Mental health has been a focus of my life for many years now, and learning how my mind works is a continuous journey of growth. In this article, I want to share 5 habits that have completely changed my life in the most positive way. Some of these may seem simple, but routinely incorporating these things in my life has made a tremendous impact on managing my anxiety and stress. I’m hoping some of these tips will be helpful to you.
1. Looking After Plants
This may seem silly at first, but I have now accumulated an indoor jungle and many millennials I know can vouch for this. Aside from quite literally helping you breathe, tending to plants is a major de-stressor. One study shows that a group of young adults showed decreased blood-pressure and physical stress symptoms when they followed up a computer task with an indoor gardening session. Looking after something other than yourself is an easy way to feel accomplished. So talk to your plants, ask them how they are, ask them to flourish, and even share the highlights of your day with them.
So you’ve got no time to tend to indoor plants? The good news is, science shows even just having them around is good enough. A study suggests office workers are more productive and happy when surrounded by plants. Another study even shows faster recovery in surgery patients when the hospital room has plants in it. Overall, looking at the colour green or ‘plant stimuli’ has been found to promote emotional stability. So, get ahead of the curve and get yourself a few Monsteras!
2. Walking Aimlessly
A habit brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown, my aimless walks are now a sanctimonious part of my days. Usually, in the height of the afternoons, I like to soak up as much sun as possible and brisk walk. Apart from the exercise involved in walking which then contributes to better long term mental health, aimless walking is a great way to leave your worries at home. With many of us still working from home and keeping social interactions at a minimum, it is a simple way to break up your days, escape your mobile phone, or tune out to some music. Lockdown might be over, but my aimless walks are here to stay.
3. Double Check The Content
My guess is you’re on Instagram, and Facebook, and Tiktok and Snapchat? Did I get that right? This one is huge, in my opinion. Given how much time I know I spend on my mobile phone, especially browsing social media has made me more aware of what I was seeing day to day. Do the accounts I follow make me feel good? Do they show me real images? If your answers are no, then its time for a change. Take some time to unfollow content that brings negative feelings and encourages comparison to idealistic and unrealistic standards. With a plethora of creators to choose from relatable, and empowering content is one click away.
This is going to sound familiar to everyone, exercise! I have a booty and ab routine I follow 3 to 4 times a week, however, I happily replace these with ‘learning a new Tiktok dance’ more often than I like to admit. When it comes down to it, I find it’s not what I’ve done that gets me feeling more balanced, but rather how ‘tired’ I feel from the activity. Once I get the blood flowing and some sweat going, I know I’m pushing my body, and that in itself delivers a feeling of accomplishment that lasts all day long. Over a longer period of time, exercise has helped with balancing my moods and boosting my confidence. So, are you going to give it a try?
5. Talk It Out
If there is anything at all on your mind, talk it out. Holding my worries to myself is probably something I’m not alone in doing. Share what’s on your mind with people you trust, or even with inanimate objects. Sometimes, we just need to hear ourselves processing our thoughts.