Mindful Habits to Adopt For Better Mental Health: Mindfulness has been a trending topic recently. With the rise of guided meditation apps and yoga classes, many people are adopting mindfulness practices in their lives.
However, it’s more than just a trend. Mindfulness meditation has been practiced as part of Buddhism for centuries and has been utilized in therapy since the 70s to help with anxiety and even chronic pain. With all the ways that mindfulness can help your mental health, let’s look at a few ways to add more mindful and healthy habits to your day.
7 Mindful Habits to Adopt For Better Mental Health
1. Morning Routines
Morning routines are great for mental health. They keep you locked in the present moment right from the minute you wake up. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, making your bed, and eating breakfast are all staples of a mindful morning that can better your mental health.
While going about your morning, take time to think about how you’re performing each action. Try going outside of your comfort zone, like adding a morning walk, or washing your face with cold water. These habits can help you to be more present in each moment.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most direct ways to add mindful habits into your life. Meditation has many proven health benefits, such as increased self-confidence, and reduced negative sentiments. By aligning your body and mind, it can also help to improve mental health.
Spending a few minutes a day forcing yourself to be fully present in your meditation can raise your awareness outside of your meditation. It’s been known to help with many different mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
You don’t need any fancy equipment or even an app. Just take your time, sit down, let yourself experience the moment, and flit away your thoughts. Your mental health will thank you.
3. Gratitude Journaling
There are many kinds of journaling, and most of them have proven mindful benefits. Gratitude journaling is one of the most helpful ones, as it forces you to consider all the things you’re thankful for and remain present in them.
Through gratitude journaling, you train your brain to recognize the good things in life and the things you appreciate. Hopefully, after spending some time in the habit, you start to recognize these things as they happen, and can be on the lookout for new things to add to your journal!
Unfortunately, societal stigma often dictates that you must be suffering from a mental illness before you can seek help. This is simply not true. Talking to a therapist can be helpful for anyone – you don’t need to be struggling with intense anxiety or wracked with depression.
Options for online therapy can make seeing a therapist more convenient for you. You can talk about what you’re struggling with and what you feel successful in. Your therapist is there to listen to you and help you parse what you’re thinking about.
If you feel good, share those wins! If you’re struggling, talk to them about how you feel. It might even be helpful to share what’s in your gratitude journal with them.
5. Nature Walks
Spending time in nature is fantastic for mindfulness. Listening to the sounds of nature can help center your thoughts and increase your connection to the world around you. On top of that, including physical activity in your day can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health.
Everyday life often keeps us inside or takes us out of our natural space. However, spending time outside can have noticeable benefits from moment to moment. Notice what kind of leaves every plant has. Listen for how many different kinds of animals you can hear. Take note of the clouds passing by.
You can even try inviting a friend to add an element of social connection. Being face to face with someone in nature can help you to be more mindful in your relationships.
Coloring for mindfulness can be a great habit to adopt. Not only does it provide you with a relaxing activity, but there are also a number of mental health benefits of coloring. Instead of turning on your phone and scrolling through social media, replace that time with a coloring book.
Practice mindfulness by thinking about how your writing instrument feels in your hand, and then on paper. It can be nice to have a few to switch between. Do you prefer crayons, colored pencils, or markers? Are there certain colors that you feel more drawn to? While the task at hand may seem childish, it can be nice to spend time doing and thinking about simpler things.
The boundary of coloring within the lines can feel therapeutic for some, while others enjoy the freedom that comes from coloring outside the lines with no consequences. This isn’t kindergarten with peer pressure or an overbearing teacher – color how you want to, and what looks good to you only!
7. Savor Food
Eating is one thing that everyone does and is an important place to be mindful. Diet culture and thinking too much about what you should be eating can trigger anxiety for some people. However, being present and feeling good with the food you are actively eating can help manage those stresses. Bring your attention to how the food makes you feel and what you enjoy about it. What are the little joys you can take out of it? What flavors do you prefer?
Pay attention to how you’re chewing and how it looks on your plate. You don’t need to eat gourmet cuisine to practice eating mindfully. Even if you’re getting fast food or having a quick snack, take the time to think about your food and enjoy what you’re eating. You’ll recognize when you’re full faster, appreciate your meals more, and feel less anxious about food.
Once you’ve added these mindful habits into your life, you might start being mindful in every situation. You can wash dishes, drive your car, or even work mindfully! Let these habits be the beginning of a mindful lifestyle.