The Healthy Habit Probably Missing From Your Day

You know you should exercise regularly and eat nutritious meals every day, but there’s one healthy routine you may not know you need in your life: one that focuses on your mental wellness. Regularly caring for your mind can have huge impacts on your overall well-being that go way beyond making you feel more relaxed. That’s because too much stress increases blood pressure, weakens your immune system and can even cause gastrointestinal issues. Don’t be intimidated–starting a mental health routine doesn’t have to mean big changes. Pick a few small actions, try to do them daily and soon they’ll become second-nature. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Start a gratitude journal. Stress over work and family responsibilities can sometimes trap you in a pattern filled with negative thinking that feeds on itself. However, a gratitude journal is one way to focus on the more positive things in your life. Research shows it makes you more optimistic and helps you stay physically healthy. Never had one before? First consider what type of format will work best for you—you may like to physically write the items down on paper or prefer to keep a digital list. Then remember to be consistent and write at least three to five things a day that you’re happy about. It could be a nice thing someone said, a pretty view you saw on your walk to your car or a delicious treat you had after lunch.
  • Get high-tech help for meditating. Meditation is proven to be hugely beneficial (research shows it can reduce pain, anxiety and depression), but it can be so hard to start doing it. Try using Headspace, a free app that helps you practice mindfulness and meditation during your busy life. You can listen to the 10-minute sessions on the go or download them to follow along to later.
  • Try out a craft. Knitting isn’t just good for increasing your scarf collection, it also may help reduce anxiety. That’s because knitting forces you to get into a zone and forget about things causing you stress in your life. In fact, 81 percent of knitters report feeling happy after working on their craft. Don’t like knitting? Anything that requires you to focus on what you’re doing in the moment will work, like quilting, painting, cake decorating or even doing crossword puzzles.

Ready to learn more ways you can start a mental wellness routine? Check out the following blogs:

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme.

 

 

Photo credit: Robyn Vines Smith

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