10 Daily Habits for Better Mental Health

A list of simple habits that can improve mental health when practiced consistently.

Your RAFT Counseling Team

Hello to all of our clients and visitors who committed to their mental, emotional and physical well-being! We are proud that you are here and that we can join you on this journey towards healing.

Our therapists and experts at RAFT Counseling came together to share with you a list of simple but powerful daily habits that can make a big difference in your mental health and your life. We understand that many of us are often overwhelmed by the rush and demands of life, so it is crucial to take the time to care for our mind as much as our body. 

Here are ten habits that can help you cultivate greater peace of mind and well-being in your daily life. We’ve also included an actionable exercise for each habit. Feel free to talk about these with your therapist and ask them for more examples!

  1. Start your day with gratitude

Practicing gratitude not only involves thinking about the things we are grateful for, but also feeling that gratitude deeply. You can keep a gratitude journal and write down three things each morning or just take a moment to reflect internally. Research shows that gratitude is linked to greater life satisfaction, better sleep quality, and greater resilience to stress.

After writing your three items on your gratitude list, take an extra moment to visualize them. Imagine the sensations, emotions, and experiences associated with each one, allowing yourself to deeply feel gratitude.

  1. Prioritize physical activity

Regular exercise not only benefits the body, but also the mind. In addition to releasing endorphins, exercise improves blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and mood in the long term. Even small doses of physical activity, like a short walk, can make a difference in your mental health.

Incorporate a brief stretching routine into your morning or evening routine. Spend 5-10 minutes stretching major muscle groups to improve flexibility and release tension.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness involves paying deliberate attention to the present moment without judgment. You can practice mindfulness at any time of the day, whether by spending a few minutes consciously breathing or simply observing your thoughts and emotions. Research shows that mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve emotional regulation.

Engage in a mindful eating practice during one meal each day. Slow down, savor each bite, and pay attention to the taste, texture, and sensations of the food without distractions.

  1. Stay hydrated and nourished

The brain needs adequate hydration and nutrients to function properly. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day and eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Avoid excess caffeine and refined sugars, as they can negatively affect your mood and energy.

Keep a water intake tracker or app on your phone to monitor your daily hydration levels. Set a goal to drink a certain amount of water each day and track your progress to ensure you're staying adequately hydrated.

  1. Connect with others

Social relationships are essential for mental health. Take time to cultivate meaningful relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. This not only provides emotional support, but can also increase your sense of belonging and self-esteem.

We understand agendas can get difficult to manage and sync. Try initiating a virtual coffee or tea date with a friend or family member. Schedule a time to meet online and enjoy a casual conversation over your favorite beverage, allowing you to connect and catch up despite physical distance.

  1. Set realistic goals

Break your goals into manageable, realistic steps. This not only prevents you from feeling overwhelmed, but also gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you complete a task. Celebrating these small successes can increase your motivation and self-esteem in the long run.

Some days we’ll feel different than the day or the week before, and that’s okay. Set your big goals but also create a smaller weekly goals planner where you break down those larger goals even more into specific, achievable tasks for each day of the week. Refer to this planner daily to stay focused and motivated as you work towards your objectives.

  1. Practice self-compassion

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially in times of difficulty. Instead of being self-critical, acknowledge your struggles with compassion and empathy. Research shows that self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience and psychological well-being.

Write yourself a compassionate letter or note during moments of self-doubt or criticism. Remind yourself of your strengths, resilience, and worthiness of kindness and understanding, offering yourself the same compassion you would to a loved one.

  1. Limit screen time

Spending too much time in front of screens can negatively affect your mental health. Set limits on your screen time and find alternative activities that promote relaxation and mental stimulation, such as reading, hobbies, or time outdoors.

Designate specific "screen-free zones" in your home, such as the dining room or bedroom, where electronic devices are not allowed. Use these areas for activities like reading, conversation, or relaxation to reduce overall screen time.

  1. Get enough sleep

Quality sleep is essential for mental health. Establish a regular bedtime routine and create an environment conducive to sleep, such as keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Prioritizing adequate sleep can improve your mood, memory, and decision making.

Create a relaxing bedtime ritual that includes activities like gentle stretching, light reading, or listening to calming music. Establishing a consistent pre-sleep routine signals to your body that it's time to unwind and prepare for restorative sleep.

  1. Reflect and relax at the end of the day

At the end of the day, take time to reflect on your experiences and emotions. This may involve journaling, practicing meditation, or simply enjoying a few quiet moments. Reflection can help you process the day's events and prepare for a restful sleep.

Practice a guided body scan meditation before bed to release tension and promote relaxation. Lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and systematically focus on each part of your body, allowing yourself to let go of any accumulated stress or tension.

Remember, mental health is an ongoing journey, and these habits can be your daily guide to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Practice these habits regularly and seek help whenever you need support– there’s nothing wrong about looking for the tools and resources that will guide you towards healing. 

We wish you peace and serenity on your journey to better mental health.

Your RAFT Counseling Team

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