If you’re familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare, you already know that slow and steady wins the race. In the same way, strong mental health is not a marathon. It results from small actions you can take every day that add to your well-being. When mental health becomes something you think about proactively, instead of just when you’re feeling down and not like yourself, you’ll take better control of your mental health for years to come.
Here are five small actions for everyday mental health improvements
Try any of the following to feel better, refreshed and more focused every day:
1. Exercise first thing.
Yes, it can feel like a chore to get up and get right into physical activity. But exercise can be as simple as walking your dog around the block or doing some yoga using an app. And once you’re used to it, you may find yourself looking forward to your morning exercise. Plus, it helps to clear your mind and set your focus for the day.
2. Make plans with people you love.
Social connections add to a happier, more fulfilled life, but they sometimes fall way down on the to-do list. Reach out to your family and friends to talk and schedule time for coffee or dinner. Try to have regular mealtimes with your spouse and children, and talk about your days. And when you’re with people, put your phones and devices away and try to focus on the conversation minus any digital distractions.
3. Keep a gratitude journal.
This simple action can greatly improve your mindset and mental health over time. Every morning, write down 3-5 things you’re thankful for in your life. They can be as simple or as complex as you like. Every day, choose something different. After a few days, you’ll realize how much you have to be grateful for, which is incredibly uplifting!
4. Never compare yourself.
It can be easy to feel down on your station in life, especially when viewing social media pages of others. But remember, everyone is on their own journey and happiness does not come in the same form for all. Stick to your own dreams and goals, and feel happy that you’re doing what’s best for you, regardless of what’s going on with anyone around you.
5. Limit social media and the news.
Much of what is shared on these sources is upsetting, or meant to elicit a reaction. Make plans to check your social media only once per day, and beyond that—set it aside. Avoid sources of in-your-face news reports, such as Google and Yahoo.
What will you start with today?
Ready to get started? Choose one of the above actions and pay attention to how it makes you feel. You may notice that you’re calmer and more relaxed. There are also dozens of other things you can do each day for self-care and mental wellness. If you find the above actions don’t work for you, simply find new actions to try. And if you’re really not feeling like yourself, never be afraid to talk to a professional to improve your outlook.
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