11 Daily Actions for a Happy and Healthy Mind
- Written by Alicia Drewnicki
- January 8, 2020
- 5 min read
This week, our focus is on the mind, and all the things you can do to keep it happy and healthy. Just like every other part of your body, your mind also needs plenty of TLC. From the foods you eat, to the way you move, and the things you focus on, there are so many things that have an impact on your mental health. Here’s an Honestly Good lowdown of 11 daily actions to boost your brain and keep your mind in tip-top shape:
1) Take Time to Meditate
We love meditation at Honestly Good, and you may have seen our previous post about 14 Meditation Tips for People with a Busy Mind and a Busy Life. Meditation may seem challenging at first, but studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve concentration, lengthen your life, and actually change the structure of your brain. (Source)
2) Eat Foods That Are Good for Your Mind and Body
The old saying goes: “a healthy body makes a healthy mind”, and we’re huge believers that good food is fuel for the brain. Try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Food that is good for your mind includes nuts, fish (especially salmon, trout, sardines, and those rich in omega-3 fatty acids), pulses, and dark leafy greens such as kale. Try to eat whole foods that are as close to their original form as possible, and take joy out of eating a rainbow of colours on your plate.
3) Drink Plenty of Water
Make sure you drink eight glasses of water a day to keep your body and mind fueled. Did you know your brain is made up of over 70% water? So not drinking enough water can affect your concentration levels, mood, and overall cognitive function. Try to limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, and monitor how this changes your mood – you might be surprised by the results!
4) Spend Time In Nature
Did you know that spending time in nature can boost the immune system? Plants and trees release “phytoncide” which has a positive impact on human immune function (Source)
We mentioned the Japanese art of Forest Bathing in our post on how to reconnect with nature, so even though it may be cold outside, making the effort to spend time in your nearest green space can truly do your mind and body wonders!
5) Exercise at least 3 to 5 days a week
Even if just for a short burst, regular exercise is imperative to our health. Cardiovascular exercise gets oxygen-rich blood pumping to the brain, and this leads to your body releasing mood-boosting endorphins. Exercise also helps relieve stress, improves sleep, and increases brain productivity.
6) Connect with Others
Humans need connections with others, and not just over social media. Did you know that having strong social groups and feeling connected with others can help us live longer? When we spend too much time alone, there’s a risk of ruminating, over-thinking our problems, and becoming too introspective, so make the effort to reach out to others and maintain your relationships with friends and family. Good quality, loving relationships are key to a happy, fulfilling life.
7) Give Something Back
Ever considered volunteering? How about a random gesture of kindness? Or donating to your favourite charity? Giving to others can boost your mental health, and also form new connections, so instead of focusing on what you can do to improve your life, think of how you can help others.
8) Have a Good Bedtime Routine
Sleep is so, so important for our health. We’re huge fans of Arianna Huffington, who said in her book “ The Sleep Revolution” that “sleep deprivation has been found to have a strong connection with practically every mental health disorder we know of”.
It’s imperative to have a good bedtime routine. We recommend starting to unwind a couple of hours before bed – perhaps with a nice warm bath. Then (at least) an hour before you sleep, take your screens off (the blue light from TVs, phones, tablets, and laptops can negatively affect our sleep quality) and dim the lights if possible. We love to light an aromatherapy candle, and read before bed.
If you’re looking for a candle that is designed to help you sleep, check out the SLEEP WELL range from Scentered which features aromatherapy candles, and balms made of essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, ho wood, and clove.
9) Learn New Things
Your brain needs to be stimulated as this helps prevent cognitive decline. Why not take up a new hobby or class? Learn a language? Learn to play an instrument? Or take up some crafts or a painting class? It’s not only great for your brain, but it’s also an excellent stress reliever, and helps your mind focus on something new.
10) Stop Negative Self-Talk
Sometimes we need to reframe thoughts that are not serving us. It’s easy to let the mind wander, and to dwell on negative past events, or perhaps to worry too much about future events. Staying present and focusing on what’s in front of us, rather than letting the negative thought cycles get us down is essential to positive mental health.
A great way to stay focused on the positive is by using affirmations, or having a mantra/favourite word that reminds you of positive things. We love Mantra Jewellery who create beautiful jewellery designed to inspire and uplift people.
11) Show Gratitude
End each day by writing down at least three things you are grateful for. It’s a quick and easy task, but will help you re-calibrate your mind and focus on the good. Also – being thankful can boost the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels, which in turn can make you feel great too.
We hope these 11 tips help inspire you for the year ahead. Remember, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Focus on the little improvements you can make to your life day by day, and you’ll soon look back and realise how much progress you’ve made.