Better mental health is at the top of our list of goals this year. To get there, we’re focusing on small but impactful daily habits that are easy for anyone to add to their routine. While change won’t happen overnight, we think mental health is something worth working on daily.
Here are five goals we’re setting to improve our mental health.
1. Practice positive self-talk.
What we say about ourselves and to ourselves impacts our mental health more than we may realize. Creating a habit of positive self-talk and actively countering negative self-talk when we notice it can boost our self-esteem and support good mental health.
When you experience a thought like, “I will never be good at this,” replace it with, “I’m excited to learn something new while I practice getting better.”
Instead of believing a thought like, “I always mess things up,” you can say, “I am proud of myself for trying new things.”
The more you practice positive self-talk, the easier it will be. Eventually, reframing negative thoughts into positive thoughts about yourself will become second nature.
2. Spend time in nature.
According to research published by Harvard Medical School, spending time in nature can reduce mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression. Whether you take a walk through your neighborhood park or listen to calming rain sounds while you meditate, 20-30 minutes spent in nature can give you the mental health boost you need.
The next time you’re feeling stressed, turn off your devices and head to your favorite park, garden, or beach. Find a quiet place to practice mindfulness or read a good book for 30 minutes.
3. Get a good night’s sleep.
We’ve discussed the mental health benefits of sleep on our blog. Sleep affects both your mental and physical health. Everything from your metabolism and immune system to the health of your brain and organs can benefit from a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, and that the sleep you’re getting is restful and restorative.
4. Unplug from technology.
If social media has you feeling stuck in the comparison trap, or if the news has you feeling stressed, unplug. As with all things, if you feel more anxious or depressed the more you do something, it’s okay to set boundaries and practice moderation.
Rather than scrolling through your social media feed, take a walk in nature or pick up your favorite book instead. You could even try painting, writing, or playing an instrument. If you feel like being social, try some offline methods like a coffee date with a friend, or attending a yoga class.
5. Chat with your therapist at least once a month.
Your therapist is a valuable resource for moments in life where you need insight and support for challenges both big and small. Commit to speaking with your therapist once a month, whether it’s a face-to-face appointment or a simple text. You can always schedule an extra appointment when you need additional help.
Remember, you don’t have to feel bad to speak with your therapist. You can discuss positive events and experiences with them, as well.
Set up a recurring appointment with your therapist. This way, you’ll know ahead of time when you have an upcoming appointment and you won’t have to wait to be seen if something unexpected happens. Schedule an extra appointment during particularly stressful times of the year, like holidays or a loved one’s birthday.
What are your mental health goals this year, and how can we help you get there? You can find a few ways to improve mental health by exploring our mental health resources. If you’re not sure where to start, our Mindfulness Exercise Kit and Guide to Managing Anxiety both have practical tools that everyone can try.
Ready to kick start your mental health journey? Schedule an appointment at one of our counseling centers. Find a counseling center in Florida, Tennessee, or Indianapolis.