5 daily steps for better mental health

If you want some simple daily mental health practices that can help you improve and maintain your wellbeing, then you’re in luck! Because that’s what I’m covering this week on Better Mental Health. So… get comfortable and let’s talk about better mental health!

I call this one ‘making a list and checking it twice. No, the person in this picture is not Santa Claus.

Want to watch the video version of this post instead? Here it is:

Trying to manage your mental health is exhausting, right? WRONG! I mean, it’s not super-easy but there are plenty of things that you can do every day that make a huge difference — and today I’m sharing five of them. Let’s jump straight in with…

Begin your day with gratitude practice — this is about taking just a couple of minutes to reflect on the things in your life you feel grateful for (funny that!). Why? Because gratitude helps you to appreciate what you have and it’s a positive way to start your day! Gratitude practice has lots of positive benefits, including:

  • positive mood
  • reducing stress and burnout
  • better physical health
  • improved relationships
  • greater happiness and life satisfaction

SOURCE: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-gratitude/ 

For more on gratitude, check out Episode 46 of the Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast. My next tip is…

Consume thoughtfully — and by this I mean what you consume physically and mentally. The stuff you eat plays a big role in your overall wellbeing — if you eat junk food on a regular basis, you tend to feel sluggish — and it’s the same with the stuff you watch or read or listen to… if you consume junk mentally, it has a negative effect on your wellbeing over time! I’m not saying you need to be a monk and give up all pleasures, but please remember: all things in moderation. And sorry to break this to you, but moderation does not mean every day! That leads to my next point… 

Get outside daily — you know how your house or apartment can feel a bit gross if you leave it all locked up for ages, and then if you open the doors and windows for some fresh air it feels so much nicer quite quickly? Well, you’re the same! Instead of spending 24 hours a day trapped inside, get outside for some fresh air and hopefully some sunshine… even just 5-10 minutes can be the perfect reset. Go and sit in a park to eat your lunch, or take a walk in the morning or evening and enjoy the constant changing of the seasons… two things I will say here: first, please be sun-safe (especially in countries like Australia where the sun in summer feels like it might set you on fire) and second, I know sometimes it can be really tough to spend too much time outdoors (especially at the height of summer or in the depths of winter) but there are usually some slightly-cooler or slightly-warmer parts of the day or night when you can go outside comfortably, so no excuses! Fresh air will make you feel refreshed, so get as much as you can. So, my next tip is…

Journal to release your emotions — do you know what happens when you bottle up your feelings? They stay bottled up! The stuff in your head has to go somewhere, and writing it down can help you to release all of that energy plus it also helps you to make sense of your thoughts. I encourage you to take a few minutes each day to write as a means of letting your emotions out so that you can then approach situations and challenges in a more thoughtful and considered way. And although you can absolutely do it on your phone, using actual pen and paper is a really tactile way of journalling and it can also help to channel your emotions out of your body and onto the paper instead (which can leave you feeling lighter and more refreshed). And that leads to my fifth point…

Finish your day with some quiet reflection — and by this I definitely do not mean sitting there and thinking about all of the things you did wrong or weren’t happy with; reflection is about objectively considering what happened in the day and identifying what lessons you can learn from it (without judgement). A huge part of growth is learning, and that comes from self awareness, and so thinking about what the one or two things were that you can learn from your day gives you the opportunity to take small steps each day towards being the best version of yourself possible. In my last point I said about journalling as a way of releasing your emotions; reflection is a way of turning your experiences into personal growth (and it only needs to take a few minutes each night before you go to bed). Think of it as a way to make your peace with the events of the day so that you can use them to your advantage.

And even though I said there would be five points, I’m going to be super-generous and share a special bonus sixth point, which is one of my favourite things for a sense of calm and greater peace of mind… 

10 minutes of mindfulness practice each day — mindfulness does not have to be an elaborate routine full of connecting with your chakras (but it can be if you like!), but it’s just about spending a few minutes each day to be fully connected with the present moment. Go and sit outside (or, if you can’t get outside, then sit near a window with a view outside) and just slowly breathe while you connect yourself with your surroundings for a few minutes. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you feel? What can you smell? What can you taste? Just observe without judgement and feel yourself being part of the present moment… doing this helps to slow you down and ground you, and being present can decrease stress and worry. I talked about mindfulness in Episode 42 of the podcast and I covered being present in Episode 83, and you’ll find both of those linked in the description below if you’d like to explore the subjects in more detail.

Whatever you choose to do is up to you; remember, better mental health begins with what YOU choose to do today!

Want more? Listen to the weekly Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast on your favourite podcast service (click here for links to different services via Podfollow) and subscribe to my YouTube channel, Better Mental Health, for weekly how-to videos.

Thanks so much for joining me today, take care and talk to you next time!

Jeremy 😃

Jeremy Godwin (@jeremygodwinofficial on Instagram) is an Australian writer, content creator and coach who focuses on better mental health. His weekly podcast Let’s Talk About Mental Health has more than 600,000 downloads and listeners in over 150 countries, and in it Jeremy shares practical advice for improving and maintaining mental health that is grounded in quality research and personal experience. He also hosts a weekly show on YouTube, Better Mental Health, which focuses on simple advice for how to manage different aspects of mental health. Jeremy’s style is direct-yet-supportive, and his own experiences with depression and anxiety (along with his formal qualifications in psychology and sociology) allow him to provide advice that is both impactful and sensitive.

#dailymentalhealthroutine #mentalhealth #bettermentalhealth

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