We’ve all heard the phrase “new year, new me!” When January rolls around, so many of us can be tempted to scrap the past year’s mistakes and dive headfirst into all the ways we are going to change and improve our lives! But it’s inevitable that nearly 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by February every year. Are you still on track with your 2023 goals?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew! In today’s blog post, I am sharing 10 habits you can implement today to improve your mental health. The best part – they are quick to do and don’t require you to change who you are.
Habit #1: Practicing Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is a simple yet powerful habit that can significantly improve your mental health. When you focus on the things you are thankful for, it shifts your attention away from negative thoughts and feelings. Expressing gratitude boosts dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters in the brain that improve your mood immediately, giving you those positive feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well-being. Make it a habit to write down three things you are grateful for each day, or take a few minutes before bed to reflect on the things that made you feel grateful throughout the day. We love to incorporate the 5 minute journal and peacefully productive journal in our morning routine to help us take a few minutes to focus on gratitude.
Habit #2: Setting Goals that Align With Your Values
Setting goals that align with your values can also improve your mental health. Our values can help direct our choices and behavior in helpful ways – they help us figure out what to do. When you set goals that align with your values, you are more likely to feel motivated and fulfilled. Take some time to reflect on your values and set goals that align with them.
Habit #3: Pick One Day Of The Month To Focus On Handling Avoidance Tasks
Pick a day of the month where you focus on handling avoidance tasks. Avoidance tasks are the things we tend to put off, like cleaning the house or doing laundry. By picking a specific day to focus on these tasks, you can break the cycle of procrastination and reduce stress.
Habit #4: Take a 10 Minute Mental Health Walk At Least 2x A Week
Taking 10-minute mental health walks twice a week is a great way to clear your mind, reduce stress and improve your mood. Studies show that walking pushes your brain to release endorphins, which are known to help lighten your mood and build some positive emotions throughout your body. Walking helps boost your mood because it increases blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and body. Make it a habit to take these either outside or on a treadmill weekly!
Habit #5: Eat & Drink Water Before Having Coffee
By starting your morning with a shot of espresso, iced coffee, or cup of black coffee, you impact your body’s natural ability to regulate and function. Drinking coffee in the morning before eating anything can disrupt regular cortisol function; in some cases causing cortisol to spike at unpredictable times, and in others, creating a situation where cortisol levels (i.e., stress levels) remain constantly high. Coffee can dehydrate you, which lead to feelings of fatigue and irritability.
By drinking water before having coffee, you can improve your mood, have more energy, reduce brain fog and reduce the urge to reach for sugary, carb-infused energy bites later in the day. Save your caffeine fix for after breakfast and plan to start your day with a nutritious snack or meal instead . This simple act can help you make better meal choices throughout the day and keep your energy high as you go about your daily activities.
Habit #6 Schedule Alone Time 15-30 minutes Every Day
Alone time is important for self-care and can help you recharge without the pressures and judgments others may impose. Having time to yourself is critical for growth and personal development. Instead of worrying about the needs, interests, and opinions that others may have, alone time lets you focus on yourself. Use this time to do something you enjoy, like reading a book or taking a bath.
Habit #7: Set Your Phone To Charge Away From Your Sleep Area,
Setting your phone to charge away from your sleep area, and putting it away 30-45 minutes before you head to sleep is one of my favorite new habits! By doing this, you will ensure you rest better. The blue light emitted from phones and other electronic devices can interfere with your sleep. By setting your phone away, you can reduce the impact of this blue light on your sleep and fall asleep faster.
Habit #8: Journal Daily
Journaling helps control symptoms and improve your mood by: helping you prioritize your problems, fears, and concerns. Journaling can also assist in recognizing triggers and learning ways to better control them. Journaling is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings. Take a few minutes each day to write down your thoughts!
Habit #9: Write A To Do List
Write a to-do list by asking yourself what you can do today that will make tomorrow better. By using this method you are constantly thinking about your future self! These lists will help you focus on the things that are most important and reduce feelings of overwhelm.
Habit #10: Check In with Yourself (i.e. monthly reset or weekly check-in)
Check in with yourself by doing a monthly reset routine or weekly reset check-in. Reflecting on your mental and emotional state, will allow for you to recognize and make any necessary adjustments to your habits and routines. Checking in with yourself means carving out time each day to ask yourself how you’re doing. In this space, you can sort out your emotions, assess your physical and emotional needs, and make an intentional plan on how to address these needs moving forward.
Implementing these simple mental health habits can help you improve your overall well-being and lead a happier and healthier life. Remember to be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if you need it. Which of these habits can you start implementing today?
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