Emotional well-being is a priority for everyone. If you did not know this, one in four people globally have either experienced a mental health issue or will at some point in his or her life.
But even if you aren’t facing (or at risk to face) an issue like anxiety or depression, focusing on your mental well-being is something that you put on your priority list. Mental health affects how you think, feel and act on a daily basis, as well as influences how you handle stress, make decisions and connect with others.
If you’re set on making a some improvements to your mental health, here are some really easy non-imposing ways to do that.
1. Make your bed everyday.
It’s basically the simplest way to instantly feel like you have your shit together.
2. Stop pleasing people.
That includes your friends, family and bosses. Just remember – being an accommodating, nice person is good. But worrying about people liking you and not stepping on any toes at the expense of your own happiness and desires is NOT good. In any case, you can’t please everyone.
3. Find a hobby that you like, just for you.
Not a hobby that will look good on your college apps or your résumé. Not something your partner wants to do or you’re lukewarm about – but something that you think will make you a more well-rounded person. Literally just something you find fulfilling or relaxing or cool.
4. Save and then splurge for some indulgences that make you happy.
Candles, tea, massages, new music, bubble bath, whatever — make it a non-negotiable part of your budget to remind yourself that taking care of yourself is a priority.
5. Commit to giving up negative self talk.
Everyone has negative thoughts about themselves sometimes — but you can catch those negative thoughts, recognize them as untrue, and replace them with positive ones.
6. End relationships that drain your energy.
End of at least distance yourself from relationships that drain you more than they energize you. You deserve to be surrounded by people who pump you up and make you feel good, so if a relationship is toxic, exhausting, or even just bumming you out, you don’t need it.
7. Lose the word “should” from your daily language.
Whenever we see, read or hear something that makes us envious, we think about what we “should” do better – “I should be healthier, I should be nicer, I should…” etc., etc. That thinking is exactly like you judging yourself, so get that out of your head. Thinking with ‘should’ causes us to engage in behaviors that are completely against what we want. Instead, replace ‘should’ with ‘I would like’. Check it out: I would like to be healthier. I would like to stop spending so much time at the bar. I would like to go to the gym thrice weekly.
8. You are your own best friend so treat yourself like one.
Every time you have the impulse to punish or insult yourself, get in the habit of asking, “Would I do this to my best friend?” Or whoever you think deserves to be treated with the utmost compassion and respect — aka exactly how you deserve to be treated, too.
9. Say “No” more often.
One of two things inevitably happen when you say “yes” to things you don’t want to do — either you do them at the expense of your own happiness or you make excuses and flake later at the expense of your relationships. Don’t do that. Be gracious and polite, sure, but look out for yourself. “No” is a complete sentence in almost all the languages in the world.
10. Complain less. Move on more.
Not only does it make you an unpleasant person to be around in general, but when you complain, you are ruminating in negative thoughts. And ruminating in negative thoughts takes a big toll on your mental health in the long run. Don’t hold stuff in, by any means, but make an effort to express those negative thoughts once and move on.
11. Treat emotional pain just like you would any injury – aka seriously.
If you need a mental health day, take one. If you find getting out of bed getting more and more difficult, go to the doctor. Don’t brush something off because it’s not an obvious injury.
12. Get more sleep, really.
What does sleep have to do with mental health? Pretty much everything. Lack of sleep can seriously magnify feelings of unhappiness or depression and anxiety — so treat your body right. Your mind will thank you.
13. Stop comparing yourself with others.
This year, every time you find yourself comparing yourself negatively to someone else, remind yourself of three things you totally kickass at. Either that, or put a dollar in a jar. You’ll kick the habit pretty quickly.
14. Spend more time alone.
Carve out time once a week or month to date yourself. Take yourself out to dinner and a movie or go exploring around your city. Learn to be comfortable spending time alone. Learn to love your own company.
15. Start each day reminding of yourself of something positive in your life.
We tend to hold on to negative thoughts a lot stronger than positive ones, so expressing gratitude before you get out of bed in the morning is a small, effective way to get on the right path and to connect with happier thoughts.
16. Seriously cut back on social media.
Last but not least – social media is ground zero for making people feel inferior and think negatively about themselves. People who post on social media ONLY put their happiest selves forward — relationships, vacations, work brags, etc. – which makes it easy for you to wind up feeling like shit about your own life. Concentrate more on the “reality” and watch your mental well-being improve.