10 Daily Habits to Mind your Mind
(or…The Daily 10 for Feeling Zen!)
If someone asked about your daily routine to stay healthy, what would you say? You’d probably mention eating plenty of vegetables, washing your hands regularly, and exercising. Those are all great habits! But staying healthy means adding daily habits that keep us feeling good in both body and mind.
Simple daily habits, like those listed below, help us mind our minds every day. Adding these habits to our daily routine supports mental wellness, so that when life hits the occasional bumpy patch, we stay balanced, hopeful and resilient—able to ride it out until we feel good again.
Here are 10 daily habits to help you mind your mind:
Be Self Aware
Ask yourself how you’ve been feeling lately. Checking in daily can help us manage our moods. Remember to talk to your doctor about your mental health as well as your physical health. This Mental Health Scale can visually help you to ask yourself how you’ve been feeling lately.
A walk in a park, sitting near a river, even watching birds in a garden—any chance to experience the natural world elevates our mood and clears the mind. Studies have shown that people feel measurably happier after spending time in nature.
Take a moment every day to think about all the good things in your life. Some people keep a gratitude journal, others blend gratitude into a meditation practice. Gratitude has been shown to improve immune system and heart health, as well as mental health.
Build your community
Call a friend just to check in, make dinner plans with neighbors, join a local club that interests you. Strong social relationships (in real life, not just online!) lower stress, and even help us live longer.
Practice breathing techniques for stressful moments. Simply slowing the breath, with attention to the inhale and exhale, can help. Another technique, called 4-7-8 breathing, gives an oxygen boost throughout the body for better sleep and better mindfulness.
Schedule for Sleep
Our brains need enough “down time” to reset for the next day. A regular bedtime and waking time helps with concentration, a positive mood, and fewer emotional swings. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine leads to a better night’s sleep.
Limit screen time
Smartphones, social media and 24-7 news cycles have added new mental health challenges for all of us. Stay aware of the time spent online in the virtual world, and stay connected to the real world too!
Even the smallest of good deeds can make you feel good, and help others too. Research shows that people who help others feel happier, more connected, and more needed. A volunteer activity, a favor for a neighbor, or a simple act of kindness is enough to boost your own wellness.
Limit alcohol and recreational drugs
Drinking and getting high can seem like a relaxing escape, but it’s important to know the connection between substance abuse and mental health issues like depression. Excess use can lead to addiction and other serious problems.
Paint a picture, take a dance class, play some music. Any creative art boosts our health by increasing levels of serotonin, the hormone related to happiness, and lowering cortisol, the hormone related to stress. Adding a daily dose of creativity is like a vitamin for your brain!