This month I’m focusing on health and today I want to talk about positive habits for mental health.
I want to share resources and information I've found helpful in staying positive and in a place where I feel I can put my best foot forward.
I mentioned a few of these things in my video about feeling better when blue, which you can find below. I want to emphasize that there are also things we can do on a daily basis as maintenance for our mental health.
These are all things I ideally do right when I wake up, before I look at any social media. I like having this time to myself, where I’m not concerned about outside influences and can focus on me and my life.
5 Positive Habits to Improve Mental Health
Keeping a regular meditation practice has helped me to gain control of my actions by gaining more control of my mind. It is much easier for me to be in the moment and not freak out when things don’t go my way. I try to do 10 minutes of meditation every morning when I wake up. I made a video about meditation and how I meditate which you can find below.
Journaling is a great tool for our mental health. To me, journaling means writing freely about what I’m thinking or feeling. It helps me to process things and gain a little more insight as to why I’m feeling a certain way. There are many different ways to journal. I write anywhere from a half page to a full page each morning after I meditate.
Noting a few things that I’m grateful for in life has helped me to be more constantly aware of all the good that exists. It helps me start the day off with a positive mindset.
Here's a video I made about the benefits of gratitude.
Ben Franklin has been credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I would have to agree. I think it’s important for mental health to at least have an idea about what our values are and what we want to make of our lives so that we can plan our days accordingly. I think this ties into a human’s need for meaning and purpose.
This is the hardest thing on this list for me to do consistently, yet it has such a positive effect on my mental health when I do it. Exercising and moving our bodies reduces stress, increases self-confidence, helps us sleep better, and makes us feel more productive. I do get a good amount of exercise at work as a nanny as we play a lot of running games. However, I need to pencil in some exercise on my calendar and find the specific kind that I love to do so it becomes more of a routine and I can stick to it.
UPDATE since last week when I wrote this: Matt and I have been getting back into running 3x a week which has been fun and invigorating!
2 Books I’d Recommend Reading for Improved Mental Health
1. "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl
Written by a holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, the description on the back of the book reads, “Based on his own experience and the stories about his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward. At the heart of his theory,… is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful.”
Reading this book and returning to it frequently has helped me maintain this perspective.
2. "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz
I think the description on the back of this book also says it best, “…don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.”
I also return frequently to this book and its four agreements in order to remind myself that happiness, freedom, and love are choices I can make every day.
I’d love to know your biggest road block in practicing any or all of these habits that improve mental health.
If it’s a matter of having time in the morning to do all of these things, you can try doing them at different times of day. What I would recommend though, is going to bed a half hour earlier and waking up a half hour earlier. Your quality of sleep will improve and you’ll have time to fit in some meditation, journaling, and planning before starting the rest of your day.
Let me know in the comments what you struggle with. I'd love to hear about it!
I’ve designed a journal that I use that includes gratitude, free-form journaling, calendars, daily schedules, daily intentions, meal planning, budgeting, monthly goals, and monthly reflections that helps me to maintain these positive habits.
If this journal is something you would be interested in learning more about, please make sure to enter your e-mail address in the pop up box on this site so that you are notified when it's ready to go.
Talk to you soon!