20 daily habits to track for improved mental wellness
By Remy Meraz • February 9, 2023
Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being and can greatly impact our daily lives. Habits play a significant role in shaping our state of mind and can either positively or negatively influence it. By establishing and tracking good daily habits, we can improve our mental health and enhance our daily lives.
In this blog, we'll be discussing 20 good habits that can help you track and improve your mental state. From healthy eating to practicing mindfulness, these habits can help you create a positive impact on your mental well-being every day. So, let's get started!
What do most successful people have in common?
Most successful individuals share a common trait - the ability to take action and execute their ideas to reach their goals. They understand that success does not come from just having great ideas, but from putting in the effort to bring those ideas to life.
Whether they are working towards a dream job, committing to new health goals, or making progress in other areas of their lives, accomplished people are willing to take the initiative and put in the work. They recognize that taking consistent action is key - without it, progress never happens.
Habit building plays a crucial role in achieving successful and meaningful lives, especially when it comes to mental health. Habits shape our daily routines and provide structure to our lives, helping us to be more productive and proactive. By building healthy habits, we can develop the skills and resources necessary to tackle the challenges that life throws our way.
However, developing better habits can be a difficult and time-consuming process. It requires consistent effort, determination, and a willingness to challenge old patterns of behavior. Nevertheless, the numerous benefits of habit-building make it well worth the effort.
Common mistakes when establishing daily habits
Before you dive in, it's important to point out that developing healthy daily habits is a process that requires self-awareness, patience, and forgiveness. Here are a few things to avoid as you are getting started:
Starting with too many new habits at once can be overwhelming and make it difficult to stick to any of them. It's best to start small and focus on building one habit at a time.
Not setting realistic goals:
Setting unrealistic or too difficult goals can set you up for failure and make it difficult to maintain the habit. Start with small, achievable goals and gradually build from there.
Not having a plan:
Without a plan or strategy in place, it's easy to get off track or lose motivation when trying to build a new habit. Make a plan for how you will integrate that habit into your routine every day and hold yourself accountable.
Expanding your daily habits takes time, consistency, and dedication to form a habit, so don’t be afraid of failing or having setbacks. If something isn’t working, take the opportunity to reassess and adjust your routine. Stay motivated and before you know it, those once-new daily habits will have become second nature.
20 healthy daily habits to start today
With these 20 healthy daily habit suggestions and a dedication to taking action on one habit for just a few minutes every day, you too can experience countless mental and physical health benefits in no time.
1. Get up as early as you need
Did you know that on average, most Fortune 500 CEOs start their day between 4 am and 5 am? Waking up early is a great way to set yourself up for success and cultivate healthy daily habits. It's a chance to start your day on the right foot, giving you more time for important things like exercise, meal preparation, and even just spending quality time with your family.
Getting up early is not always easy, especially if you are not a morning person. To help develop and track the habit of waking up early, it is important to plan ahead and create an environment that is conducive to getting up at the desired time.
First, identify a realistic wake-up time that works for you. Many people find it helpful to set two alarms: one for the exact time you must wake up and the other for a few minutes before.
Second, create an incentive so that getting out of bed is enjoyable. You could use your routine to listen to your favorite podcast, read something inspiring or even just take a few minutes to meditate.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast
Eating a healthy diet is essential for optimal mental well-being. Nutrient-dense foods can provide your body with the essential vitamins and minerals needed to function properly, and eating a variety of foods can help to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you need. Eating a balanced diet ensures that your brain is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain healthy and well.
Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast that is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats helps to provide your body and mind with the fuel needed for better concentration, improved focus, and increased alertness throughout the day. Eating a balanced breakfast, such as one containing eggs or Greek yogurt, will help to provide essential nutrients to your body and brain which will help to keep you energized and productive.
Meal planning can be an incredibly effective way to make it easier to eat healthier in the morning and all day long. Meal planning is essentially the practice of deciding what you will eat ahead of time and then making sure you have all the ingredients necessary to make those meals. This process can help save money, time, and energy while still allowing you to enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal.
3. Create first instead of consume
Creating something of your own is an incredibly empowering feeling. Whether it’s a blog post, an article, a painting, or even just a few lines of code, creating can be both rewarding and calming. Creating is a great way to build confidence in yourself and express your creativity. It’s also beneficial for mental health as it gives you something to focus on that is positive and productive.
Creating can also be a great way to disconnect from the overwhelming amount of information we are exposed to every day. By creating instead of consuming, you give yourself time and mental space away from distractions, allowing you to focus on what’s important.
Creativity doesn’t have to be a big project or take a long time. Even just taking 10 minutes each day to write, paint, draw, or code something can make a difference in your mental well-being. Whether you’re creating for yourself or others, the result is always rewarding.
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we experience. Being grateful for what we have and recognizing that we are fortunate can be incredibly beneficial for our mental health. It helps us to focus on the positive aspects of life, instead of the negativity and challenges that are inevitable in life.
The practice of gratitude can be done anytime during the day. Taking a few moments to express gratitude for the little things in life, such as a hot cup of coffee, can be incredibly calming and can help us to stay focused on the positive aspects of our lives.
Writing down what you are grateful for is an excellent way to practice gratitude. Keeping a journal and writing down one thing each day that you are grateful for is an incredibly powerful way to stay focused on the positive and cultivate a mindset of abundance. Work this into your morning routine and watch how quickly your outlook on everyday life shifts.
5. Make time for movement
Making time for movement is essential for mental well-being. Exercise helps to increase endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood boosters. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety as it allows us to escape from our day-to-day worries.
Exercising doesn’t have to be a big production. Even just taking a few minutes of your lunch break to do some stretching or light cardio can make a difference in how you feel. Find an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, or yoga and commit to doing it regularly.
Making movement part of your daily routine will not only help with mental health, but it can also help improve your physical health. So make time to move and you’ll be doing yourself a favor in more ways than one. Don't forget to drink water too, and plenty of it!
6. Take time to cook
Cooking is another great way to take care of your mental health. Taking the time to cook a meal can help you to feel more connected and grounded, as you’re creating something with your own two hands. It also allows you to nourish yourself with healthy ingredients that will help keep your mind and body healthy.
Cooking can also help you to practice mindfulness. Pay attention to the smells, textures, and flavors of the food as you’re preparing it. Doing so can help take your mind away from stressful thoughts and worries, allowing you to focus on the present moment.
It may seem like a chore, but if you make cooking part of your routine, you’ll quickly come to enjoy it and reap the benefits.
7. Make time to read every day
Reading can be an incredibly calming and intellectually stimulating activity. Not only does it help to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the world around you, but it can also provide a great escape from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.
Whether it’s a book, a magazine, or even an article on the internet, try to spend time reading every day to reduce stress and anxiety.
In addition to reading for pleasure, you may also want to consider picking up some self-help or personal development books. These types of books can provide invaluable insights that will help you to improve your mental health and overall well-being.
8. Declutter your emails
A cluttered inbox can make it difficult to find important emails, wasting time and reducing efficiency. It can also contribute to a sense of being overwhelmed and increased stress levels.
Regularly decluttering your email inbox can improve your mental health by reducing workplace anxiety and increasing productivity. Start by unsubscribing from any unwanted emails, ie. emails that you no longer want or need to receive. Next, try using folders and filters to automatically sort incoming emails into appropriate folders going forward. Finally, dedicate specific time each day to manage your inbox and keep it from getting out of control.
By prioritizing this simple, new habit in your daily life, you can reclaim time that would have been wasted scrolling and instead use it to pursue other activities that can make you happier and healthier.
9. Spend quality time with your partner
Studies have shown that couples who spend more quality time together are better able to resolve conflicts, communicate more effectively, and overall feel closer as a couple. But did you know that another positive ripple effect is improved mental clarity and well-being?
There are many ways to spend quality time with your partner. One of the easiest ways to start is by having regular date nights or weekend activities that you can both look forward to. This could be a movie night, playing board games together, taking a cooking class, or simply going for a daily walk in your neighborhood. It’s important to make sure these dates are about quality time and not just about costly activities.
Ultimately, quality connection with your partner is essential for both mental and emotional well-being. Start by taking steps to make more space for connection in your relationship and soon you’ll start to notice the positive effects of spending time with one another.
10. Learn something new
When you learn a new skill, you gain a sense of accomplishment and feel more confident in your abilities. Engaging in a new experience can also take your mind off of daily stressors and provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Having a new challenge to work towards keeps the mind active and can improve cognitive function, especially as we age.
Here are some new experiences that you can try to boost your mental well-being:
Mindfulness meditation: This involves focusing on the present moment, using techniques such as breathing and guided imagery to calm the mind, lower blood pressure, and minimize stress.
Outdoor activities: Engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening, or bird-watching can help decrease stress, increase happiness, and improve overall health.
Volunteer work: When you spend time helping others, it can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of purpose.
Trying new foods: Exploring new cuisines and flavors can be a fun and exciting way to broaden your horizons and boost your mental well-being.
11. Get fresh air every day
This might be the easiest daily habit on your to-do list; just go outside! Fresh air and exposure to nature can help improve mood, boost concentration, and regulate sleep patterns.
Whether it’s taking a walk, doing yoga in the park, or simply sitting on a bench and soaking up some sunshine, getting outside can be an easy way to stay connected with yourself and the world around you. It doesn't have to be long, just a few minutes of fresh air can have positive effects. So, make sure to get outside and enjoy the world around you!
12. Create a healthy work-life balance
To cultivate a healthy work-life balance, it is essential to set clear boundaries between professional relationships and personal commitments. This may involve setting regular hours for work, taking breaks several times a day, or scheduling time off from work when needed.
Additionally, it helps to have realistic expectations about the amount of work that can be completed in a certain period of time. It is also important to identify activities that can provide relaxation and fulfillment outside of work, such as hobbies, exercise, or leisure activities with family and friends.
13. Prepare in the evening for school and work
Preparing for school and work the evening before can have a significant impact on our mental health. When we can plan ahead and be organized, it can decrease stress levels and help us to feel more in control of our day-to-day lives. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment when the tasks are complete and allows us to start the day with a plan and purpose.
Creating a checklist of items that need to be done to prepare for school or work is an effective way to ensure everything gets done the night before. This can include things like packing lunches, laying out clothes, organizing folders, completing any unfinished homework assignments, and setting alarms. Taking the time to do these things the evening before can help us feel more prepared and confident heading into school or work.
14. Create a consistent simple evening routine
Following a consistent routine, each evening can help us to stay organized and ensure all tasks are completed on time. This can help you to feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. Investing time into your evening routine can ultimately lead to a good night's sleep and improved mental well-being in the long run.
Consider creating a simple evening routine that you can stick to. This could include: taking a hot bath or shower, drinking some tea, doing some light reading, meditating for a few minutes, and writing in your journal before bed. Other activities that may also be included are yoga, listening to music, journaling, and writing down any thoughts or ideas you had during the day. The key is to find activities that work best for you and help you go to bed on time.
15. Never end the day with an argument
Ending the day with an argument can have a very negative effect on someone's mental state. Arguing releases stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, into one's body which can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. In addition, arguing can lead to negative thought patterns that can linger on throughout the day and beyond. This can become especially problematic if a person is not able to resolve the argument.
Instead of ending the day with an argument, take some time to communicate your feelings and come up with a solution that will make both parties happy. This will help you start the next day on a positive note and improve your overall well-being.
16. Get enough sleep
Studies have found that inadequate sleep is associated with a range of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. It can also lead to increased irritability and impaired concentration. Being sleep-deprived can also be related to poor self-esteem, greater stress levels, lower productivity, and poorer overall psychological functioning.
Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night and fit in naps when you can. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and disconnecting from electronics before bed are all healthy daily habits to help ensure you are getting enough restful sleep each night.
17. Limit screen time
Prolonged exposure to screens may lead to poor posture, eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. Additionally, too much time spent in front of screens has been linked to obesity due to a lack of physical activity and increased consumption of unhealthy snacks while watching television or playing video games.
Therefore, it is important to limit time spent in front of screens and on social media accounts and be aware of the amount of time that children and adults spend in front of screens each day. Time limits should be enforced for electronic devices such as TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Adults should also set an example by limiting their own screen time and engaging in activities that promote physical and mental wellness. This will help to ensure that our children develop healthy habits that they can carry into adulthood.
18. Practice positive self-talk
One of the most effective methods of practicing uplifting self-talk is to use positive affirmations. Affirmations are short, positive statements that can be repeated throughout the week to help increase your self-esteem and improve your outlook on life.
For example, you might say “I am capable of achieving my goals” or “I am worthy of love and respect.” When you repeat these affirmations regularly, they can serve as a powerful reminder that you are capable and deserving of success, even when life may seem difficult or overwhelming.
If a daily habit like this feels like it's outside of your comfort zone, you can start small by repeating an affirmation every morning in the mirror. This simple act of self-love and kindness can help set a positive tone for your day ahead, making it easier to let go of negative thoughts and feelings.
You can also try writing down affirmations on sticky notes and placing them where they’ll be seen throughout the day. This can help reinforce the positive thoughts and beliefs that are essential to developing a growth mindset.
19. Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system, and although drinking in moderation has been linked to positive mental and physical health benefits, overindulging with alcohol can lead to a variety of negative consequences, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more severe depression. Drinking beyond what is considered moderate can increase a person’s risk for addiction, interpersonal issues, and numerous adverse health issues.
Therefore, it is important to limit alcohol consumption and ensure that drinking does not become a habit. Additionally, if any mental health symptoms arise after alcohol consumption – such as feeling irritable or anxious – this could be an indication of the onset of a substance use disorder and professional help should be sought.
20. Engage in mindfulness activities
Mindfulness activities and practices of self-care are essential good habits for maintaining overall health, as they can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. By bringing mindfulness into our daily routine, we can become more aware of our thoughts and feelings in the present moment. This increases our ability to observe our emotions without judgment or criticism and helps us to better manage our reactions.
There are a variety of mindfulness activities, such as guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, and body scans. Additionally, engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can help to foster positive emotions, which is beneficial for overall mental health. Taking regular breaks to do something enjoyable or meaningful also helps us to stay on-task and productive during the day. By committing to these activities, we can cultivate mindfulness and self-care, allowing us to better manage our thoughts and emotions.
How to embrace new daily habits
Forming a new habit can be difficult, especially when it is something that fundamentally changes people's lifestyles. Many factors can make it challenging, such as the presence of negative thought patterns and behaviors, or even just the lack of motivation to reach a goal.
While forming a habit takes time and dedication, there are ways to make it easier for yourself.
Habit stacking is a technique in behavior change that involves forming new habits by "stacking" them onto existing ones. It involves identifying a current habit you already have, and then linking a new habit to it as a cue to perform the new habit.
The idea is to make it easier to adopt and maintain the new habit by tying it to a habit that is already established and automatic. For example, after brushing your teeth, you could stack a habit of meditation by immediately sitting down to meditate after brushing your teeth.
Habit tracking is the process of recording and monitoring the frequency and consistency of a desired behavior or action over time. It is effective for people wanting to learn healthy daily habits because it provides a way to measure progress, increase accountability and motivation, and make adjustments to their behavior as needed.
A daily habit tracker also helps to establish a routine, which is important for building healthy habits. Additionally, the visual representation of progress can help individuals to recognize their achievements and reinforce the positive effects of their actions on their mental wellness, leading to a more positive mindset and greater commitment to maintaining their healthy habits.
Incorporating small daily habits such as exercise, eating more vegetables, limiting social media, quality sleep, and mindfulness can have a big impact. By making these habits a part of our daily routine, we can see positive changes in our mood, focus, productivity, and overall wellness.
These are just a few of the many ways to nurture a mentally healthier lifestyle. Everyone’s situation is different, so find what works best for you and commit to it regularly. The key to success is consistency and taking the time to practice self-care.
So why not choose one or two of the healthy daily habits mentioned in this post and start tracking them today? You may be surprised at the many benefits they produce throughout your whole life.
Read more about: Life Coaching
About Remy Meraz
Remy Meraz is a visionary leader and dedicated entrepreneur with a passion for driving positive change. As the co-founder and CEO of Zella Life, an on-demand coaching platform, Remy is working to close the diversity and gender gaps she has personally experienced as a woman of color. Through her innovative platform, she is providing businesses and individuals with critical personal and professional development tools that are improving entire workplace ecosystems and transforming the future of work.
Recognized for her contributions and impact in the startup world, Remy was named a 2022 Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund recipient. Her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to social impact make her a powerful force in the business community. With Zella Life, Remy is creating new opportunities for growth and success for people from all backgrounds.