When things are going well and we are not stressed out, take time to “smell the flowers” — to spend time on some of the “little things” that help us to be more emotionally resilient and improve our mental well-being.

These mental health habits will not only help us stay emotionally healthy and on track with our health goals but it will also help us quickly get back up when we slip up.

5 Habits to Improve Mental Health

To stay mentally healthy, develop these habits!

#1 Do Things Differently

Make time for things outside your daily or regular routine.

  • Take a different route or form of transport to your workplace and appreciate the new surroundings.
  • While at work, rearrange your routine tasks, such as dealing with clients first and then doing the account books or vice versa.
  • Stop along the way home to soak in a scenic view (a park or reservoir, the setting sun). Enjoy life.
  • Have an inquisitive mind and take interest in new things that inspire you, learn new skills and fit them into your daily life.

#2 Experience Tranquility

Set aside some time for peace and quiet.

  • Put aside some quiet time to reflect on matters other than work-related thoughts.
  • Think of happy memories in the past, future events you are looking forward to, or simply things that help you unwind (for example, a field of sunflowers, the sun setting, children playing).
  • Ensure you get at least seven hours of sleep daily. Sleeping well can have a positive impact on your outlook and help with anxiety and depression.

#3 Enjoy Affection

We all need the comforting presence of love and companionship in our relationships with others. Relationships provide love and warmth in your life. Make time for face-to-face social gatherings with friends.

  • Plan to have weekly meals with your family.
  • Go on a romantic date or do activities you enjoy with your significant other.
  • Catch up with an ex-colleague or a friend whom you have not seen for a while.
  • Make time for the people around you, however hectic your schedule may be, and appreciate the warmth in these meaningful relationships.

#4 Laugh

Laughter is more than a smile. It fuels our inner senses, decreases our burdens, makes us feel good and lightens a difficult situation. There is always a positive side to every bad situation. Things may not seem so bad after a good laugh.

  • Actively source for people or situations that can arouse laughter within you.
  • Stay away from cynics or people who affect your mood negatively.
  • Look at the positives in daily activities instead of the negatives.

#5 Stay Healthy

Being active every day and regular exercise have uplifting effects.

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Even a short walk each day can improve your mood.
  • People think drinking can help you drown your sorrows but research shows that drinking less alcohol enhances your mental well-being.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
  2. Freeman, Daniel & Sheaves, Bryony & Goodwin, Guy & Yu, Li-Yuang & Nickless, Alecia & Harrison, Paul & Emsley, Richard & Luik, Annemarie & Foster, Russell & Wadekar, Vanashree & Hinds, Christopher & Gumley, Andrew & Jones, Ray & Lightman, Stafford & Jones, Steven & Bentall, Richard & Kinderman, Peter & Rowse, Georgina & Brugha, Traolach & Espie, Colin. (2017). The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry. 4. 10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30328-0. 
  3. Crawford, S. A., & Caltabiano, N. J. (2011). Promoting emotional well-being through the use of humour. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(3), 237–252. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2011.577087
  4. Wong, Shyh Shin. (2012). Negative thinking versus positive thinking in a Singaporean student sample: Relationships with psychological well-being and psychological maladjustment. Learning and Individual Differences. 22. 76–82. 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.11.013.
  5. Tozzi, L., Carballedo, A., Lavelle, G., Doolin, K., Doyle, M., Amico, F., McCarthy, H., Gormley, J., Lord, A., O'Keane, V., & Frodl, T. (2016). Longitudinal functional connectivity changes correlate with mood improvement after regular exercise in a dose-dependent fashion. The European journal of neuroscience, 43(8), 1089–1096. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13222
  6. Miller, J. C., & Krizan, Z. (2016). Walking facilitates positive affect (even when expecting the opposite). Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 16(5), 775–785. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040270
  7. Appleton, A., James, R., & Larsen, J. (2018). The Association between Mental Wellbeing, Levels of Harmful Drinking, and Drinking Motivations: A Cross-Sectional Study of the UK Adult Population. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(7), 1333. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071333