Have you ever wondered what healthy habits you should add to your list of a to-do? We all should give enough time and intention to our mental health, and what better way than to adopt some new, healthy habits along the way. If you keep it a habit, sooner or later, it can feel like a part of you, so the healthier, the better. Here are eight healthy habits to improve your mental wellbeing.


Number One

Adopting an upright posture. It’s time to stretch out those muscles and stand as you mean it. According to a study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, upright posture can have a positive effect and reduce fatigue. The preliminary studies’ conclusions suggested that adopting an upright posture may increase positive affect, reduce fatigue, and decrease self-focus in people with mild to moderate depression. Are you hunched over your phone right now, computer? How’s that posture looking?

Number Two

Practice positive thinking. Research continues to show that your thoughts about yourself strongly affect how you feel. The best way to change any negative feelings you may have is to counteract them with a positive one. According to a psychologist, Patricia Harteneck, when we perceive ourselves and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. So instead of saying, I was horrible at my math test, use positive words and self-compassion like, I’ll study harder next time and then I’ll do better on the next test.

Number Three

Take a walk in nature. My favorite. Ah, nature. Is there anything quite like the green grass between your toes, the blue skies above your head, the warm sun burning your nose, hmm, forgot the sunscreen.  A simple walk in nature can have the ability to boost your mental wellbeing, according to research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. A 2019 study from Canadian researchers found that merely five minutes of contact with the natural world improves mood, human health, self-esteem, and general emotional wellbeing. According to the research study, results indicated that brief nature contact reliably improves both hedonic and self-transcendent emotions. Time for a nice walk in the park with your dog. Of course, don’t forget to bring sunscreen this time.

Number Four

Hug someone. Sometimes we just need a hug. Maybe that’s what your parents once told you, and sometimes, they’re right. According to findings from a 2011 study conducted by UCLA, oxytocin’s receptor gene is linked to self-esteem and optimism. Oxytocin is often known as a cuddle hormone. So I’m sure you can guess what releases oxytocin, hugging, along with kissing, snuggling, and physical touches. Hugging is a great way to release that hormone and perhaps increase your self-esteem and optimism in the process. According to the study, life scientists identified for the first time, a particular gene’s link to optimism, self-esteem, and mastery, the belief that one has control over one’s own life, three critical psychological resources for coping well with stress, and depression. Sounds like a good hug is sure to give a boost to your mental wellbeing.

Number Five

Spend time with your furry friend. Got no one to hug? How about your dog? Don’t have a furry friend? Now might be a good time to get one. Need to be convinced? A 2019 research study examined the effects and cortisol levels of college students who spent 10 minutes with animal visitation programs. The student’s stress hormone, cortisol decreased with just 10 minutes of petting cats and dogs. The research article notes, a 10 minute college-based AVP providing hands-on petting of cats and dogs provide momentary stress relief. So, when you go on that walk in nature, make sure to bring your furry friend with you.

Number Six

Exercise. Exercise is not only important for our physical health but our mental wellbeing as well. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which make us happy naturally. According to an article from Mayo Clinic, exercise can release feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals, endogenous cannabinoids, and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of wellbeing. Hm, that dog walk in nature really will pay off.

Number Seven

Get enough sleep. You mean they’ve heard adults need a good eight hours of sleep each night. Well, you definitely heard right. We need a good night’s rest to recharge with enough energy for the next day. Not getting your eight hours of sleep every day has been shown to negatively affect your mental health. What makes things worse is 60 to 90% of patients with depression also have insomnia according to the Sleep Health Foundation. So, people whose emotional well-being may already be suffering are possibly causing further health problems by not being able to get their full rest. Not only do you get grumpy and groggy from not getting enough sleep, but it’s not the best for your emotional wellbeing in the long run.

Number Eight

keep a gratitude journal. Expressing gratitude can work wonders for our mental well-being. Gratitude has been linked to increased happiness, mental health, and improved wellbeing according to the psychologist, Patricia Harteneck. Harteneck notes that the best-researched method to increase feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, or write a daily gratitude list, which means, every morning before that walk, write down something you’re thankful for, no matter how grand or simple. And at the end of the day, you know, when you go to bed early for those full eight hours, write down a few more things you appreciate before you hit the sheets, hopefully with your snug pet by your side.

So, will you practice some of these habits? Which one will you try out first? Let us know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with a friend. And as always, thanks for reading.


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