7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health!
Updated: May 27, 2019
Here at Misled Millennial, the month of April is all about exploring different areas of our lives that can be a struggle, and providing easy, realistic ways to feel in control and motivated again. This week’s topic is all about our mental health and getting it back on track.
Continuing with our theme of our quarter-year crisis, I thought it would be important if we looked at our mental health. Feeling stuck and lacking motivation can really cause our mental health to suffer.
Good mental health is vital for a happy life. So, I want to give you 7 easy, actionable steps you can take to help you feel at peace with your mind and improve your mental health. You deserve good mental health and happiness. Please never forget that.
So, let’s get going…
7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health!
1) Empty your mind – If your mind is feeling busy, it can be really difficult to relax and feel focused. Your thoughts are flying around at a million miles per hour and it’s hard to know your head from your arse. Let’s stop that and maintain a clear mind.
- Brain Dump – This is so useful! A brain dump is simply where you record all of the thoughts, ideas, tasks, worries etc, that are clogging up your mind and store them somewhere else. You can record them on paper, your phone, an app. Whatever works for you. This will help create space in your mind for helpful thoughts, creativity and peace.
- Journal – Every blogger known to man will tell you about this. Journaling is a fantastic way to unload your thoughts and feelings. It’s different to brain dumping, in that it’s more of an exercise to track how you’re doing from day to day. Journaling can help you become more self-aware and in tune with your mind. If you would like to learn more about journaling, check out Kim Banwell’s Blog. She has free resources all about it.
- Make lists – Not random sheets of paper everywhere though. I mean one place, where you write down everything you need to get done. To-do lists are a great way of stopping overwhelm and increasing productivity.
2) Practice gratitude – When our mental health is suffering, it’s very easy to fall into a negative cycle. Everything sucks, life sucks, we suck. This isn’t true, nor helpful in making us feel better. A good way to get out of this negative cycle is by practising gratitude; looking for the good in everyday, no matter how small.
- Set your wrist watch back an hour – I know, I know, this sounds a bit mad, but hear me out. This is something I do because every time I look at my watch, I think I’m an hour ahead. I then remember I have a whole extra hour I didn’t realise I had, which really makes me value my time and make the most of it. It sounds silly, but this simple action has really caused a mindset shift for me. Of course, keep your phone on the right time for appointments etc. Just see if this makes you feel good too.
- Have 3 things – Each night, before you go to bed, write down 3 things you’re grateful for that day. Get into the habit of actively looking for the good in life and make it part of your journaling process.
- Have a ‘cool shit’ list – Make a list of all of your biggest achievements, places you’ve visited, awesome people you’ve met, activities you’ve done and read over it whenever you are feeling like a potato.
3) Distract your mind – Until we all master the art of mindfulness, a good way to stop negative thoughts from consuming us, is to keep our minds busy with positive things. Try these to improve your mental health...
- Sport – Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly sporty, hand-eye coordination sports, such as catch, table-tennis, badminton, basketball are all really good ways of distracting your mind and releasing endorphins. Your mind has to focus on the sport happening, or you won’t be able to play.
- Learn a new skill – Having a new hobby that excites you to focus on, can really help utilise your mind in a positive way. This will boost your mood and exercise your brain. Learn a language, do an online course, learn to sew, or try something new with Skillshare.
- Double-up – I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a great way of keeping your mind busy and inspired. Whilst going about your day, listen to a podcast, audiobook or Youtube video in the background. Keep your brain engaged and focused.
4) Create a lovely life – Often, our mental health can take a dip if we feel like our life has no purpose, like we’re missing out or we don’t have enough fun. A way to combat this is to fill your time with positive and productive ways to enhance your life.
- Design a nice time-table – Make something that allows you to stay on top of your workload, but that also schedules in time for downtime, fun activities, self-care and self-development. I have a post about designing a life-changing daily routine here!
- Practice healthy habits – A book I highly recommend for this is Atomic Habits, by James Clear (affiliate link). This book is all about how getting 1% better every day can change your life. He breaks habits right down and helps you form ones that are best for you. It’s a brilliant book.
- Seek excitement – Always plan something fun to look forward to. Have a date night once a week, either for yourself, or your partner. Plan to visit a new place each weekend or book a weekend away. You can do free things, or spend a little, whatever works for you. Just have some exciting plans to look forward to and really focus on being in the moment when you do them.
5) Try a positive mindset – This seems much harder than it is, but by making small changes, you can really help shift your mindset and improve your mental health.
- Positive playlist – Music can be a simple, yet powerful way to lift our mood. Make a playlist of your favourite songs that get you going and play it whenever you like.
- Quotes – We all love a quote, now don’t we? They are a great way to positively affirm good thoughts. Try and make your favourite quote your screen saver, your bookmark, or print it and frame it on your wall.
- Create a ‘happy folder’ – Create a folder in your phone and fill it with screenshots of lovely messages you have received. These could be from friends, family, or strangers online. This exercise will help you realise how valued you are and will give you something to read through on your hard days, helping improve your mental health.
6) Rest – Now I don’t just mean have a lie in or a duvet day, although these are both heavenly options. I mean taking the time to consciously wind down and do what makes your soul happy.
- Social media detox – Social media is toxic when your mental health isn’t quite right. It can cause you to compare the negative way you’re feeling with other people’s fake highlight real. Take some time away from it. Silence the notifications or delete the apps from your phone to stop the temptation. You can also use apps such as Moment, or Flipd to track how often you’re using social media and block the app usage for a set amount of time.
- Be outdoors – A gentle walk, or 10 minutes sat on a park bench, just watching the world go by, can really help clear your head.
- Create a ‘happy soul’ list – This is a list of things that you know makes you happy. Dedicate a whole day to do as many of the things on this list as you can.
7) Allow yourself to feel – A problem surrounding mental health, is that we often think it’s bad to show emotion, or to allow ourselves the chance to feel sad, angry or confused. It’s common practice in society to feel the need to have it together all the time, put on a brave face, or be fine. This can be very damaging. The beautiful part about being human is the raw vulnerability we have and emotions we experience. It is important to allow ourselves to feel our emotions. All of them.
Please remember, that even though practicing a positive mindset is important, feeling happy all of the time isn’t real, healthy or sustainable. So please, give yourself a break.
- Track your mood – This goes hand in hand with journaling. It’s a good way to see how you feel depending on your circumstances, which can help identify any particular triggers, or remedies, for your mental health. If you are someone that struggles with staying on top of journaling, try the app Daylio – It’s a free app that allows you to keep track of your thoughts and feelings without writing them down; instead you log everything by selecting options.
- Write a letter – This could be to someone who you feel is triggering your mental health issues, or to someone you wish to talk to about how you’re feeling. Allow the emotion to run through you and come out on the paper. You don’t ever have to send these letters, the point of them is to acknowledge how you are feeling, stop carrying it as a burden and let it go. I did this with my therapist and it really worked for me.
- Express yourself – Allow yourself to feel your emotion in any way that is beneficial to you. If you want to cry, cry. If you need to rant, do so. If you want to talk to someone, or just want a hug, do that. Allow the emotion to pass through you and then let it go. The trick is to allow yourself to feel, without letting it consume you.
I really hope this post has given you some easy, actionable ways to get your mental health back on track. Good mental health is so important for a happy life, and with the right steps in place, you can really take back control of your mind.
You are never alone in how you are feeling, and you can always, always reach out to me.
Have a wonderful day and take care of you.
Tight squeezes! X
Question of the week: Do you prefer to read a book or listen to an audiobook or podcast?
Want to know how to put together the ultimate self-care kit? Click here!