You do things for your physical health every day, whether it’s brushing your teeth or choosing a salad for lunch. But do you give the same thought to those daily actions that help your mental health, too?
At Caliper we’re fierce about taking care of ourselves daily, inside and out, because there is no health without mental health. Behavioral science tells us that the daily, small steps we take for our health are the ones that matter most, because they add up over time.
Here are 8 easy ways you can do something positive for your mental health today.
1. Write down one thing you’re grateful for
Studies show that gratitude is closely linked with our feelings of well-being and happiness. Even if it’s something basic (“I’m grateful my cup of coffee was perfect”), the act of writing it down gives you a moment to reflect and savor it.
2. Get moving
Physical activity helps your body release endorphins – those “feel good” chemicals that can help boost your mood. For some people, the effects of regular exercise may even compare to taking an antidepressant! Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity each day to reap the most benefits.
3. Do someone a solid
From letting someone cut ahead of you on your morning commute to cheering up a friend with a phone call, being helpful to others helps boost your outlook, too. It’s a reminder of the good, kind person you are, and adds meaning to your day.
4. Dig into a healthy meal
Besides the happy self-care feels you get from feeding yourself well, a nourishing meal can have powerful health benefits. “Good” carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help increase levels of serotonin, a key mood-stabilizing hormone, and healthy unsaturated fats (think fatty fish, avocado, olive oil) also play a role in supporting a healthy brain.
5. Take a walk outside
Just ask a forest bather: Getting outdoors is a proven way to help make stress and anxiety fade away and help you clear your head. Sun exposure also triggers your body to produce vitamin D–and getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin” might help protect against depression.
6. Switch something up
The same routine, day after day, isn’t just boring; it can help us feel locked into the same feelings. By trying something different – say, a new food, or trying another route to work – you’ll jog your perspective a little, and maybe change your mindset.
7. Practice something you love
Devote a little time each day to something that brings you joy, whether it’s taking up a hobby, trying an online game, playing with your dog or cat, or listening to music you love. The pleasant distraction can have a major effect on reducing your stress levels and lifting your spirits.
8. Go to bed on time
Getting a good night’s sleep can do wonders for your mood and your overall health, and it’s soooo much easier when it’s a regular routine. Try these healthy sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation to get in the habit.
Don’t wait until tomorrow to take up these easy, everyday steps to keep your health on track! Day by day, they can add up to make a big difference in your outlook, and in your life.