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The habits we keep can improve our lives or be detrimental to our lives. Habits are defined as “routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously”. Naturally, because we are human, we have a tendency to easily pick up negative habits and hold onto them for dear life.
These may be things we picked up over time such as binge eating salty snacks after a stressful day at work or biting your fingernails when you’re nervous. These negative habits are things we do that temporarily satisfy something in us even though they usually provide no measurable benefit. These also tend to be things that we are well aware that we need to be done and over with.
Did you know that it generally takes about 2 months to completely change a behavior? That means it generally only takes about two months to stop a bad habit or to introduce a positive one. That’s not too bad.
Did you also know that the habits you keep can have a direct effect on the state of your mental health? Yep, habits like not getting enough sleep, poor eating habits, not exercising and negative self talk are things that unsurprisingly have a poor effect on the way we can feel about ourselves and the world around us.
On the bright side, there are plenty of healthy habits that can help to maintain or improve mental wellness. I’m only going to focus on 5 of them today because in the long run it really only counts if you can be consistent in your practice and I don’t know about you, but if I try to focus on too many things at once I’m going to hit a wall and quit before I even get off the ground. That being said, here are my top picks for 5 healthy habits for mental wellness.
5 Healthy Habits for Mental Wellness
Daily Journaling – You all should know by now how I feel about keeping a journal. Daily journaling not only creates therapeutic moments of reflection, but it also adds countless benefits to a persons life including improving their emotional health and communication skills.
Eating Well – Processed food and foods high in fats and sodium wreak havoc on your body. On top of that, they don’t make you feel good (even though they may taste good in the moment). A lot of our issues as a people actually stems from poor gut health…and I mean it makes sense. If your body is working overtime trying to process things it wasn’t designed to process in the first place…why would you feel good? Moral of the story, eat more real foods, feel better.
Getting Up and Moving – We sit a lot. Like a lot a lot. Our bodies are not designed for the amount of sitting around we do these days. How do we combat it? Get up and move. The gym is not everyone’s cup of tea, and I get that. So, alternatives? Go for a walk, ride, run or if you really don’t want to leave your house, do some stretches. 30 minutes a day is all it takes to give your body the mobile stimulation it needs. I personally always feel happier after a walk outside, there’s just something about fresh air that does something to my mood.
Hydrating – I do not drink enough water and I’m sure my organs hate me for it. Your body needs water and lots of it to function properly. I know a lot of people who simply hate drinking water and cannot drink enough to maintain what their body needs…so a solution for those of you: Fruits and veggies mixed in with your water intake.
Resting – Your body needs sleep. 6-8 hours of it actually to reset and repair itself. Allow your body to do what it needs to do during the night by making sure to get enough sleep. For me personally this is a hard one because I feel as though my body doesn’t really wind down until about 12:00, but the truth is I don’t allow my body time to wind down until then. That’s when I’ve caught up on my shows, and all of my social media and when the final touches of projects I’m working on are complete. The trick is to develop a routine of winding down before you actually get into bed. Do it and your body will thank you.
Habits, even ones as basic as the ones listed above aren’t super easy to keep. I personally struggle with sticking to habits due to the fact that I get distracted or get discouraged when I have a bad day. I’m happy to say however, I’ve recently found a solution to that.
I read a book a few months ago called Atomic Habits by James Clear. When I started the book I will admit that I was pretty uninterested simply because it was something I was told to read (still working on myself okay). As I continued though, I realized this book had a lot of incredibly simple but also powerful tips for breaking and building habits. I would tell you more, but I really want you to read it. I will tell you that when you do read it, keep a notebook and highlighter nearby.
If you’re someone who is interested in the development of habits and the crazy yet simple science behind them then I highly recommend that book. I am yet to recommend a book on this blog so that should tell you something.
You can find a link to purchase this book through amazon (hardcover edition and kindle edition) at the bottom of this post!
Thanks for reading! If you do end up purchasing the book please let me know! I’d love to discuss it with you and get your take on it (you know that feeling when you want to talk about a show you loved but none of your friends have seen it yet….yea…that’s me right now).
Okay friends, till next time,