7 behaviors that show you prioritize mental well-being over everything

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Life can feel like a constant juggling act — work, family, social life, and the ever-elusive “me time.” 

But what happens when the balls start dropping? Recently, I met someone who seems to have cracked the code.

This person radiates calmness, handles stress like a pro, and just exudes happiness. 

Intrigued, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s his secret?” So, I dug a little deeper and discovered he prioritizes his mental well-being above all else. 

Curious to know what that looks like in everyday life? 

Here are 7 behaviors that show you prioritize your mental well-being over everything else.

1) Saying “no” when necessary

Have you ever felt like saying “yes” just because you don’t want to disappoint someone, even if you know it’ll drain you? I have, and it’s exhausting.

And funnily enough, the way I met this man proved to me the importance of this first point. 

I was eager to tap into his wisdom, so I suggested a coffee meetup to pick his brain about handling stress.

He paused, looked at me sincerely, and said, “I appreciate the offer, but I can’t commit to that right now. My week is already quite full, and I need to protect my time to maintain my own well-being.”

Honestly, I was a bit taken aback at first — most people would just say yes out of politeness and then maybe flake later. But his candidness was refreshing. 

It taught me a crucial lesson: It’s okay to say “no” when you need to protect your mental energy. 

His ability to set boundaries was not a sign of rudeness or disinterest; it was a clear indicator that he prioritizes his mental well-being. And that’s a lesson we could all take to heart.

2) Prioritizing sleep

We’ve all been told that sleep is important, but how many of us actually make it a priority? I used to think burning the midnight oil was a badge of honor until I met this guy. 

We met when we were both at a mutual friend’s get-together. At around 9:30 p.m., just when things were getting lively, he started saying his goodbyes.

Curious, I asked him, “Leaving so soon?”

“Yeah,” he said, “I try to be in bed by 10 p.m. most nights. Good sleep is non-negotiable for me.”

I couldn’t help but admire his commitment. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of staying out late, especially in a social setting. But he showed me that prioritizing sleep is a conscious choice — one that significantly contributes to mental well-being.

And you know what? He looked more rested, more focused, and more at peace than anyone else in the room.

His commitment to a proper sleep routine wasn’t just about physical rest; it was a cornerstone in his mental well-being strategy. 

So the next time you’re tempted to skimp on sleep, remember: true well-being often starts with a good night’s rest.

3) Making time for self-care

Now, I’ll admit I don’t know all the details of this man’s self-care routine, but his overall demeanor speaks volumes. It got me reflecting on my own habits. 

I used to think that self-care was a luxury I couldn’t afford — between work, social commitments, and household chores, who has the time, right?

But seeing him so composed and at ease inspired me to reconsider. I started carving out “me time” in my calendar as if it were a non-negotiable meeting. 

Sometimes it’s just 15 minutes of reading or even a short walk around the block during lunchtime.

The change has been remarkable. My stress levels have gone down, my mood has improved, and — believe it or not — I’ve actually become more productive.

It made me realize that self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential for mental well-being. 

By making self-care a priority, I’ve started to experience the kind of balance and tranquility that I first noticed in him.

And guess what? You can too. Make yourself a priority, and see how everything starts to fall into place.

4) Seeking professional help

One thing that really caught my attention about this man was his open and honest approach to mental health.

During one of our conversations, he casually mentioned that he’s been seeing a psychologist for over five years. I was pleasantly surprised, and not just because he was so forthright.

Let’s face it, there’s still a bit of a stigma around mental health. Many people hesitate to admit they’re getting professional help as if it’s a sign of weakness or failure. 

But here was this man, talking about it like it was the most normal thing in the world — because it should be.

His transparency was not just refreshing; it was inspiring. It serves as a reminder that seeking professional help is a responsible and proactive step towards mental well-being. 

It challenges societal norms and breaks down barriers that prevent people from taking care of themselves.

Hearing him talk so openly gave me, and likely others who heard, the encouragement to consider professional help as not just an option, but a wise choice for maintaining mental wellness.

5) Nurturing relationships

Listening to this man speak about the people in his life gave me some serious food for thought. 

Whether he was discussing his family, friends, or girlfriend, it became evident that he placed a high value on those relationships. 

And it wasn’t just lip service; he talked about concrete strategies like showing gratitude, active listening, and setting healthy boundaries.

From what he shared, it was clear that he had taken the time to really learn about relationship-building techniques.

Of course, I don’t know him well enough to see these practices in action, but the mere fact that he openly discussed them suggests that they are an important part of his life.

In an age where it’s easy to neglect real-life connections in favor of digital ones, hearing someone speak with such dedication about nurturing relationships felt like a much-needed reminder of what’s truly important for mental well-being.

6) Physical exercise

When the topic of weekend plans came up in our conversation, he mentioned how he never misses his Saturday morning run. It’s a non-negotiable part of his week, he said. 

Now, I’m not an athlete by any means, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by his commitment to physical exercise.

For him, it wasn’t about looking good or achieving some athletic feat; it was about the mental benefits he derived from it. 

He spoke about how the run clears his mind and sets a positive tone for the rest of the weekend. 

His perspective made me realize how physical exercise isn’t just for the body — it’s also crucial for a healthy mind.

Just hearing him talk about this made me reevaluate my own exercise routine, or rather, my lack thereof.

It’s easy to underestimate the role physical activity plays in mental well-being, but this man’s example serves as a vivid reminder that your mind benefits just as much as your muscles do.

7) Being kind to yourself

Let’s be honest; we’ve all been our own worst critic at some point. The habit of berating ourselves for mistakes is all too common. 

But this man’s reaction to a similar situation was both eye-opening and inspiring. 

He had been working on a manuscript for a book contest and missed the submission deadline. This is the kind of slip-up that would send many of us spiraling into a pit of self-criticism and regret.

Instead, he talked about it with a kind of self-compassion that was both genuine and refreshing. 

He recognized that, like everyone else, he’s human and prone to making mistakes. It wasn’t about excusing the mistake, but about treating himself with the same kindness and understanding he’d offer a friend.

His ability to navigate a personal setback without self-flagellation was not just emotionally intelligent; it was also a glaring indicator of his commitment to mental well-being. 

His example made me pause and think about the ways I treat myself, reminding me that being kind to yourself is not a luxury — it’s a necessity for mental wellness.

Learning to care for your mental wellbeing

And there you have it — 7 key behaviors that show someone prioritizes their mental well-being.

From the moment I met this remarkable man, it was evident that he had figured out the delicate balancing act that is mental health. 

His example serves as a refreshing and much-needed reminder that it’s not just okay to take care of ourselves, it’s absolutely essential.

So, if you’re looking to truly live a life filled with joy, resilience, and meaning, start by adopting these behaviors into your own life.

When you prioritize your mental well-being, you’re not just surviving — you’re thriving.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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