Achieving mental wellbeing can be difficult in a world filled with constant pressure. However, there are strategies you can use to build a stronger, more resilient and calmer mind. Below you’ll find our list of the top 5 habits you can cultivate in order to build mental wellbeing.
This habit speaks for itself (pardon the pun). Creating the habit of talking with those around you about the things that bother you establishes valuable connections to the people that surround you. It is also an exercise in recognising the things you are going through. Transforming thought into words can also help frame the way you are feeling in a more tangible manner. When speaking with someone, we are confronted with aspects of our experience that we might either want to hide from others, or discover that there are things we really need to express out loud. In talking, you begin to develop a roadmap of your experience and the things you are feeling. Talking can also just mean speaking about topics unrelated to your difficulties, like speaking about interests, family, school – any conversation that helps establish kinship and support from those around you.
2. Writing / journalling.
This habit is quite underrated. However, it functions much in the same way that habit nr. 1 (talking) does, yet with the added perk that it provides a safe space for you to express the thoughts in your mind privately. The benefits of writing are quite similar to those of talking – by expressing feelings and thought in a tangible manner, you are articulating and unwrapping a complicated inner world that can be tough to make sense of. This is also an effective way to vent your frustrations with daily life and to identify the negative and positive aspects of your current way of living.
If you create a consistent habit of journaling and documenting your state of mind, your diary or notes will provide invaluable material for you. Think about the benefits of being able to look back on your journal entries from a year ago – perhaps there are patterns in your life? In the way you react to difficulties? Perhaps you come to realise how harshly you criticise yourself or how issues that seemed so big and destructive no longer have any impact on your life. This resource can be absolutely invaluable in evaluating your mind and providing the opportunity to look at the greater picture.
To help you along with this, check out our article on the apps you can use for wellbeing here.
Healthy body healthy mind. Though it might seem cliché, taking care of your body has a direct impact on the state of your mind. Cultivating habits of exercise comes with numerous benefits, including self-respect, discipline and taking time just for yourself. It is an act of self appreciation and nurturing, and helps you connect with yourself in a visceral way. Exercise doesn’t have to be overly complicated or difficult to fit into your routine. Find something you enjoy doing and want to incorporate into your life. Whether that is walking the dog (or walking yourself), yoga, zumba, weight lifting or rock climbing – do anything to get moving!
4. Nutrition / fuelling your body correctly.
Going hand in hand with exercise is the importance of properly fuelling your body. This statement might not seem as cliche as it does once you begin to delve into recent scientific discoveries regarding the body-mind connection. One quick google search will reveal countless scientific papers revealing how important gut health is in regulating mood. Recent studies have shown that the gut has a direct link to the brain with scientists even calling the gut the second brain. We can infer then that illness in the mind and illness in the body are closely connected. Going by this, we should treat the food we eat as an important part of taking care of the mind. For more on this, read any of these resources:
5. Reflection – Taking time to reflect over what you can be grateful for.
In the stress of life, we quickly get caught up and bogged down by feeling overwhelmed. This often leads to spirals of negativity, as we attempt to figure out why things aren’t going the way we want them to, or analysing situations critically. We are our worst critics, and it can be useful to remind ourselves that the way others perceive our lives will most likely be a whole lot more positive than the way we perceive our own lives. This is because we tend to ignore our achievements or accomplishments and forget that we all live our lives according to our own timeline. Comparison is the thief of joy indeed.
Take the time to ponder the things that you are grateful for. Focus on the smaller things you often overlook, like having a warm bed to go home to, easy access to clean water, the food in your fridge, your health, your access to the internet, a family member, a friend, the morning sun. It might seem a little silly in the beginning, but once you begin to reflect on these things, you will come to realise that there is something to be grateful for every day. Even in times of extreme difficulty, there are beauties to observe and things to be grateful for. Appreciate that, and appreciate the gift that is life.