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20 Healthy Habits for Mental Wellness

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, explores facts, attitudes and habits which can help us maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.

Mental wellness goes beyond the absence of mental illness. Additionally, it is the presence of healthy life principles demonstrated in healthy habits. An awareness of why we do what we do in regard to mental wellness will help us keep focused on healthy choices.

Below are twenty suggestions for healthy habits we can practice in five different dimensions, which integrate to enhance mental health.

Volunteer Project.  Photo by VA State Park Staff

Volunteer Project. Photo by VA State Park Staff

A. Physical – Nurturing Healthy Bodies

US Department of Agriculture

US Department of Agriculture

(1) Balanced Diet

A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water” (Mental Health Foundation).

(2) Regular Exercise

Not only does exercise promote blood flow to the brain; it encourages new brain cells; it also decreases risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

(3) Fluid Intake

Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. . . Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic . . . is compromised when your fluids are low” (Joshua Gowin, Ph.D). Two liters per day is recommended.

(4) Adequate Sleep

Irritability and moodiness are some of the first signs a person experiences from lack of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep after the initial signs can result in apathy, slowed speech, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to be novel or multitask (Psychologist and Sleep Expert David F. Dinges Ph.D). The amount of recommended sleep each night is

  • 7 to 8 hours for adults;
  • 9 hours for teens;
  • 10 hours for school-aged children.

B. Social - Maintaining Positive Relationships

Photo by Michael Anderson

Photo by Michael Anderson

(5) Conversation

A face to face conversation (speaking and listening) every day helps to improve, or at least, maintain your vocabulary. If face to face is impossible, a telephone conversation can substitute. A sense of connectedness is vital to mental wellness.

(6) Volunteering

“The experience of helping others can lead to a sense of greater self-worth and confidence. And volunteering can provide you with a sense of purpose, especially in tough times. . . It helps you build vital interpersonal ties and social networks that can combat depression and isolation” (United Healthcare).

(7) Membership

Membership in a religious or community group promotes a sense of belonging, which is vital to mental wellness. Belong, not only because you benefit from the companionship, but also because you have something to offer. Sharing your talents make other people happy; in turn, that makes you happy.

(8) Travel

According to Dr. Jack Bennet, life coach, being in a different place with different people make you more curious, more daring and more hungry for life. You see a new world every time you travel.


C. Emotional - Understanding Ourselves, Sharing Love and Empathy

Photo by Arlington Weithers

Photo by Arlington Weithers

(9) The Garden View

“Horticultural therapists say gardens produce the most positive effects on mental health, by providing a sense of control - the psychological counter to stress and anxiety. . . The science is now being used in hospitals and rehabilitation centers in the U.S., where "healing gardens" have been created for patients to look at and walk through” (George Gordon, Daily Mail).

(10) Hugs

Studies show that regular hugs by relatives and friends result in increased nerve activity and upbeat moods. One recent study shows that an affectionate hug is more beneficial than regular church attendance in improving our frame of mind.

(11) Laughter

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health” (Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D). Laughter strengthens the immune system and is an antidote to pain and conflict.

(12) Love Letters

Letter writing is an old fashioned art, with bonding potential as strong today as ever. First, you open your heart wide in love and confidence, then you give away your feelings to someone special who alone has access to the evidence. The only thing that makes you feel better is receiving a love letter in response.


D. Intellectual - Learning New Skills and New Challenges

(13) Memory Work

Memorize something new: one of the speeches of your favorite great orator, the lyrics of a tune you love, a new direction home from a place you visit occasionally. To help you remember, visualize appropriate sights, sounds and scents to accompany a difficult line in the speech or song, or the name of a street where you’re supposed to turn. Use the memory: use it or lose it.

(14) Classical Music

Classical music increases brain activity more positively than other kinds of music. Two pieces of Mozart's music; Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K. 448) and Piano Concerto No. 23 (K. 488), were found to have this effect (Ben Rubenstein et al).

(15) Reading

A study by neuroscientist, Stanislas Dehaene, revealed that people who do not read will struggle with processing verbal information, making a slow reader slow in every other academic area. Reading is a form of visual exercise. The visual stimulation of reading exercises the occipital lobe. This helps with the imagination, which will also help with creativity.

(16) Games and Puzzles

No game is sufficient by itself, because each one targets specific brain functions. Scrabble helps you learn new words and definitions and enhances your language skills. Crosswords are especially for word finding. Sudoku enriches mental alertness, concentration and creative thinking. Healthy habits for mental wellness should include different types of games and puzzles.

E. Spiritual – Having A Relationship with God

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker

(17) Daily Devotionals

Every religious system promotes a time of prayer and meditation, preferably at the beginning of the day. The devotional session is a time to render worship and express gratitude for life, which you acknowledge that you have no ability to sustain. The sense of connection with God, the Supreme Being, boosts your mental awareness that supernatural support is available throughout the day. You worry less and praise more.

(18) Gratitude Lists

Who has not experienced the positive mental boost which comes with counting your blessings? Your mind cannot accommodate negative thoughts like criticisms and complaints while it is hosting a session of thanksgiving. List your blessings at regular intervals and keep the record for repeated encouragement.

(19) Sing-A-Longs

If folks tell you that you cannot carry a tune, turn up the music and sing softly, but sing anyway. Nothing lifts the spirits like inspirational lyrics sung to a tune which captures the mood of your choice—happy, comforting, hopeful or prayerful. YouTube has a great selection.

(20) Praying for Others

Praying for others provides an opportunity for you to forget your own troubles. It is an exercise which helps you become interested in someone else, whether to request compassion on their behalf, or to share their expectations. Praying for others underscores your personal belief in a God who cares.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 09, 2019:

Thanks, Lori. I think that you are also doing the things on this list. Your faith in God is an asset also. Bless you, sweet Sister.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on November 08, 2019:

I just stumbled across this. Dora, this is wonderful. As one who works hard at good mental health (a challenge for me) these are absolutely spot on - every single thing on your list. I hope a lot more people will read it and take it to heart.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 15, 2018:

Thanks, Lizett. I'm encouraged.

Laura Izett-Irwin from The Great Northwest on January 14, 2018:

What a great list! I'm such a fan of yours! I just used #20 today.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 10, 2018:

Thanks, ALAN GRACE for your contribution that one more habit beneficial to mental wellness is remaining positive. I deleted your original comment because links are not allowed, but I will mention the article and the site: Positive Thinking: "The Power of Positivity and Keys to Be Positive" at DadaBhagwan dot org.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2017:

Sean, you're very generous. I try to deserve these generous comments. Thanks for your affirmation and hope.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 03, 2017:

This article is a MASTERPIECE! I love it! Thank you, Dora, for the love you put in your essay. I hope that it will have millions of views.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 19, 2016:

Petyton and Timothy, it's great that you find the article useful. Thanks for letting me know.

Timothy Williams on January 19, 2016:

Thanks for your information

Peyton Ruddell on January 19, 2016:

Thanks for the information. This is really gonna help out!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 02, 2015:

Aesta, thanks for your affirmation on these two items. I find them useful too.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 01, 2015:

Gratitude List and Praying for Others often help me find a broader perspective to what I am going through. Thanks you for these very useful suggestions.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 10, 2013:

Hi Crafty, you'll reap the benefit of your gardening mentally and more. Let's do whatever we can to maintain our health.

CraftytotheCore on November 10, 2013:

Such great information and positive tips. I love gardening. It does keep the mind focused and healthy, as well as all of the other tips you provided here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 03, 2013:

Thank you, Thelma. Happy Sunday to you too, and all the best for the new week.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on November 02, 2013:

Good suggestions. Thanks for sharing. Happy sunday!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 28, 2013:

Doc, thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate you.

Ies, you're welcome.

Satendra Kumar from India on October 28, 2013:

thankyou

lovedoctor926 on October 27, 2013:

Your hubs are useful and great learning tools.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 27, 2013:

I's sure you can. Follow the link below to receive help. https://hubpages.com/search/adsense

All the best!

Satendra Kumar from India on October 27, 2013:

Miss Dora I have 8 featured hub and 3 other hub Can I apply for adsense now so that they accept my application. Plz Replay..

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 27, 2013:

Thank you, Ies.... Whichever of these activities we do will benefit our mental health.

Satendra Kumar from India on October 26, 2013:

Miss Dora very nice description what you made in this hub.I like it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 09, 2013:

Marlene, your favorites are mine too. Thank you for reading and sharing your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 09, 2013:

Mathi, what an encouraging comment. Thank you, very much.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 08, 2013:

Every one of your ideas is wonderful for developing a healthy mental frame of mind. My favorites are prayer, writing love letters, and listening to classical music. Oh, and I really enjoy gardening.

mathira from chennai on October 08, 2013:

Mental wellness, strengthens our inner mind and makes us fight problems with courage. MsDora, excellent tips and very useful also. Each and every advice was a gem.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 05, 2013:

Rajan Jolly, than you for your affirmation and votes. A very happy weekend to you!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 05, 2013:

Useful insights in what can contribute to mental wellness and health. Thanks for sharing MsDora. Voted up and useful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 04, 2013:

CelebrateUSA, I appreciate your input. Thank you very much for your comment and your vote.

Ken Kline from Chicago, Illinois on October 04, 2013:

Absolutely mandatory! Wonderful article! Very well done and very much needed! Connecting with others is the key. Many of these items if not most can be correlated to connecting with others. If we make real connections, we are happier and healthier - both physically and mentally. Voted up!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 23, 2013:

Realityarts, so pleased to meet you here, and still more pleased that you find the article helpful. Thanks for commenting.

Realityarts on September 23, 2013:

So many really useful tips, thanks for sharing Quite a few I need to put in place myself!..

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 22, 2013:

Romeos, thank you from mentioning pet therapy. Your observation is correct. I appreciate your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 22, 2013:

Martie, hope you can get the garden going again. Thank you for your input.

Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on September 22, 2013:

Another great Hub MsDora - stroking a pet can make people feel less stressed as well; that's got to be good for mental wellness. A very useful article, and thank you.

Kind regards,

R.Q.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on September 22, 2013:

MsDora, this is truly an awesome article, loaded with the best advice. I am going to save this one, as I feel like reading it as often as possible.

Interesting: "Horticultural therapists say gardens produce the most positive effects on mental health, by providing a sense of control - the psychological counter to stress and anxiety. . ."

Yesterday I was in a terrible bad mood and just because I have lost control over our garden. (I am sharing a property with my children.) It is now Spring down here and our garden needs a lot of attention after the winter. I am actually reaping the seeds of neglect during the previous Autumn!

The rest of your article also contains a lot of interesting philosophies :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 16, 2013:

Thank you, LyricWriter. Yes, addictions, including drug addiction, is considered a mental illness. Most victims need professional help.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on September 15, 2013:

MsDora, great article! This is sure to be beneficial to many. I'm not familiar with mental illness, but I have recently learned about it as drug addiction is now viewed as a mental illness. You hit it right on the head in your first paragraph. I believe a positive surrounding plays a vital role among other important elements. Well done MsDora, A+!! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared on FB.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 14, 2013:

Lastheart, good to hear from you. Thank you for your usual encouragement!

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on September 14, 2013:

MsDora this is a great hub! Very complete and handy. Our bodies are the temple of the Living God. We need to keep it in good shape in every single aspect, and you my friend lead us to it. Thanks!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

Thumb, glad to know that you're on the right track. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

JR Krishna from India on September 13, 2013:

Very good suggestions. When I am down I listen to devotional songs and sing along with it.

Thanks for sharing

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

DDE, thanks for your comment. Mental health is a very personal issue and each person has to take responsibility for his or her own. I'm praying that I would live what I teach here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

Jennifer, so glad you like the music. The Piano Concerto No. 23 (K. 488) is my favorite. Thank you so much for your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

Frank, thank you for your continually kind comments. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

EP, thanks for your comment. Keep trying, especially for your sleep. "Wonderful" is a good feeling.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2013:

Michele, so happy to produce something that you find useful. All the best to you going forward, and may your brain power increase.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 13, 2013:

Healthy Habits for Mental Wellness all mentioned here is definitely the perfect way of keeping fit and healthy though many people neglect their lifestyles and have health issues

Jennifer Stone from the Riverbank, England on September 13, 2013:

Great tips here, a good thing to read when lacking energy and feeling low... Oh, and thank you for the music! :) Voted up and stuff, all the best!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on September 13, 2013:

Msdora lets say this is valuable tips and suggestions voted up and useful

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on September 12, 2013:

What a great list of suggestions. I try to do many of those and sometimes fail on the "getting plenty of sleep" part. When I do sleep, I feel wonderful! Thanks for posting!

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on September 12, 2013:

This is a very important hub, at least for me. After having brain surgery, I have lost some of my memory. Thank you so much for writing this, it is so useful. I am going to be able to use and practice these. They will help me remember not only words, but much more. Thank you so much.

God bless you!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 12, 2013:

Sheila, glad to serve. Thank you for noticing.

sheilamyers on September 12, 2013:

Thanks for the wonderful tips and advice.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 12, 2013:

Thank you Denise. As I accessed the article to read your comment, I must have unintentionally pushed the play button n Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23. Such an awesome sound! Thank you for that, too.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on September 12, 2013:

Awesome advice! We each have many ways that we can strengthen ourselves every day. These five areas are vitally important for helping us to get on track and stay that way.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 12, 2013:

Thank you Bill. Mental wellness just came under my radar recently. Now I'm realizing how intentional we have to be about it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 12, 2013:

Such very important suggestions. I write about mental wellness often. It just seems to me there are a great many unhappy people in the world today, and I want them all to be happy and well-adjusted. Thank you for this very important article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 12, 2013:

Sam, I appreciate your kind comment. I'm always very happy when people say they enjoy my work.

SAM ELDER from Home on September 12, 2013:

MissDora your hubs are so well written , I always enjoy reading your work. Thank you for sharing your articles with us.