In addition to nourishing your body and participating in physical activities you enjoy, there are many other ways you can improve your mental health.
According to clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, “well-being is associated with balance, understanding, acceptance and constant growth.” Below you’ll find 9 ways to help you flourish and bolster your well-being.
1. Do what makes you happy first thing
Sometimes it can feel like you’re going through your days on autopilot, and that can get tedious and depressing. Start your day off on a positive note by engaging in an enjoyable activity every morning.
One of Taliaferro’s clients started swimming at a YMCA pool in the a.m. She told Taliaferro that it’s completely shifted her outlook and lifted her mood.
2. Get rid of rotten eggs
“There’s usually at least one rotten egg in your life that’s dragging down your mental outlook,” Taliaferro said. For example, some of Taliaferro’s clients are especially affected by the news. One of her clients decided that if it’s not on the AOL homepage then she doesn’t need to know about it.
Identify your rotten eggs and figure out how to remove them. Your rotten eggs might seem small. But even annoyances can add up and chip away at your mood and well-being.
3. Surround yourself with positive scents and sounds
Our surroundings can affect our well-being. “You can create a positive feeling at home with lemon, peppermint or other essential oils you love,” Taliaferro said. She plays different kinds of music regularly depending on what she’s in the mood for.
4. Get inspired
Find inspiration in everything from subscribing to a daily quote to listening to uplifting audio books on the way to work to reading magazines with exciting ideas, Taliaferro said. Duffy also suggested reading Inspiration by Wayne Dyer, which is one of his favorites.
5. Practice gratitude
“You’ll find you shift your overall outlook on life when you come form a perspective of gratitude,” Duffy said. He suggested readers make a list of three things they’re thankful for every morning.
Another idea is to recite at least 10 reasons why you’re grateful for your job, according to Master Certified life and career coach Kristin Taliaferro. “Look for unexpected surprises such as ‘my sunny office window’ or ‘cool work friends to have lunch with.’”
For inspiration, you might check out Living Life as a Thank You by Mary Beth Sammons and Nina Lesowitz. It’s filled with inspiring stories of gratitude, according to Duffy
6. Identify and use your individual strengths
Using your strengths, Walls said, helps you feel energized and empowered. Not sure what your strengths are? Walls recommended Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinders 2.0, which features 34 strength themes and an assessment.
“Sometimes, we take life far too seriously,” Duffy said. Need proof? Duffy ran across information that revealed that kids laugh about 200 times per day; adults laugh an average of 15 times per day. He suggested everything from seeing a funny movie to playing games like Charades or Apples to Apples.
8. Live in the present
“Mental health tends to become challenged when we get sucked into what used to happen or what people ‘did to me’ rather than taking responsibility in what I am doing or creating today, right now,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber. He encouraged readers to live in the present without hyperfocusing on the future or the past.
9. Be introspective
Avoid coasting through life without assessing yourself, Sumber said. For instance, he periodically asks himself questions such as “Am I in denial about anything or resisting anything anywhere in my life?”
Duffy also suggested stepping back and considering where your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are coming from. You might ask: Is that thought helpful? It that behavior necessary? Is there a better option?
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