on your well-being, relationships and state of mind are likely to happen 👍🏼
7. Connect With Your Friends And Family Regularly
Several studies have proven and suggested that meaningful relationships is a key component to a meaningful life and increased levels of overall happiness.
Humans are social creatures and particularly dependent on social living. Even the biggest introverts out there still have social relationships with at least a couple of important people in their lives and they would not be able to survive on their own. We are all connected and that is how it should be!
Having a social relationship with someone we consider close to us boosts our happiness and reduces our stress levels. It significantly improves our self-confidence and self-worth.
Whether it's someone from your family, a friend or a partner - these people help us grow, support and encourage us and are there for us when we need them the most 🥰
These people will help us overcome life's obstacles and help us deal with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one. These people often encourage us to change for the better and avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Keeping in touch with the people near and dear to you is super important, especially in these crazy times of a global pandemic which has made such a huge difference in our social lives and daily interactions.
But don't let that stop you from connecting with your friends and family! Send them a message, call them, organize a group call or meet them in person (taking into account all the safety procedures, of course) - but don't become isolated from the outer World!
8. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
So you think you are doing it enough, but are you? Are you? Really?💧
What I mean with hydrate here is drinking at least 2l of water, not just one glass of water, 2 cups of coffee and a few glasses of wine in the evening. Nope, just plain old water.
When your body is dehydrated, you lack energy, can get muscle pain and headache, and you are more prone to feelings of sadness, nervousness and anxiety. Not to mention all the sad internal organs that would really appreciate you drinking the recommended amount of water every day.
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. Your brain, your heart, your muscles and your skin all consist mainly of water. It is even in your bones!
So does this sound like a good enough proof for why you probably need to drink more of it?
9. Make Healthy Food Decisions
Now I know that food is often something people don't really want to talk about. We all have our individual preferences, eating habits and financial constraints that influence our decisions on what we buy and how we consume 🌮
I get it! But one thing I know for sure - eating healthy will make you feel better, look better and your body and digestive system will forever appreciate your efforts and care!
Healthy foods give you a lot of valuable nutrition and vitamins which are very important in order for your body and mind to function properly. Your body will inevitably reflect the food choices you make.
For example, if you eat too much sugar, saturated fats and food filled with chemical ingredients, your body will store fat where you least want it to, your teeth will get damaged, your face might get covered in pimples, your hair and nails will become brittle and the list goes on.
Although it is usually not possible to change your diet overnight, what I can suggest is that Instead of focusing on eliminating all of the “bad/unhealthy” food that you consume, simply try adding more healthy food to your diet 🍎
As you begin to add healthier food options to your diet, your body will slowly start to detach itself from unhealthy foods. And before you know it, you will start to crave healthy food! It all goes down to our eating habits and very often the food we eat most is the food that you crave the most!
10. Listen To Music
Music is a powerful thing. Apart from its entertainment value, listening to music is known to have incredible positive effects on our brain 🎵
Music increases memory, retention and maximizes learning capabilities. You have probably heard about the positive effects of listening to classical music and why some people do it while studying for their exams or working on assignemnts, right? Well that is exactly because this type of music (instrumental, classical, ambient) improves your focus which helps you perform different activities.
Music also affects your mood and motivation. You know those songs you turn as load as you can and then sing and dance to like noone is watching? Jap, those are the ones that usually uplift you, elevate your mood and empower you to the max ⚡
So don't be afraid to experiment with different genres of music - some might uplift you and give you that extra energy boost you so desperately need (workout music), while other types of music can reduce your stress levels and help you fall asleep much quicker (ambient and mediation music).
11. Schedule “Me time”
I absolutely love “Me time” and can't stress how important it is for your mental and emotional well-being. Time spent focusing on yourself will help you recharge, reflect on yourself and make your day just a tiny bit more harmonious 😌
In its essence it is a very simple activity - all you have to do is take at least 20 min of your day just for yourself. During those 20 minutes or more do whatever you want and whatever makes you happy.
Read a book, practice yoga, sing, dance, paint, watch your favorite show or simply relax - find time to isolate yourself from the World and start appreciating your own company.
You see we spend so much time worrying about the people around us, our kids, our jobs, our school and studies, that we often forget to be good to ourselves.
So go ahead - schedule a daily appointment with yourself and don't let anyone interfere with it! Capich?
12. Read Books
Reading books is overall one of the best mental stimulation practices you can do 📚
Each book that you read is an opportunity to learn something new. You can expand your vocabulary, exercise your brain, gain new knowledge and information, increase wellness, lower stress, and discover something new about yourself along the way.
I read books on a regular basis. I prefer to do it before going to sleep, while traveling (e.g. on a plane, in a car, on a bus) or while sunbathing and chilling on the beach.
Although I prefer reading physical books over their digital versions, I must admit that having a Kindle does make reading (especially if traveling) a lot more easy and available.
I constantly add new books to my reading list and I am sure that there is no way I would ever run out of options.
You can follow up on all the latest book trends online or if that's not for you - maybe it's better to stick with the classics! Either way - there are so many books out there, so all you have to do is find the ones you would enjoy reading the most!
13. Learn Something New
As children we were encouraged to learn something new every day. We did experiments at school, took part in extracurricular activities, joined cultural organizations and were never afraid to try out something new.
But once you reach adulthood and often get sucked into the daily routine of a 9-5 job and all the other “adult” responsibilities, somehow learning new things is not a priority anymore.
But it shouldn't be like that. “Brain is like a muscle” and just like other muscles, you have to exercise the brain what you can do by learning new things 🧠
Among the many benefits of learning new things (exercising your brain, acquiring new skills, meeting like-minded people etc.), one of the biggest benefits of it all is that it builds your self-esteem.
Practice makes perfect, and when we see ourselves mastering new knowledge and skills, we build self-esteem and become more and more confident in our abilities.
Plus it is just what life is all about, hey! New experiences are what motivate us and inspire us! So my advice to everyone is - never stop learning!
14. Journal Your Feelings
Whether it's good feelings or bad feelings, it's always nice to be able to express them in one way or another. It's good to have people around that you know you can trust and talk to, but it is not always possible this way.
Sometimes these people are so busy with their lives that they simply don't have the time to be with you and support you. Maybe they are away on a holiday or have moved to a different country. Maybe they are going through something of their own.
There are also occasions where you might feel that people (even the ones close to you) won't understand you, they might criticize you and judge you and ultimately make you feel worse.
In cases like this the best person you can open up to is actually yourself! Who knew?
A great way to do this is getting yourself a journal where you can write down exactly what you are going through and exactly how you feel 📝
Be real with yourself - don't need to sugarcoat anything! Just write everything as it is, let the words flow naturally!
Expressing your feelings and thoughts through writing is a great way to release your emotions, rather than just dealing with it all in your head. It will make you calmer and allow you to gather your thoughts.
As you go further, a journal can help you reflect, make sense and see the “bigger picture” of everything you have been going through. All of this is necessary for you to grow and move on!
15. The Power Of Scent
As mentioned before in the section of this article called “Organize your living space” - the environment you're in has a direct impact on you and your overall well being.
Knowing that, there are a number of ways in which you can improve it and make it a lot nicer and harmonious than it currently is.
One ways of doing this is by introducing elements of aromatherapy into your home.
Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
Depending on the type of oils you choose to use, most popular health claims associated with these include relieving stress, improving mood, reducing anxiety as well as being used to treat headaches, nausea, and skin conditions.
Although some of the health claims associated with these oils are controversial, the essential oils market has been exponentially growing over the last couple of years.
If you believe in the power of smell - why not give it a try? Try using essential oil induced candles at first to see if you like it, and afterwards you can find out more information about the many different ways you can implement them into your daily life.
16. Turn Off Unnecessary Notifications
I guess most of us have already done some work in this department, but nevertheless, I am here to remind you exactly why it is a good idea to turn off all the unnecessary notifications you get bombarded with on a daily basis.
First of all - notifications ruin your productivity. As you constantly hear the “Ping!” sound coming from your phone or the vibration in your pocket - you get distracted from whatever it is that you are doing at that particular moment.
It is especially bad when you are performing important tasks, working or studying, because research studies show that it takes around 15-20 min to get back into the “work mode” once you have been distracted. And that is no efficient way of getting things done…
But improving your productivity isn't the only reason you may want to consider blocking those pesky attention-suckers ⛔ Turning them off can make you overall calmer, decrease your stress and anxiety levels and just make you more present to the World around you.
I am sure that you would be able to successfully audit your notification settings and make sure to turn off the ones that don't really service you in any way! Give it a go and see for yourself!
17. Be Grateful Every Day
I must admit that I myself picked up this habit/practice just a couple of months ago, and although I was being sceptic in the beginning, I can honestly say that ever since I picked up this mindfulness practice, I have felt a huge improvement in my mental well being 😌
A growing body of research shows there are many psychological (and physical!) benefits to being grateful, including feeling happier and lowering stress, depression and anxiety.
Gratitude promotes optimism and helps us to develop a more positive outlook on life. It is a way of cultivating a genuine appreciation for what we already have, instead of always thinking about what we don't have.
The way I do it is very simple - every night before sleep I lay down on my bed, take a couple of deep breaths and list down a couple of things I am grateful for that occurred during the day.
Because it is true - you can always find things to be grateful for! For me it is a way I am thanking the Universe for providing me with great opportunities, resources and the time to create the life I want. Try it our for at least 30 days and I promise you - you will begin to notice some changes!
18. Plan Out Your Day
This simple, yet effective task can be great help in order to start your day right!
Having a clear plan and a list of tasks you need to accomplish throughout your day is a great way to stay on track and be more productive 🗓️
I usually create a list of all the tasks I need to do for the upcoming day the night before. I write 2-3 priority tasks (the most important ones for the next day) at the top of my list and I know that these are the ones I will have to complete 100% (unless there is a force major or anything that else that interferes with my plans).
If I manage to complete these - I am happy and satisfied with myself. If I can squeeze in the remaining tasks and accomplish them as well - even better and I feel like I am “on fire”!🔥
Although I can't promise you that by doing this you will be able to accomplish more, it will definitely help you keep your focus, prioritize and there is less possibility of you forgetting to do something. Don't forget that planning is key element to success! 💯
19. Sleep Well
Although we know that sleeping is as essential as eating, drinking and breathing, we often try to go “around it” and trade this activity as it might seem like a waste of time and productivity 😴
The new “mantra” of living is all about "getting as much s#it done as physically and mentally possible". We are all so busy trying to squeeze in everything life has to offer and not waste any precious time along the way.
However, you need to realize that “sacrificing” your sleep will only harm your overall life quality and well-being in the long run. And that is simply not worth the risk, my friend! 🚫
Now you probably know that during sleep your body and brain repairs, heals and restores the necessary energy in order to function properly.
It strengthens your immune system and directly links to several brain functions such as concentration, productivity and cognition.
People who try to decrease their amount of sleep to 4-5 hours a night need to step back and realize that this “new habit” can cause serious damages to all of these areas of health.
Even if they don't seem to feel the changes or any negative effects straight away, in the long run the body will start to struggle and there is risk of “breaking down” when you least expect it.
Some of the most serious potential problems associated with constant sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke.
More and more young people die because of this and the statistics get worse as time goes on. Think about that the next time you go several days in a row with less sleep than recommended!
Alright, and to finish up this wonderful blog article about the 20 daily habits for improving your mental health, we have come to meditation.
The popularity of meditation in recent years has increased significantly as more people discover its many health benefits.
You can use mediation to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.
Meditation also has positive effects on self-discipline, self-image, healthy sleep patterns, positive mood and outlook and even increases pain tolerance.
One of the advantages of the practice is that most forms of mediation don't require specialized equipment or space. You can practice mediation anytime and pretty much anywhere.
To sum it up - trying out a style of mediation that is suited to your goals is a great way to improve your overall quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day 👍🏼
All images from Unsplash