There was a point in time not too long ago when mental health was treated as an afterthought.
People simply didn’t take it seriously enough.
Thankfully, folks seem to be far more aware these days about how critical mental health is to your overall well-being.
So if you want to thrive in life, I mean really thrive and succeed, not just in the financial sense, you should start prioritizing your mental health.
And to get truly healthy, it all starts with your mundane, day-to-day habits.
Let’s get to it!
1) Mindfulness and meditation
This is no longer just new-age psychobabble.
Not a bad deal, huh?
It allows you to be fully present in the moment, not worrying excessively about the past, the future, and things out of your control–a trap many of us frequently fall into.
The thing about mindfulness is that it encourages a non-reactive mentality, allowing you to respond to situations with clearness and peace rather than acting impulsively.
2) Regular physical exercise
The positive effects of regular exercise on the brain are positively boundless, as I’m sure you’ve heard before.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are instant mood lifters.
You don’t have to run a marathon for it to qualify as exercise; even a brisk walk through the park with your dogs can go a long way.
Whenever I’m stressed or anxious, I will make it a point to get active.
Maybe I’ll hit the gym, maybe I’ll walk through the neighborhood, or play a game of pick-up basketball with whoever is around.
Within minutes, sometimes even seconds, I already feel better.
It’s like magic; once I break a sweat, my perspective shifts almost instantly.
3) Healthy eating
They say you are what you eat–something that very much extends to mental health.
If you’re regularly gorging on ice cream and Popeye’s chicken tenders, you will feel bloated, hyperacidity, sluggish, and guilty.
Junk food by its very nature has addictive properties to it; so the more of it we eat, the more we crave it, and the worse we feel about ourselves.
Conversely, if you are committed to changing your diet, you can fully expect some significant changes in your mental state too.
So focus on a balanced diet rich with nutrients.
Seek out food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
When you eat well, you feel good.
When you change your diet expect a boost in brain health and a drastically improved mood.
4) Adequate sleep
People tend to take the importance of sleep for granted.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, when you’re lacking sleep, you might feel a bit cranky or morose.
And vice versa.
When you’ve had a full night’s rest, you wake up with a spring in your step.
A regular sleep schedule and a sleep-friendly environment can enhance your mental alertness and emotional well-being.
So don’t just look at sleep as merely a routine of the day, consider bedtime a ritual.
Good sleep heals the soul, rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit.
5) Keep a gratitude journal
You may feel down on your luck from time to time–and maybe disappointed or downtrodden after an unfortunate incident.
This is completely normal–so allow those feelings to sink in.
But once you start dwelling on them for prolonged periods, this can become problematic, leading to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and self-loathing.
Two days ago, I arrived in Paris for my first holiday in years, and that afternoon, I got pickpocketed.
I lost cash, my credit cards, and my IDs, among other things.
For a few hours, I was positively devastated, beating myself for allowing that to happen.
But later that evening, when I came across my gratitude journal, my perspective shifted.
Although the inconvenience of getting mugged was not ideal, I realized that I could have been in worse circumstances.
There are millions and millions of people out there who are starving, who can’t feed their families, and who have lost sons and daughters in war or genocide.
It’s all relative.
When you put pen to paper, and can tangibly read through the good things in your life, this can have an incredibly powerful effect.
So take a few minutes each to write down the things you’re grateful for; this practice can shift your focus from negative to positive in no time.
6) Maintain social ties
No man or woman is an island.
Being the lone wolf and going through life on your own can sound cool in theory–but the reality is that maintaining healthy social interactions, and knowing you have people you can fall back on emotionally during the inevitable times of strife is priceless.
These feelings of isolation will only reinforce any lingering negative thoughts and feelings.
Make it a point to regularly reach out to friends, family, or even pets. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
7) Limit your screen time
When I find myself doom-scrolling through reels, sometimes for an hour at a time, and I finally break free from the digitally-induced trance, I feel numb and empty, almost like I’m in a catatonic state.
Social media has some good aspects, but too much of it can bring you down, reducing your productivity and increasing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Social media, with its infinite mindless content, can suck you into a black hole, the deeper you go, the harder the curse is to break.
So be wary of the time you spend on your screens.
Set time limits, you’ll be far happier in the long run.
8) Engage in self-care
As a society, we’ve been conditioned to have the same routine: wake up, go to work, go to the bar, go home, eat, sleep. Repeat.
You’re not getting the most out of life through this level of monotony.
Sometimes, you have to claim your independence and be a bit selfish.
Break the cycle.
Take regular time to engage in activities that make you feel good and bring you joy.
This can mean reading, taking long, warm baths, listening to music, watching a great film, doing some yoga–or any other hobby that relaxes you and gives you respite from the rigors of daily life.
9) Seek professional help when needed
Nobody is perfect.
Don’t give into the stigma that seeking outside help to deal with mental or emotional issues makes you less of a person.
Because the truth is that the opposite is true, you have the self-awareness to realize that there’s an issue and you’re taking proactive steps to rectify it.
So don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional if you’re struggling and you feel you need it.
Therapy can be an invaluable tool for managing mental health issues–something I know from experience.
The fact that you’re reading this now means that you’ve made the first and perhaps most crucial step: realizing that your mental health matters.
Once you start practicing the above daily habits, even if they may not immediately feel natural or easy, you’ll notice tangible changes.
It’s only a matter of time.
And when you’re in tip-top shape mentally, you’ll be a force in this world.
Soon, there will be no stopping you. You got this.
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