10 Habits That Can Improve Mental Health, According to Psychology

Posted by on July 21, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments

Image Credit: Power Of Positivity

Power Of Positivity

 

The importance of mental health

The quality of your mental health affects pretty much every aspect of your life, including how you behave, feel, and think. The quality of your mental health determines how well you cope with stress, overcome adversity, and achieve your goals. When you’re energetic and positive, these things come easily; when you’re downtrodden and negative, everything seems much more difficult.

What does it mean to have good mental health? Well, contrary to popular belief, it does not mean feeling happy all (or even most of) the time. Of course, happiness is wonderful, and we should all feel happy now and again – it’s just not the cause or effect of good mental health. Instead, good mental health means feeling and thinking in a positive manner more often than not.


People with a good state of mental health often report the following:

  • Relatively high self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Feelings of compassion and love for others
  • Good balance between work and home life
  • Adaptability to change
  • Deriving a sense of purpose from something (work-related or otherwise.)
  • Enjoying one or more hobbies on a regular basis
  • Ability to bounce back from stress

 

Habits of the mentally healthy

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran

Basic human psychology dictates that your habits –  at least to some degree – affect the state of your mental health. If you eat junk food all the time, drink too much, and forget to exercise, for example, you’re probably going to be in a less-than-ideal healthy mental state. If, on the other hand, you’re proactive about your health and practice the right habits, you’re likely to feel good mentally.

With that said, here are 10 habits that can improve mental health, according to psychology:

  1. Regular Exercise

If even 30 years ago you were to say that the mind can affect the body, some people – including so-called “experts” – would’ve looked at you as if you were crazy. Well, times are a-changin’. We’ve long established the mind-body connection and have learned some fascinating things.

Exercise increases the number of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, improves memory, and sharpens thinking skills. It also enhances focus and concentration and works as an excellent outlet for stress.


  1. Meditation or yoga

“Meditation … has long been acknowledged as a tool to master the mind to cope with stress. Science is increasingly validating those claims …” – Mental Health America

While yoga and meditation are technically different practices, the latter is an integral part of the former. In fact, the two methods are very similar – and thus produce many of the same benefits.

  1. Getting good sleep

Psychology often points to sleep difficulties as a symptom of mental health disorders, particularly anxiety and depression. A study undertaken at the University of Oxford finds that the opposite may be the case. The study’s lead author Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychology at Oxford, says that making a habit of getting quality sleep (the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours) may “tackle a wide range of psychological and emotional problems.”

  1. Don’t Multitask

It’s estimated that less than 2 percent of the population can multitask “effectively.” Psychology, however, says that the brain is incapable of doing two things at once unless it’s, say, walking and chewing gum or driving and listening to the radio. (Of course, you don’t have to put much thought into chewing gum.)

The big problem with multitasking is two-fold. First, it depletes the brain’s energy reserves more quickly. Second, it can be very stressful. Both issues run counterproductive to good mental health. Instead, work on creating a habit of single-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time.

  1. Mindfulness

There really is nothing mystical about mindfulness. The practice generally involves two things: (1) attention to the present moment at the exclusion of everything else, and (2) the non-judgment of thoughts.

It does take effort, however, to make mindfulness a habit. Still, the benefits to your mental health can be extraordinary.

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