Habits

8 Simple Mental Health Habits to Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Did you know that according to a Duke University study, 45% of our days are automatic? Meaning, almost half of our day is in the default setting, driven by everyday habits. You can probably imagine why it’s important to be sure those habits are positive and lead to success and happiness. 

Sean Covey, an American author who discusses the importance of positive habits says, “Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” 

So how can you add simple, positive habits into your everyday life?  Read on for 10 new habit ideas and how to start them TODAY! 

1. Have a Morning Routine

Research shows that your mood in the morning impacts your entire day. One way to set yourself up for happiness throughout the day is the start with positive habits in your morning routine.

Open the Blinds - This may sound silly, but one way to improve sleep is by regulating and helping your circadian rhythm. By opening the blinds in the morning, your body will get the hint that sleep is over and melatonin and other sleep chemicals will decrease. 

Make Your Bed - In retired Navy SEAL William H. McCraven’s book Make Your Bed: Little Things that can Change Your Life, and Maybe the World, he explains the impact small things can have on you and others. McCraven explains that making your bed is a small victory that gives a sense of accomplishment early in the day. 

Meditate - Meditation is engaging in a mental practice for reflection and attaining a higher level of calm, awareness, and intention. Meditation is a skill and many apps can help with learning how to do it properly. Popular apps include The Calm App and Headspace, and the Mooditude app to create your custom morning ritual. 

2. Practice Gratitude

This can be as simple as listing the things and people you are grateful for each morning as you brush your teeth, or starting a gratitude journal. Dedicating time to recognizing this gratitude has been proven to improve mental health and increase happiness

Even in the darkest of times, there are things to be thankful for. This new habit can help you throughout your day when you’re feeling down, to remember why you’re here and who you have by your side. 

Purchase a notebook, make it your “Gratitude Journal” and each day dedicate time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect and remember what you have in life.  

"Be thankful for what you have; You'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never ever have enough." - OPRAH WINFREY

3. Read

Read, read, read. The benefits of reading are endless, including expanding your vocabulary, broadening your perspective, and learning.  You can read about anything that interests you. Take it a step further and choose to read a physical book, get away from screens. 

Healthline details the incredible impact reading has on the brain. In a study, MRI scans showed that with more reading comes the increase of connectivity in the brain. This improved the brain's response to physical sensations.

Not to mention, reading more will decrease screen time which studies have proven can change the brain in unhealthy ways. 

4. Move Your Body

fitness movement exercise routine mental health tracking app

Medline outlines the incredible benefit of exercise from reducing the risk of disease, to strengthening bones and muscles to improving mood. Try to start one of these healthy habits for exercise. 

Morning Walk - Take your dog for a walk or aim for walking around the block once per day. If this isn’t possible for you, consider taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator or parking your car further from the entrance to the store. These small habits will add up! 

Stretch - Stretching will increase your flexibility, range of motion, posture, and blood flow (among many other benefits). Harvard Health recommends 60 seconds per stretch. Now, that’s doable! 

Hit the Gym - Consider making the gym a habit. Determine your goal number of days per week to hit the gym, and write it down. You can even set a goal for days per month to go to the gym and reward yourself with something if you hit your goal. 

5. Make Time for Self-Care

Maria Baratta, a 20 year Licensed Clinical social worker, defines self-care as, “The mindful taking of time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures you’re being cared for by you.”  

Self-care is a way to take care of yourself by listening to what your body needs, and giving it! So, how can you make this a habit? 

Self-care looks different for everyone. If you find benefit in an hourly call with your mom once per week, put it on your calendar and set a time and date for this call. If a bath is the best way to unwind and recharge, do it! Whatever you need, you deserve to set aside time to get it. 

6. Practice Positive Self-Talk 

Self talk is your internal dialogue, the one with you 24 hours a day. It’s only human to experience negative self-talk, but you can do your part in recognizing it and stopping it in its tracks. Positive self-talk is proven to make you feel better and be more successful. 

Catch yourself saying negative phrases and spin them! It takes practice, but you can do it.  Instead of “I’ve never done it before” change to “It’s an opportunity to learn something new.” Another common one is, “There’s no way I can make it work,” changed to “I can try to make it work.”

Practice makes perfect, and you will be thankful to have this habit locked and loaded when you start to struggle with negative self-talk. 

7. Stick to a Sleep Schedule 

Sleep schedules can be thrown out of whack for many reasons. Anxiety can affect sleep, so you can change your work schedule, or even catching up on your favorite show. Whatever it is going on in your life, do your best to keep your sleep schedule as consistent as you can. 

It can be difficult to stick to a bedtime and wake up time, but sleep is a huge part of being the best you mentally and physically. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep per night. 

8. Go Outdoors

Whether you’re at your 9-5 all day or work from home and don’t get out of your pajamas… You might not get outdoors as much as you should. Stanford research points to a study where people who spend 90 minutes in a natural area as opposed to participants who walked in a high traffic area, showed decreased activity in the section of the brain related to depression. Gretchen Daily, a professor, and fellow express just how critical access to nature is to mental health. 

Make it a point to go outside and breathe in the fresh air, and hopefully feel some sun on your face. Even if you stay indoors during the day, create a habit of enjoying your morning coffee on your front step, or change your walking location to a trail in nature instead of on the treadmill at the gym. 

LET’S GET STARTED TODAY

These 8 habits can be executed today, and you can depend on the Mooditude app to help you keep on track and see the positive impact your healthy habits are bringing.

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