Mental health includes both your psychological and social well-being. Your mental health influences how you handle stress, make choices, and relate to others. When you focus on improving your mental health, you can experience clearer thinking, deeper relationships, improved mood, reduced anxiety, and improved confidence. Here are 8 daily habits you can utilize to improve mental health so you can live a happier, healthier life.

1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

It’s no secret that sleep is important for physical health, but what many people do not realize is that sleep is also vital for mental health. Studies have shown that adults who sleep an average of 6 hours or less each night are roughly 2.5 times more likely to experience frequent mental distress than those who sleep more than 6 hours each night. Not only does the quantity of sleep matter, but the quality is also very important. To get enough quality sleep to improve mental health, try these habits:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Avoid consuming caffeine after 3 p.m.
  • Keep your bedroom temperature around 65 degrees
  • Turn your bedroom into a quiet, clutter-free space

2. Move Your Body

Senior man and woman walking a large white dog in a neighborhoodExercise offers a variety of mental health benefits and can help relieve stress, improve mood, encourage quality sleep, and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you are trying to improve mental health, get your body moving with daily physical activity. You don’t need to hit the gym to benefit from exercise, either. You can do enjoyable movements at home, such as walking, dancing, gardening, yoga, and seated exercises. Even just stretching for a few minutes can increase blood flow and oxygen circulation to help you feel more relaxed and happier.

3. Reduce Time Spent on Social Media

Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends and family. However, spending too much time on social media can cause people to compare themselves to others and to feel lower self-worth. This can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. That’s why one way you can improve mental health is by reducing the amount of time you spend on social media. To get out of the habit of scrolling through your feed, try keeping your phone out of reach while you sleep and turn off notifications for those apps. Come up with more meaningful activities you can do to replace your scrolling sessions.

4. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

Assortment of healthy fruits and vegetablesCertain foods are better for your mental health than others. If you want to improve mental health, try including more nutrient-rich foods in your daily diet. Eat mood-boosting foods such as bananas, berries, beans, fatty fish, and whole grains. Make sure you are also drinking plenty of water throughout the day so your brain and body can have the nutrients they need to function properly. Try to limit or avoid foods that can worsen anxiety symptoms. These foods may include caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, and refined carbs.

5. Soak Up Some Sun

The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D can improve mood and attitude. To help improve mental health, it may be beneficial to spend a few minutes getting some sun and fresh air each day. Just five minutes of sunshine can help your mind and body feel better. If it’s difficult for you to get outside during the workday, try opening a window near your desk, eating lunch outdoors, going for a walk during your break, or taking a meeting outside. 

6. Cultivate Connections with Others

group of friends chatting in a coffee shopHuman beings are social creatures who can be significantly influenced by relationships with others. A strong relationship such as that with a close friend can positively impact your mental health. For example, friendships can help reduce feelings of loneliness, add meaning to your life, and provide emotional support. That’s why one way to improve mental health is cultivating positive connections with friends and family members. Check in regularly with a quick text or phone call. Meet up for coffee or dinner every couple of weeks. Spending time connecting with others can make a huge difference for your mental health.

7. Find Hobbies You Enjoy

It’s important to find hobbies that you enjoy that you can do in your free time. You may enjoy drawing, playing an instrument, solving puzzles, writing stories, playing board games, knitting, or anything else that may interest you. Hobbies help your mind unwind after a stressful day and allow it to focus on something that you enjoy doing. This can help you at least momentarily forget about the things that are causing you distress.

Support Your Mental Health with Supplements

It’s important to take care of all areas of your health, both physical and mental. These daily habits can help your mind relax and refocus to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Your mental health may also benefit from supplements that support your brain with the nutrients it needs to function well. Supplements that may help improve mental health include Mood Support to increase neurotransmitters and promote relaxation, and Mood-Stasis to support a calm and positive mental outlook and normal response to stress.

If you have questions about improving your mental health with supplements or you are interested in learning more about alternative approaches to managing your health, please schedule an appointment today with one of our physicians at the Institute for Progressive Medicine.